Ahead of his much-delayed cruiserweight debut on Saturday, former 175-pound titleholder Nathan Cleverly has stated a grudge rematch with fellow Brit Tony Bellew is nailed on for later this year.
The 27-year-old from Cefn Fforest faces Trinidad and Tobago’s Sean Corbin this weekend at the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, in his first outing in the 200-pound division after a number of cancelled bouts because of injury and a recent switch of promoters.
It is the move away from Frank Warren to Matchroom's Eddie Hearn, who also promotes Liverpool star Bellew, which makes a second meeting between the bitter domestic rivals an absolute certainty, according to Cleverly.
As long as there are no slip-ups by either man in the meantime, of course – a point Cleverly, who has not fought since losing his WBO light heavyweight belt and unbeaten record last summer when crushed in four brutal rounds by Sergey Kovalev, stressed this week on www.matchroomboxing.com.
“We’re in the same division and we have the same promoter now, so it’s inevitable,” said Cleverly (26-1,12 knockouts), who won a majority decision over Bellew (21-2-1,13 KOs) back in October 2011 at light heavyweight. “The first fight was a cracker and people want to see the rematch. It makes sense.
“If he keeps winning and I keep winning, we’re going to get it on. There’s no doubt we’re on a collision course. It’s 1-0 to me and I’m looking forward to making it 2-0.”
Cleverly-Corbin is part of a bill that features Lee Selby’s WBC featherweight title eliminator against Romulu Koasicha. Also on the card is a rematch between Welsh lightweights Gary Buckland and Gavin Rees, while rising English super middleweight Callum Smith defends his WBC international strap against Tobias Webb, of Swansea.
Harry Pratt is on Twitter: @gharrypratt