Tony Bellew insists he is not thinking about Nathan Cleverly as the pair share top billing on July 12 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, live on Sky Sports.
Bellew’s fight against rough opponent Brazilian Julio Santos is his sole focus for the coming fortnight – not revenge on Cleverly whom narrowly beat him in a WBO World title defence in October 2011.
“It’s all about July 12, not about Nathan,” said Bellew.
“I cannot think about anything other than Julio Santos. He’s a very, very durable and hard-punching Brazilian.
“I know he is strong, he has never been stopped and he does a little of everything. Fans come to see me because I stop people, and this guy is a solid proven cruiserweight so we’ll see what I can do with him.”
In a night dubbed ‘Collision Course’ by promoter Eddie Hearn, Bellew is confident that his performance in Merseyside will be worth a watch – and is setting his sights high.
“I’ve settled into the weight perfectly and you’ll see a destructive performance on July 12.
“I want to close the season in style and push towards another World title shot.
“All I have ever been interested in is fighting the best in the business for the big belts, and if I have to beat Nathan to get to the top, then that will be the icing on the cake.”
Bellew and Cleverly lead a star-studded line up in Liverpool with local favourites mixing with Olympic heroes.
Super-middleweights Rocky Fielding and Callum Smith look to extend their unbeaten records with fights against Noe Gonzalez Alcoba and Vladine Biosse respectively.
Olympic gold medal heroes Anthony Joshua and Luke Campbell close their first seasons with their first appearances in Liverpool, Joshua facing Matt Skelton while Campbell’s opponent will be announced soon. They are joined by Team GB team-mate and bronze medallist Anthony Ogogo who faces Sheffield’s Wayne Reed.
Unbeaten Liverpool featherweight John Quigley contests his 13th fight and the bill which is completed by former Team GB bantamweight star Gamal Yafai and unbeaten Cambridge lightweight Tommy Martin.