Steve Bunce on Boxing: Warriors traded insults and then traded blows

Tony Bellew is an old-school fighter and could only come from Liverpool. He sold his memorable WBO light-heavyweight title fight against Nathan Cleverly on Saturday night by turning the conferences and weigh-in into the type of events that British boxing has not experienced since the glory days of Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank. The pair spent six months swapping insults, dismissing the police when called to confrontations and trying several times to fight for nothing on the street. Thankfully, at 10.45pm on Saturday they started for real; it was worth the wait. After 12 ferocious rounds Cleverly won a tight decision.

Liverpool, like Bellew, is an old-school fight city and they know their boxing. They knew their man had fought out of his skin and there was no controversy in the decision and no trouble as people walked away. "We only like good fights – this was a good fight and people in Liverpool know what they are watching," said John Hyland, former Olympian, British champion and promoter. When it was over Bellew sat next to Cleverly weeping. "I've let my boys down," he sobbed as Cleverly put his arm across his shoulders. Bellew made no excuses. "I've watched it three times and I think it was 6-6," Bellew told me. He never mentioned his broken right hand, which went in about round five. He never said a word because David Haye's toe excuse is still raw.



A slice of Kimbo is always fun

American heavyweight hopes are rare at the moment. Don King has been looking for a decade. Step forward, Kimbo Slice. This guy is unbelievable to look at. On Saturday in Nebraska he knocked out his second professional opponent; both of his fights have ended inside the first round and both opponents have been left cold.

Slice, 37, made his reputation in bare-knuckle fights in Florida boatyards. He crushed men like Chico the Knife in seconds, collected thousands of dollars in bets and went back to his other life as a loving husband and devoted dad.



'Bomber' still packs a punch

Herol Bomber Graham was avoided, by the best fighters of his generation for a decade. Marvin Hagler, Nigel Benn, Steve Collins and Chris Eubank would not fight him. They told him so. He came close twice to winning a world title but a controversial decision and a sickening punch ruined his nights. He kept fighting, finally walking away in 1998 after 20 years and 54 fights. He held domestic middleweight titles when Benn and Eubank were making millions.

Last week his book came out. Bomber: Behind the Laughter. Stuart Wilkin helped him put it together and it is, like Herol, packed with honesty and humour. He had an usual amount of bad luck and remains the undisputed best modern British fighter never to win a world title. Sadly, that's not a belt any fighter wants. He wrote the book because he was depressed. "I knew the memories would lift me. They did."

Last week he was all laughter. Here's Herol having a reflective moment: "They said I was a runner not a fighter but I'd battered 19 out of 20 so fucking hard that they couldn't stand up. I'd nearly killed one poor bloke. These people seemed to think boxing was just about seeing who could get smashed in the head the most and still carry on. What's the point in that?" Thanks for that, Herol.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen