Cleverly ranked twelve WBC places behind Bellew as rematch looms
The new World Boxing Council rankings for June were released earlier this week, just as the press conference to announce details of British cruiserweight rivals Tony Bellew and Nathan Cleverly sharing a bill on July 12 took place.
Bellew and Cleverly have plenty of history after sharing twelve rounds, and almost a couple of car park scuffles in 2011, with promoter Eddie Hearn keen to see them square-off again in Liverpool later this year.
Both former light-heavyweight stars operated at world level before hiking up the 25lbs and will now feature in separate bouts at the Echo Arena before Hearn then wants a massive domestic rematch on the same stage.
The WBC’s top 25 list at 200lbs sees Cleverly ranked at 17, whilst Bellew takes fifth place, but also has a couple of other eyebrow-raising names inching towards a title shot. Some of the fighters rubberstamped ahead of Cleverly seem harsh as the Welshman is outside the top 15 despite being a former world title holder and having claimed victory in his first outing at the new weight.
The likes of Olanrewaja Durodola, who lost his last fight and Santander Silgao, who did likewise, are positioned higher than the ex-WBO champion, with Bellew handily-placed due to his previous exploits with the organisation at 175lbs.
Liverpool’s Bellew, 31, challenged the formidable Adonis Stevenson for his WBC crown late last year, but came off second best via a punishing stoppage and his since recovered with a victory against veteran Valery Brudov.
If the pair can record wins next month on Merseyside against Julio Cesar Dos Santos and Alejandro Valori respectively, they could conceivably hold Top 15 places, with some sort of WBC fringe belt then becoming a possibility when they exchange blows again.
Whoever comes out on top of the impending grudge return may well then be in pole-position for a crack at current WBC king Krzysztof Wlodarczyk in the summer of 2015, but there is plenty to finish up on in the UK scene before talk of facing the Pole becomes a reality.
Here is the current WBC cruiserweight Top 25 as it stands:
1 Rakhim Chakhkiev (Russia) SILVER
2 Thabiso Mchunu (South Africa) NABF
3 Ilunga Makabu (Congo)
4 Grigory Drozd (Russia) EBU
5 Tony Bellew (GB)
6 Juan Carlos Gomez (Cuba)
7 Olanrewaja Durodola (Nigeria/US) AMERICA
8 Dmytro Kucher (Ukraine)
9 BJ Flores (US)
10 Denton Daley (Canada)
11 Murat Gassiev (Russia)
12 Ola Afolabi (GB)
13 Dmitry Kudryashov (Russia) CISBB
14 Yunier Dorticos (Cuba)
15 Enad Licina (Serbia)
16 Santander Silgado (Colombia) FECARBOX
17 Nathan Cleverly (GB)
18 Krzystof Glowacki (Poland)
19 Giacobbe Fragomeni (Italy)
20 Jon Lewis Dickinson (GB) BBB C
21 Pawel Kolodziej (Poland)
22 Bilal Laggoune (Belgium) MEDITERRANEAN
23 Stivens Bujaj (US/Albania) USNBC
24 Maxim Maslov (Russia) ABCO
25 Ovil McKenzie (GB) COMM
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