Nathan Cleverly retained his WBO light-heavyweight title with a majority-points decision over Tony Bellew after 12 rounds Saturday.
Cleverly was scored 117-112, 116-113, 114-114 on the three judges' cards to improve his unbeaten record to 23 successive wins.
''I knew he would be dangerous in the first three rounds, but in all honesty I thought he'd tire more,'' the Welshman (23-0, 11 KOs) told Box Nation TV. ''But he held in there and showed he is a brilliant challenger. He's very fit.''
Bellew (16-1, 10KOs) was warned early on by referee Richie Davies after appearing to aim a headbutt at Cleverly.
As the action began to settle, Cleverly landed two good rights to shade the first round, but Bellew responded with a furious assault in the second, flinging hooks with both hands.
After a more even third round, Bellew gained the momentum in the fourth with a solid blow to the body, and his rights over the top were posing problems for Cleverly.
Bellew was winded by a low blow in the ...