By Nick Parkinson, courtesy of The Daily Star
NATHAN CLEVERLY aims to be undisputed world light-heavyweight champion before the year’s out after landing a shot at WBO title-holder Juergen Braehmer.
The unbeaten European champion, who graduated from Cardiff University with a maths degree last year, faces his toughest test yet against the German in his first world title fight at Wembley Arena on April 2.
But Cleverly, 23, is confident of overcoming Braehmer, 32, then capturing the other world titles to emulate the success of his mentor and fellow Welshman Joe Calzaghe, who reigned as the undisputed super- middleweight champion for more than 10 years.
He said: “As soon as I win this fight I will be straight on the case of my promoter to fight Tavoris Cloud, the IBF champion.
“I want to clean up and be undisputed champion and I reckon I can do that this year, provided I get Braehmer out of the way.
“He’s a proper world champion but I know that whatever Braehmer gives me I’m going to walk through it and punish him.
“If I can beat Braehmer it will open doors for me to the likes of Cloud, the WBC champion Jean Pascal and Bernard Hopkins. I would love to fight in the States sooner rather than later.
“The experience of training alongside Joe Calzaghe was invaluable. I’ve prepared for this moment for more than 10 years, since I walked into Joe’s gym at the age of 11.
“I’ve trained like a pro since and I first sparred with him when I was 16.
“He’s telling me now I can be the next big star and be undisputed champ.”
The boxing boffin, who is trained by his dad Vince, won British, Commonwealth and European titles while a student.
He said: “I graduated in the summer and I’ve got no plans for any more studies. After my boxing I hope to use my degree to go into finance, but for the moment boxing is my career. Now I’m not studying, I can concentrate a lot more on my boxing. I’m able to rest more, make sure I eat the right food and I study my opponents more.
“My tutors at Cardiff were very good about giving me the time I needed for boxing and extending the odd deadline for course work.”
Promoter Frank Warren insists Cleverly will be fighting for the WBO title next – even if Braehmer pulls out of a defence for the second time this year.
Unbeaten Manchester lightweight John Murray will defend his European title against Lon-don’s Kevin Mitchell on the undercard. BOXING: Clever way to rule world