WBO champion Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew clash at weigh-in
WBO light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly and challenger Tony Bellew both made the weight ahead of Saturday's title fight in Liverpool.
Welshman Cleverly weighed-in just under the limit at 12st 6lb 4oz, while British and Commonwealth champion Bellew was spot on at 12st 7lb.
Both boxers had to be separated during a fractious head-to-head photo-call.
"I'm relaxed, Tony is the one who's het up, he's rattled, he's the one shouting his mouth once again," said Cleverly.
The pair had almost come to blows at a previous press conference in May, before problems making the weight forced Bellew to pull out.
But Cleverly said he was determined not to be dragged into any pre-bout scuffles before the undefeated pair meet inside the ring at the Liverpool Echo Arena, in Bellew's home city.
"I just stayed calm, got on with business and I can't wait now, the fight is just around the corner," Cleverly, 24, added.
"He mentioned something like he's going to spark me out, knock me out, something like that, but I've heard it all before.
"He's actually now got to do the talking with his fists rather than his mouth for a change tomorrow night, so I'm just looking forward to seeing it unfold."
But Bellew, 28, who has been chasing a fight with Cleverly for more than two years, says it was the Welshman who started their latest flare-up.
"He came up at the weigh-in, he put his face in my face, he tried to butt me, so I just let it be known," Bellew told the BBC.
"This isn't anything to sell tickets, I'm not in the business of selling tickets, I'm in the business of fighting.
"The reason that happened is he put his head in my head; he can't intimidate me, I intimidate him, he's scared, you can see it in the guy's eyes.
"Come tomorrow he's going to pay."
Cleverly steps into the ring in Liverpool with 22 wins in 22 fights, 11 by knock-out, while Bellew's record is almost as impressive with 16 wins from 16 fights (10 KOs).
On the undercard, James DeGale fights Poland's European super-middleweight champion Piotr Wilczewski as he looks to bounce back from his points defeat by George Groves in May, the first loss of his professional career.
"Obviously to lose your 'O' unbeaten record is upsetting, but it has happened to a lot of great fighters and it is about the way you bounce back," DeGale said.
"I'm in a fantastic position. To come off a loss and box for the European title is fantastic, and when I win this I'll get a world ranking and all the doors open again.
"I think the public want to see it a rematch with Groves, because it was so close and controversial.
"That is high on my wish list. If he defends his title against Paul Smith and I win this European title, believe me that will happen sooner rather than later."
TALE OF THE TAPE
Boxing: Bellew and Cleverly clash at weigh-in
Tony Bellew is happy to acknowledge Nathan Cleverly’s academic prowess, but feels confident he has a better boxing brain than the Welshman.
The pair go toe-to-toe on Saturday night at the Echo Arena in Bellew’s home city of Liverpool, with Cleverly’s WBO light-heavyweight belt on the line.
Both made the weight this afternoon ahead of the eagerly-anticipated grudge match, around which the hype has been building due to some explosive press conferences and an ongoing war of words between the two unbeaten fighters.
A brief skirmish broke out at the weigh-in, although the most important thing for Bellew (16-0, 10 KO’s) was that he made the cut, having failed to slim down in time for his original fight with Cleverly (22-0, 11 KO’s) in May, when he had been called in as a late replacement.
They will now finally face each other in the ring, where Bellew – even if he might be no match for maths graduate Cleverly in the classroom – is sure he will outwit his opponent.
“He has got a big heart and he will come to fight,” Bellew, 28, told Press Association Sport. “He will not back down; he is unbeaten like me and he is going to fight to the death.
“But that is going to be his downfall ultimately. I have got a better boxing brain than he has.
“I don’t think my brain can touch his when it comes to arithmetic, but when it comes to boxing I have got a very good brain on my shoulders and I think that is going to play a vital role in this fight.
“I’m from the street, we all know that. I’ve come from nothing and I’ve still got nothing, but at the end of the day it’s a fight, and if there is one thing I can do, it’s fight.”
Cleverly insists he has done his best to avoid the trash talking he thinks has earned Bellew his shot and will do the Liverpudlian no good tomorrow evening.
“Initially, I admit I was drawn in,” the 24-year-old said. “At the very first press conference he said something to me and I responded with verbals myself.
“But since then I’ve thought it better to tone it down, keep silent and leave Tony to do the talking.
“He is good at what he does, he makes a lot of noise and he has got the fight he wants. But ultimately he is going to be a very disappointed man.”
James DeGale fights Poland’s European super-middleweight champion Piotr Wilczewski on the undercard as he looks to bounce back from his defeat by George Groves in May, the first loss of his professional career.
After being on the wrong end of a controversial majority points decision on that occasion, DeGale is grateful to promoter Frank Warren for lining up the bout with Wilczewski and has his sights set on a rematch with Commonwealth title-holder Groves in the near future.
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