Blogs & Opinion

Glenn McCrory wants Tony Bellew to be aggressive and Nathan Cleverly to fight the best

Features Posted 15th November 2012 view comments

Tony Bellew has shown a bit more patience and guile in his last few fights, but I hope he doesn't lose the showbiz element that made him so watchable.

The Liverpudlian's bout with Orvill Mcknezie in 2010, which he won despite being knocked to the canvas twice, was a bit of a wake-up call and made him realise that he couldn't keep marching in and trying to land knock-out shots.

Liverpool one: Scouser Bellew (left) can move nearer to a world title by beating Bolonti

Liverpool one: Scouser Bellew (left) can move nearer to a world title by beating Bolonti

But I think the light-heavyweight was too careful in his September fight with Edison Miranda and could have sent the much-travelled Colombian packing a lot sooner than the ninth round, perhaps even as early as the sixth.

The 29-year-old has to find the perfect blend between defence and attack, but he is known as Bomber because he is fast, frenetic and exciting and he must keep on being that way, because that style and not just victories will get him headline bouts.

If Bellew can work out when to go on a rampage and when to hold back, I see him continuing to flourish.

Glenn McCrory
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Tony Bellew v Roberto Bolonti
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The aim of boxing is to get bums on seats and sell tickets; that's the first thing a promoter will ask a highly-decorated amateur to do when he joins the pro ranks. Anyone who thinks the sport is just about how many wins you chalk up is sorely mistaken.

Tony talks a good game but he has to keep on fighting one, too, and he will get that opportunity on Saturday night when, on Carl Froch's undercard, he tackles 33-year-old Argentine Roberto Bolonti.

Bolonti is not particularly well known on these shores but his record certainly stacks up - he is 30-1 as a professional - and if he was English we would be saying 'Wow, what a fight we have on our hands'.

I would expect Bellew to win, though, and I do think he is ready to contest for a world title again, following his narrow points loss to Nathan Cleverly last year. He is a fantastic physical specimen and if he can work out when to go on a rampage, like Froch did against Lucian Bute in May, and when to hold back, I see him continuing to flourish.


Cleverly, meanwhile, has friends in high places as prior to his eighth-round stoppage of America's Shawn Hawk in Los Angeles at the weekend, Freddie Roach revealed his desire to train the Welshman and Oscar De La Hoya said he wanted to promote him.

However, I still think he is domestic class; he was virtually handed the WBO title, like a lot of Frank Warren fighters have in the past, and has not yet fought anyone in the top bracket, like IBF champion Tavoris Cloud, an excellent boxer with a 24-fight unbeaten record.

I don't know why Cleverly has not been let off the leash yet but it needs to happen soon; he is not interesting the public at the moment in the way a world champion should be and the way Froch and Amir Khan, despite his recent indifferent spell, are.

Cleverly wants to fight and train regularly in America and I think that would be great for his development; he has conquered the small pond of Britain and plying his trade in the States would see him get the extra experience he needs.

Plus, there is no substitute for the type of sparring he will get across the Atlantic; it is still very Wild West and gung-ho out there and when you go into the gym your training partners want to kill you!


Bellew and Cleverly are lucky in that they have some very talented boxers in their division, including current world champions Cloud, Beibut Shumenov and Chad Dawson, as well as former titlist Jean Pascal, to push them.

There is no point being a really good fighter if you aren't facing anyone of similar quality; you need healthy competition and we saw that with Joe Frazier making Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard making Roberto Duran and a host of world champions making Froch.

The accusation levelled by some at Joe Calzaghe, who was a fantastic boxer and undefeated champion, is that he did not fight anyone in of note in his and their prime; people say he fought Chris Eubank and Bernard Hopkins too late.

But if Cleverly steps up and Bellew continues to elevate, they will get the chance to beat fantastic fighters, become fantastic fighters - and hopefully face each other again.

From a British point of view, I really hope that happens.

Comments (1)

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Greg Atkinson says...

Great article Glenn and I too hope they meet again, I can see Bellew winning it, I think he is the better boxer in the long run. I don't think Cleverly has been tested yet.

Posted 21:01 15th November 2012

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