Welsh star Nathan Cleverly will begin his campaign to become a two-time world champion when he makes his big ring return as a cruiserweight on Saturday 30th November at Londonís Copper Box Arena.
Cleverly goes straight back into title action when he takes on Australian Daniel Ammann for the Vacant Commonwealth title, featuring alongside Dereck Chisora who makes the first defence of his European Heavyweight title against Matteo Modugno, live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546).
The 25-year-old lost his unbeaten record and WBO World Light-Heavyweight crown to big-hitting Russian Sergey Kovalev in August, but after a break and refocussing himself on his career, Cleverly is desperate to get back in the ring and win a second world title in 2014.
ďI'm ready to return and I can't wait for November 30th at the Copper Box Arena and show that Nathan Cleverly is back,Ē He said.
ďIíve got the hunger and desire back and I want to be a world champion again.† I miss having the belt around my waist, but itís not just about the belt.† I didnít want to let my fans down, who have supported me in my career, my family down and more importantly I didnít want to let myself down by going out on a loss, I knew deep down that I wanted to fight again and I just needed time to focus on what I wanted to do,Ē
ďI was on a high for so long winning the British, Commonwealth and European titles in quick time and then winning the world title and making five successful defences.† In five years I had 15 championship fights and I felt invincible.† The loss to Kovalev has brought me back down to earth and made me realise what I want and that is to be world champion again,Ē
ďThe thought of winning a second world title now really excites and motivates me, but the road back will be hard and Iím looking forward to testing my character and resolve.Ē†
Cleverlyís addition to the Copper Box Arena show replaces British and Commonwealth Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders who was scheduled to defend his titles on the show, but a slight hand injury picked up in his last fight against John Ryder has not healed in time which has meant that he has had to withdraw.
Ammann, from Stockton in New South Wales, has a record of 29 wins from 35 fights and is the Australian champion.† The 30-year-old southpaw goes by the nickname of Doberman and is on an unbeaten eight-fight run.
Cleverly is looking to make a big statement on his cruiserweight debut and hasnít ruled out meet Kovalev again in the future.
He added, ďItís a good test for me on my return and the opportunity to win the Commonwealth title is a big motivator and will open doors for me,Ē
ďAmmann is proper cruiserweight and has even fought at heavyweight, heís been around a long time and will have plenty of experience.† He looks like a big, rough, tough, Aussie and Iím not expecting an easy fight,Ē
ďThe main thing for me is to show that Iím back in business and ready for my new campaign in the cruiserweight division and I want to put on a good show for the fans and press,Ē
ďKovalevís a good fighter and I wish him all the best in his career and with his forthcoming title defence Ismayl Sillakh.† As devastating as the loss was I still feel I had the skills to beat him on the night, but who knows, we could meet again if he decides to move up to 200lbs and the result will be different next time.Ē
Dereck Chisora headlines the Copper Box Arena with the first defence of his European Heavyweight title against Matteo Modugno; plus London sensation Frank Buglioni challenging for the Vacant WBO European title; a new addition to the card features a hard-hitting heavyweight showdown between English Champion John McDermott and challenger Ian Lewison; Bradley Skeete v Colin Lynes for the Vacant English Welterweight title.† An action-packed undercard features Mitchell Smith, Andreas and Chris Evangelou, Georgie Kean, Gary Corcoran and Tom Baker.
Tickets for Rock The Box 2 priced at:
£40 (Upper concourse)
£50 (Lower seating bowl)
Are available from Eventim Box Office on 0844 249 1000 or online at www.eventim.co.uk
Watch live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546).† Join at www.boxnation.com
DERRY MATHEWS: ĎME AND ORMOND WILL BE AN ABSOLUTE WAR THAT THE FANS ARE GOING TO LOVE.í
During a professional career that now exceeds a decade, Liverpool star Derry Mathews has established himself as one of the biggest crowd pleasers on the domestic circuit.
A former Junior Olympic gold medallist and Senior English ABA champion in his teens, the Scouserís Ďrockíem, sockíemí ring manner has seen 26 of his 44 paid starts end early; plenty in triumph but several in heartache.
After reigns on the English and WBU feather and British lightweight thrones, Derry is presently the proud custodian of the Commonwealth 135lb strap and, aged 30, still covets a chance to crash the major international titles.
Victory in Decemberís crossroads collision with Dublinís Stephen Ormond for the WBO European gong at The Echo Arena in his home city will certainly edge him a few paces closer.
Tickets are on sale now priced at £40, £50, £70, £100 & £150 and are available from the Liverpool Echo Arena Box Office on 0844 8000 400 or online at www.echoarena.com
Watch the whole card live and exclusive in the UK by subscribing to BoxNation, The Channel of Champions, (Sky Ch.437/Virgin Ch.546).† Join at www.boxnation.com
Last week, boxing writer Glynn Evans tracked down the amiable Scouser to discuss his long and colourful career, and how he hopes that re-associating with promoter Frank Warren will bring him the opportunities to fulfill his remaining goals within the ring.
In your two most recent fights, you delivered vastly contrasting performances. In July, you laboured against Hullís Tommy Coyle, before getting out of jail with a spectacular knockout in round ten.
Then, ten weeks later, just as some critics were whispering you might be a spent force, you rebounded with a really commanding effort to destroy Curtis Woodhouse in four rounds. How do you account for that?
Itís hard to explain. Against Coyle, Iíd had an excellent training camp and felt great in the changing rooms beforehand but just couldnít get going. The fight was outdoors and my body just didnít react. Danny (Vaughan, his coach) bawled at me to stop moaning and get on with it.
But you also have to credit Tommy. It was his cup final and his coach Jamie Moore, who knows me better than most after the time we spent together at Oliver Harrisonís gym, devised a fantastic game plan.
Iíd probably not won a round but, though Tommyís very tough, I knew eventually Iíd get to him. Iíd heard heíd been over a few times in sparring and Iím hitting very, very hard right now at lightweight. Thankfully, I landed the shot but if Iíd lost that would probably have been the end for me. None of the younger lightweight prospects wouldíve risked fighting me to allow me to get back in cos theyíd not want to risk getting hurt.
Against Curtis, I was very motivated not to get beat by the footballer (Woodhouse is a former midfielder at Sheffield United and Birmingham City). (Ex Everton and Arsenal star) Frannie Jeffers is a friend and he was giving us loads of stick beforehand.
But I told a lot close to me to bet on round four. We knew Dave Coldwell would get Curtis to come out firing on all cylinders but boxing is about levels. Without being disrespectful to Curtis, he was a relative novice whereas Iíd won Junior Olympics and ABAS. Iíd come through tough spars with top, top lads. I knew eventually my power would take over. Curtis can come again.
Youíve already had a proper career since turning pro as a teenager over ten years ago, winning English and WBU titles at featherweight, British and Commonwealth belts at lightweight and challenging for the European and IBO crowns.
However, on reflection, given you won the ABAs and Junior Olympics as a teenager, do you feel your true potential remains unfulfilled?
Yeh, definitely. Iím a greedy kid. Iím always hungry for more. It wonít be until Iíve won 50 fights at a good level that Iíll be a happy man.
I grew up idolising Naseem Hamed and Mike Tyson and, when I first signed as a pro, it was my dream to be a legend just like them; known as one of the best British fighters ever. Though Iíve had a good career, youíre right, Iíve not yet become the superstar that I thought I would be.
I was forced to serve my time the hard way but hopefully I can still get there in my next few fights. Iím dying to win a Lonsdale Belt outright and a European title would be the icing on the cake.
To what do you attribute the success that you have enjoyed?
Iíve had really good people around me. My family realise that boxingís me job and theyíve been very understanding when Iíve needed to go away to camp for six weeks at a time.
Also, Iíve always seen the Vaughan family, old George and his son Danny, as my bosses, rather than the other way round as some fighters seem to treat their trainers. If I donít turn up for training, theyíd expect to see a letter from my mum explaining why not!
Danny is a good coach and we believe in each other 100%. Before the Vaughans, I was very fortunate to have Tony Challenor at the ĎSollyí (Salibury Amateur Boxing Club) to guide me. Iíve been lucky.
I suppose the qualities that have served me well inside the ring are my hunger, my size at the weight and my boxing brain. As an amateur, I won six national titles which suggests I can box a bit and I think everybody would acknowledge that, for a lightweight, I punch very hard.
And what held you back from achieving even more?
Though I never really moaned at the time, sweating down to nine stone for so long killed me. For eight weeks before a fight, I was living on one meal a day plus a bottle of water. When I boxed Choi, I was on a 6in Subway sandwich and a can of Coke. That was it. Choi hit really hard and I just had no resistance, no energy.† (Mathews was dropped five times whilst conceding his WBU featherweight crown to the Mongolian in April 2008).
Prior to that, I was on good money so didnít want to give my belt up but, retrospectively, I regret not moving up in weight a lot, lot earlier than I did. Today, Iím a very, very big lightweight which shows you how much I was struggling. I took a bit of time out and, since returning, Iíve had a very good second career up at 9st 9(lbs).
What do you consider to be the highlight of your boxing career?
Two stand out. Firstly, there was the night that I beat Manchesterís Stephen Foster Jnr at the MEN Arena in his home city to win that WBU title (pts 12). Everybody thought heíd beat me easily.
Secondly would be stopping Anthony Crolla to win the British lightweight title in Oldham (rsc6, April 2012). I was given just five weeks notice and only accepted the fight when Danny Vaughan agreed to train me.
Iíve a huge amount to thank Oliver Harrison for. Heíd spent a lot of time with me and was instrumental in getting my confidence back but I felt Iíd gone stale. Oliver, gentleman that he is, wished me all the luck in the world. That meant a lot to me.
I gelled back with Danny and George immediately. They were the only people in all boxing who believed that I could beat Crolla. Winning a British title with the Vaughans, after all weíd been through, was really special.
Probably getting stopped by Scott Lawton. I was still being trained by George at that time and, in the changing rooms after, he said something like :ĎYouíve had a great career, son, but this is the end of your journey.í I cried my eyes out. I had great respect for George and that really hurt me.
Who was the best opponent youíve fought?
The most skilful wouldíve been David Burke (the former Commonwealth and WBU champion) in sparring. He was always massive for the weight and would really give it to me.
The most skilful I fought in a fight was probably Martin Stead of the Army, a triple ABA champion. We boxed six times. He won the first three, I won the last three. The toughest I fought was Scott Lawton. In our second fight, I clattered him with some real bombs but he just wouldnít go down.†
The hardest I remember being hit was by Emiliano Marsili who stopped me in round seven for the (vacant) IBO title (January 2012). At the end of the first round, I remember walking back to my corner thinking: ĎWow! Iím in trouble here.í Heís now the European champion and still unbeaten in 27.
Itís possible that Martin Lindsay hit me harder but I donít remember that one. I was out before I hit the canvas!
In September, at the Board of Controlís Annual Awards Ceremony, you collected the Sportsmanship Award for the gracious manner in which youíve conducted yourself throughout your entire career. That must have been very gratifying?
Yeh, I was delighted, particularly as Iím now coaching kids myself. Weíre all competitors but I always stress that no matter whatís happened in the build up, after youíve fought you shake hands with the opponent and perhaps share a beer together.
No matter what was said in advance, Iíve always made a habit of going back stage to check that my opponent was healthy. Iíll apologize for any bad blood and sincerely wish them the very best for their future. I also make it a habit to publicly thank both sets of fans for turning up because, without them, us fighters wouldnít get paid what we do. Iíve always had fabulous support, home and away, and I know everyone of them by name.
Me girlfriend escorted me to that awards dinner and I also picked up the gong for Contest of The Year, for the rematch with Crolla. So, yeh, it was a special night all round.
Youíve given a huge amount of entertainment to the fans over a long period of time now but youíve been involved in your share of ring wars. At 30, how much is left in the tank? How do you feel physically and mentally?
I still get really nervous in the build up to all my fights so I know Iíve still got a lot to offer. Besides, Iíve got to keep fighting to keep my wife-to-be in shoes!
When the nerves stop Iíll know itís time to go. But Iím still hungry to win more titles and Iím working hard because I know I can still do it.
In the gym Iím capable of doing more now than Iíve ever been able to do. I run faster, Iím stronger on the weights and Iím more flexible. The older Iím getting, the better Iím getting.
Any thoughts as to what you might do when you finally hang your gloves up?
Donít worry, youíll be seeing plenty of me about. Hopefully, Iíll be staying in the game as a trainer. Iíve already got me own gym, the DM Fitness Centre on Great Homer Street in Liverpool. Lots of good pros such as Tony Dodson and Nick Quigley use it.
Iím also in the process of getting my amateur club Derry ABC affiliated with the ABA.† Iím a learner who spends his time studying old Georgie, trying to pick up little tips. Heís 76 now but still in top nick. If I can achieve a small fraction of what the Vaughan family has, Iíll die a very happy man.
So youíre back where it all started, after re-signing with Frank Warren!
Thatís right and Iím delighted to be back with Frank at Queensberry Promotions, back boxing on BoxNation. Iím desperate to convince them that their investment was wise, to show them that Iíve still got what it takes as a fighter. I really want to impress them and Iíll thrive off that pressure.
Why is fighting Stephen Ormond for the WBO European belt a good move for Derry Mathews at this stage of your career?
Firstly, it provides me with an opportunity to collect a new title. Secondly, I understand that if Iím victorious, Iíll get a top ten (WBO) world rating. Thirdly, itís a big fight at whatís sure to be a packed arena in my home city. Whatís not to like?
Right now, I need to be fighting the best. Anthony Crolla and Kevin Mitchell decided that they wanted to go different routes. Short term, I want to be made mandatory for the British, I want to challenge Marsili for the European in a fight that would double as a world eliminator then finish off by fighting for a world title.
How has prep gone and how important shall home advantage be?
As Danny Vaughan has married Sandra and moved to Glasgow, I now train at a gym up there. Iíve got a great sponsor in Sake Bake which enables me to stay in an apartment up in Scotland for seven weeks before a fight. Iím locked away and Iíve a chef who sorts out three good meals a day.
This is a 50-50 fight which I didnít have to take so home turf is definitely a plus but not my only advantage. Stephen basically is a big featherweight cum super-feather whoís never really been tested yet. Heís also never been 12 rounds. Danny studied him for a week and told me to accept the fight.
Ormond was a quality amateur winning three All-Ireland senior titles and heís lost just one of 16 as a pro. What problems do you envisage him causing? What type of fight are you anticipating?
For a start, his work rate is very good and he delivers his shots from all angles.† But with my jab and size, no oneís going to outbox me. Iím very confident that Iíve got the brain and ability to overcome whatever Stephen brings.
I expect itíll be an absolute war that the fans are going to love. If he wants to fight, thatíll play into my hands. Iím hardly going to run away from him in my home city. Iíd never be forgiven!
On December 7th, weíll see whoís got the better chin and the better punching power at lightweight. May the best man win on the night.
Remaining ambitions within the ring?
When I re-signed with Frank, we agreed to try to get into the mandatory position for every belt going; British, European, world. Do it the hard way so that the champions have to fight me. If I could get those opportunities, Iíd be the happiest man alive.
London - Eli Green canít wait to get in the ring and show all the fans his ability on the James DeGale undercard at Glow, Bluewater, Saturday 16th November.
The 22-year-old Guildford featherweight has been training hard and is eager for fight night.
ďIím really looking forward to it,Ē Eli said.
ďI want to show my fans my ability and what I can do, I want to try a few things that Iíve been doing in the gym and just show a few of my skills off basically.
ďIt would be nice to show them another side of me, something different - I canít wait.Ē
This will be Eliís fourth contest since turning professional, boasting a perfect 3-0 record.
In his last contest Eli recorded his first knockout win, with a first round TKO over Harvey Hemsley and is concentrating on another impressive victory.
ďIím coming in off a stoppage win so Iím just looking forward to getting in there,Ē Eli said.
ďGetting the knockout was really good, it felt good. I wanted the rounds, but the stoppage was great.
ďIf another stoppage comes then great, but I want to enjoy the rounds and give a good performance.Ē
Eli fights on the undercard to James DeGale MBEís WBC Silver super middleweight title defence against ĎDangerousí Dyah Davis at Glow, Bluewater on Saturday 16th November, featuring an all-star line up, live on Channel 5 from 10pm.
Tickets are priced from £40 and are still available to buy from the Hennessy Sports Box Office on 01925 755 222 or online at http://hennessy.ticketline.co.uk or alternatively by contacting Tickeline.co.uk online and by phone on 0844 888 4402 or via Ticketmaster.co.uk online or by phone on 0844 847 2500.Tags: Nathan Cleverly , Derry Mathews