Saturday, July 12, 2014, on a stacked card at Liverpool’s famous Echo Arena, local hero Tony Bellew took on Julio Cesar Dos Santos, hoping that a convincing win would lead to a long awaited rematch with old nemesis Nathan Cleverly.
The first Cleverly bout has haunted Bellew since he lost his unbeaten record against the slick Welshman back in 2011.
On a bill perfectly named “Collision Course,” live on Sky Sports, Britain’s brightest and best were all on display, with Anthony Ogogo, Luke Campbell, Rocky Fielding, Anthony Joshua, Callum and Stephen Smith all claiming victories in Liverpool.
Still, all the attention was on Bellew and Cleverly, who were both not only looking for their second win at the Cruiserweight limit, but also reigniting their long standing rivalry.
First up was Cleverly who squared off against Alejandro Valori in what could only be described as a confidence builder for the 27 year old from Wales.
After a confident first minute of the fight, Valori was not afraid to trade with the former WBO light heavyweight champion, but his stamina seemed to diminish relatively early, leaving Cleverly to take control.
The second round continued in the same vein, despite Valori showing great heart, Cleverly landed a thunderous left hook to the Argentinian’s fleshy body, dropping Valori to his knees with a clearer understanding of the monumental task ahead of him.
From then on it was target practice for the Welshman, as Valori looked more and more over whelmed.
The action came to its conclusion at the beginning of the fourth, when another ferocious left hook from Cleverly drained the remaining fight from the body of the vulnerable Valori, leaving one portion of the main course complete.
It was now Bellew’s opportunity to make a statement against the tough Brazilian, Julio Cesar Dos Santos.
From the opening bell, Bellew looked confident in putting his punches together, but on the other hand Dos Santos was also not afraid to let his hands go. Throughout the next three rounds, Dos Santos continued to remind Bellew of the power he possessed, wobbling the bomber on a few occasions.
However, the man from Liverpool kept his cool and was awarded for his patience in the fifth round after landing a destructive left hook to the chin that dropped Dos Santos to the canvas, leaving the referee with no other choice but to call a halt to the contest.
Immediately after the stoppage, Cleverly–who was sitting at ringside–stood to his feet to entice Bellew, almost causing a ringside brawl in the process.
The scene is now set for their inevitable rematch that will no doubt have the boxing world salivating due to the clear and authentic hatred between the pair.
Promoter Eddie Hearn, who at one point had to act as peacekeeper for the two warring cruiserweights, confirmed that they are looking at either October or November for the eagerly anticipated grudge match.
Therefore, as a massive night of captivating boxing came to a close, Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew are now truly on a collision course that will see them meet in the ring for a second time.
So with fireworks guaranteed, everyone hold on tight!