Liverpool’s cruiserweight hope Tony Bellew produced a workmanlike performance on Saturday night to level the score with arch-rival Nathan Cleverly and seal a split decision victory at the Echo Arena.
The 31 year-old, who lost out to Cleverly in 2011, took control of the fight from the fourth round onwards to gain the biggest victory of his career and possibly open up debate for a third fight between the two.
Bellew had began the fight slowly, losing the first two rounds on my card, but from then on fended off Cleverly’s best efforts and deserved a unanimous decision which sadly wasn’t forthcoming from the judges.
If points were scored for avoiding punches, Cleverly would have had a case for a closer fight, but a 116-112 scoring in favour of Bellew was an agreeable tally and was ultimately given by only one of the officials at ringside.
One other saw it a round closer at 115-113, but how the third had Cleverly sneaking the fight 115-113 was shocking as Bellew made it even between the two and left promoter Eddie Hearn to contemplate a rubber match at Goodison Park or the Millenium Stadium in 2015.
Also on the bill, James DeGale, George Groves, Anthony Joshua and Jamie McDonnell recorded stoppage wins, whilst Scott Quigg and Callum Smith were forced to go the full twelve rounds to make it a full house for Matchroom fighters.