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
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor