Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Nathan Cleverly Says Mandatory Next, Then Big Fights

Nathan Cleverly hopes the first American defence of his WBO light-heavyweight title will end a quiet year on a high and help set up some stellar fights in 2013.

Protecting an unblemished 24-fight record, Cleverly boxes as champion for the fourth time on Saturday night when he takes on Shaun Hawk at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Hawk suffered a second career lost last time out and the South Dakota man was only named as a late replacement for Ryan Coyne earlier this week after contractual issues with his promoter Don King put paid to the world-title ambitions of Cleverly's intended opponent.

The fraught build-up has been symptomatic of a sometimes frustrating 18 months for Cleverly since his first defence of the world crown in May last year against Poland's Aleksy Kuziemski, a hastily-arranged opponent after Juergen Braehmer had his belt awarded to the Welshman following an injury withdrawal and domestic rival Tony Bellew failed to make the weight at short notice.

Cleverly and Bellew did meet in a thrilling and punishing grudge-match in Liverpool five months later, when the 25-year-old dug deep to be awarded a majority decision win.

Since then a routine February homecoming against limited American Tommy Karpency in Cardiff has been Cleverly's only action, with a virus scuppering a proposed spring showdown with now mandatory challenger Robin Krasniqi.

"I've achieved my dream but since then I've been a little bit inactive," Cleverly said. "I haven't had too many fights, this is my first in nine months.

"Ultimately there's been no real rush, I'm still 25 years of age.

"We'll get this defence done, hopefully successfully, and then we can move on to the next one which is my mandatory challenger before we go for the real big elite fights.

"This is part of a plan, in coming to America, gaining experience and gaining US exposure. By doing that we'll be set up to be in big fights in 2013."

The intention is for an impressive showing against Hawk to line up unification match-ups with Chad Dawson, Tavoris Cloud or Beibut Shumenov, who hold the WBC, IBF and WBA light-heavyweight titles respectively, and Cleverly has certainly set about turning heads since arriving in LA for the final stages of his preparations.

Promoter and former six-weight world champion Oscar De La Hoya has touted him as a future star and spoken of a possible fight with ring legend Bernard Hopkins.

Another keen admirer is Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, who revealed a desire to work with Cleverly after the Cefn Fforest fighter impressed during sparring sessions at his world-renowned Wild Card Gym.

"It's a really busy gym, loads of fighters are in there," Cleverly said. "I got involved and really enjoyed it. It was really good stuff, sparring with a few American fighters that are part of the Wild Card Gym.

"One was an undefeated cruiserweight and on Tuesday I sparred a light-heavyweight. Again, he was an unbeaten fighter and you gain from quality sparring."

Friends in high places seem to be a recurring theme this week and a touch of Hollywood glitz will be added when Cleverly is accompanied to the ring by actor and one-time boxer Mickey Rourke, along with one of his own country's most famous exports.

"I've been speaking to Mickey a lot, we've met up and he's been to the gym," Cleverly added.

"He spoke to Tom Jones and they both want to get involved and walk with me to the boxing ring.

"It's a great honour for me to have guys of that calibre wanting to be part of the show on Saturday night. It's a real privilege for me."

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Post a Comment - View More User Comments (0)
Top Headlines Lawrence Okolie Inks Promotional Pact With Eddie Hearn Jamie Cox: I Would Beat Eubank Jr. and Quinlan in The Same Night! Farrell Hungry To Produce Champions, Excited for McCrory Link Up Chisora To Whyte: Forget Wilder, You Need To Face Me Again J. Mayweather No Longer Convinced That Golovkin Beats Canelo Veteran Judge: Horn Has No Real Talent, Pacquiao By KO in 3 To 4 Marco Huck vs. Mairis Briedis, WBC Title, in Play For April 1 Adam Lopez: I Have Everything it Takes To Get My Shot Marquez: Chavez Jr. Must First Defeat The Weight, Then Canelo Arum Provides Update on Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn Event Photos: Michael Conlan Hits New York City For MSG Presser Golovkin vs. Jacobs: Ryan Martin Eyed For The Undercard Nate Diaz Expected To Receive Boxing License, Heading To TMT? Loeffler: Insurance is a Non-Issue For Golovkin vs. Jacobs Miller on Luis Ortiz: I'll Beat Brakes Off That Old Motherf***er! Photos: Carl Frampton Putting in Work For Leo Santa Cruz Rematch Gervonta Davis: Pedraza Needs to Stop Making Excuses for Loss Espinoza Will Discuss Garcia-Thurman Winner With Mayweather Chocolatito, Sor Rungvisai Will Look To Steal The Show at MSG Parker's Promoter: Talks With Haymon For Wilder Bout Went Well Robbie Davies Jr: I Want To Get Past Szabo, Step Up To Next Level Michael Conlan Has Debut Opponent Confirmed For March 17 Boy Jones Jr-Craig Poxton, Southern Area 130lb Belt on Feb. 24 Rigondeaux's Trainer Wants Lomachenko Fight at Catch-Weight Lipinets Awaiting Mandatory Shot at Burns vs. Indongo Winner Lara Willing to Face Jermell Charlo Next in Unification Fight Stevenson: Andre Ward Wants To Milk His Titles Before Facing Me Sam Eggington Embraces Idea of Facing Paulie Malignaggi in NY Julius Indongo, Ricky Burns Expect Fireworks in Glasgow Wood Updates On Flanagan, Fitzgerald; Confirms Ajisafe Capture Dashon Johnson vs. Ricardo Pinell Tops Emerald Casino Card Arum Agrees With Mayweather Rejecting White's $25 Million Offer Video: Paulie Malignaggi Talks Future, Canelo-Chavez, More J. Mayweather: Pacquiao is a Gatekeeper, He Won't Beat Crawford! Sulaiman Praises Canelo-Chavez Deal, Still Mulls Special WBC Belt Erislandy Lara Keeps Winning, Keeps Calling For Canelo, Golovkin Mayweather: Dana White Carried My Bags, Now He's a Tough Guy Chavez Sr. Breaks Down His Son's Chances With Canelo, Weight Alexander Povetkin's B-Sample To Be Opened on February 1 Dominic Breazeale vs. Izu Ugonoh is Set For Wilder-Wawrzyk Card
Advertisement
Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement