Clinton Woods or Tony Bellew – who was the better fighter?

Clinton Woods, left, with Tony Bellew
Clinton Woods, left, with Tony Bellew

Former world champion Clinton Woods should have 'sold himself' better - and attracted the box office backing that Tony Bellew enjoyed.  

That's the view of Dennis Hobson, the Sheffield-based promoter who guided Woods to the IBF world light heavyweight title in 2005.

Woods hung up the gloves in 2009, while Bellew - whose career started two years previously and is 10 years younger - retired in November.

Reflecting on both fighters, Hobson said: "If Clinton Woods could have sold himself half as well as Tony Bellew has, then he would have been a lot bigger name.  

"Clinton's story is an amazing one, any way, but if he could have gone out and sold himself a bit more than he did...Bellew sells a fight” said Hobson.

"Tony didn't beaten the calibre of fighters that Clinton Woods did, but he sold himself and is an entertainer, and I respect him a lot.

"Tony had a go but came up short against the top class; whereas Clinton beat top class fighters like Glen Johnson and Julio Gonzalez.

"I'd love to have made Clinton against Tony, it would have been a big fight, because Tony would have made it one."

Woods agrees, largely, with Hobson's viewpoint.

"I suppose he's right, if you are not a talker - you are not a talker, and I wasn't." said Woods, 46.

"When you see these fighters who seem to hate each other before they fight - and then are best mates afterwards...that's not me.

"If I hate someone it is for real, not made up. I feel like punching them on the nose!

"I like Tony but if you look at the calibre of opponents that I beat, they are better than the ones that he beat.

"He only fought David Haye when Haye was washed up."

Woods, who runs a gym in Westfield, was world champion until American Antonio Tarver took his title in 2008 in Tampa.

The son of Sheffield bowed out with a record of 42 wins, (25 KOs) five losses and one draw.

Bellew, a frequent contributor on TV from ringside, enjoyed a 30 wins three losses and one draw. His defeat, last year, by Oleksandr Usyk at Manchester, ended his ring career.