FORMER world champion Nathan Cleverly says he is ready to beat Tony Bellew again in an eagerly awaited rematch.
The Cefn Fforest ace, who lost his WBO world light-heavyweight crown in a brutal defeat to Sergey Kovalev in August, has now stepped up to cruiserweight and is prepared to settle his grudge with Bellew once and for all.
Cleverly came out on top in their first meeting in Bellew’s home city of Liverpool in 2011 but the pair appear to be on collision course again.
Bellew lost his WBC light-heavyweight title challenge against Adonis Stevenson last weekend, immediately announcing a move up in weight and wasting no time in making his feelings known on Cleverly.
“There's no two ways about it, I detest him and he doesn't like me, so it’s going to happen,” said Bellew.
And Cleverly is clear that he would welcome a chance to take on his old rival once again.
“He’s made his emotions clear. He dislikes me and that’s fine by me,” he told the Argus.
“I don’t waste any emotions on him. I don’t dislike him or like him. I don’t waste my energy on him.
“I’m more interested in my own career than anybody else’s but he seems to be concerned with my career all the time.
“I think it is genuine on his part and it all adds fuel to a rematch, which is very likely to happen at some point.
“There is a bit of fire there and the grudge will be a good thing because that fight is going to boil up again.”
And, having won the first meeting on points, Cleverly is certain that he would come out on top again.
“I won the first one and I’m happy to beat him again,” he said. “It will be a good fight and it will sell because the first one was so good and the second one will generate interest.
“That is the type of fight I want to be involved in. He’s coming off the back of a comprehensive defeat like me,” he added.
“We’re both making a fresh start in a new weight division and I think in a couple of fights time we could be looking at a rematch.”
Cleverly’s comeback against Daniel Ammann for the Commonwealth cruiserweight title was called off last month when he suffered a back injury in training.
But he is determined to get back to the top of his sport in 2014 after the crushing disappointment of his first defeat as a professional.
“I’ll be refreshed and ready for chapter two in February,” he said.
“It will be straight into a title fight at the new weight and building up towards a world title shot again.
“I’ve promised myself I will do that. Boxing is where my heart is and I’m in the sport to be world champion.
“I’m 26 and I’m not even at my peak yet so I’m excited about what is to come.”