By Frank Warren
WBO light-heavyweight king Nathan Cleverly begins his 2013 campaign tonight aware that it could conclude with him recognised as the world's premier 175lb fighting man. Last year 'Clev' was restricted to just two starts but both significantly enhanced his profile. In February, in his overdue homecoming at Cardiff 's Motorpoint Arena, the Welshman schooled Pennsylvania southpaw Tommy Karpency, winning every round on every card.
Then in November he wooed the US fight fraternity by destroying Sioux Indian Shawn Hawk in eight rounds on a Showtime televised, Golden Boy card at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Nathan was an 18 year old welterweight when he joined the pros in June 2005. He learned his craft as chief spar to the brilliant Joe Calzaghe and was still only 21 when he snared the Commonwealth light-heavy crown. British, European and WBO 'interim' honours followed by the time he was 23 and still a full-time student.
'Clev' has now reigned for two and a half years and has enjoyed the luxury of growing into his world title. However, he is now 26, has developed his 'man strength' and is now ready to be unleashed on anyone in the division.
His quest for recognition as top dog´´ in the 12st 7 lbs class begins this evening when he headlines my 'Rule Britannia' promotion at Wembley Arena with a tricky mandatory defence against Robin Krasniqi.
It's certainly no foregone conclusion and the man from Cefn Fforest can't allow his heart to rule his head. At times, in the heat of battle, Cleverly comes out slugging like John Wayne or Victor McLaggon! He can't be so carefree tonight.
But with potential super fights aching to be made against the likes of Bernard Hopkins, Andre Ward and even the winner of Froch-Kessler, I've every faith that my man can deliver a classy performance and retain his belt.
With the dominant reign of the Brothers Klitschko surely entering its final chapter, the global heavyweight scene is set to open up and Dereck Chisora, the controversial heavyweight, is only a couple of wins from putting himself firmly back in the mix.
Following a brutal schedule in 2011-12, 'Del Boy' has undertaken some much needed ´R and R´ over the past nine months but returns this evening in a 10 round international contest against Argentine Hector Alfredo Avila. Based in Finchley, Chisora is dedicating his performance to the borough's former MP Baroness Thatcher, another famed Argie basher!
The extended rest has done wonders for ´Del´s´ motivation and, provided he comes through tonight and looks good doing so, I'm eager to sort him a big fight in July.
People forget, Dereck - a talented goalkeeper in his youth - didn't begin boxing until his late teens and, despite capturing an ABA title, he had a very short amateur career. Though he won and successfully defended the British and Commonwealth belts, he has his business in far more taxing company than touted rivals Tyson Fury and David Price and he's still only had 19 fights.
Chisora's tough and talented in equal measure. I'm still very confident he can scale the summit if he really wants to.
Another north Londoner anxious to make a big impression will be Enfield super-middle Frank Buglioni.
A qualified building surveyor and model with nine GCSEs, the 23 year old who they call 'The Wise Guy ' will be bringing an army of fans and looking to build on his seven wins to date.
Schooled by father-son training duo Jimmy and Mark Tibbs, the 6ft 1in former England international has quick hands and heavy hooks. Provided he shines this evening, I'll be elevating him to ten round title level next time out.
If he continues to deliver between the ropes, young Frank has the looks and lines to evolve into a huge crossover star beyond the ring.
Birmingham middleweight Matt Macklin has many admirable qualities, big balls and a big punch prominent among them.
Having already failed in two world title challenges on foreign climes, the 30 year old has signed to fight WBA king Gennady Golovkin in Connecticut, USA on June 29th.
The Kazak is one seriously brutal operator, an ex-world amateur champion and 2004 Olympic silver medalist, unbeaten in 26 pro gigs, with 23 perishing inside the scheduled distance. It's a real tough assignment for the Brummie.
Thus far, I´ve reserved judgement on Saul ´Canelo´ Alvarez, the flame haired light-middleweight who many good judges are trumpeting as the next ´Big Thing´ to come out of Mexico.
The 22 year old from Jalisco is unbeaten in 42 (one draw) but has feasted largely on fighters that were past their prime or naturally smaller.
However, we should learn more about exactly how good he is this evening when he attempts to unify his WBC title with that of WBA king Austin Trout, a highly skilled southpaw from New Mexico who might be hard to find. Once again, BoxNation deliver the action live to British screens.
Mike Tyson this week said he lost 140lbs due to becoming a vegan, shame he wasn't a vegan in 1997 when he bit part of Evander Holyfield's ear! Although with the 'Real Deal' still plugging away at the age of 50, his remaining ear may now resemble a cauliflower!
Tags: Frank Warren