Nathan Cleverly Looks Superb As He Out-Points Tony Oakey

by James Slater - Last night, in Liverpool, U.K, unbeaten 21-year-old Welshman Nathan Cleverly won the biggest pro test of his career so far as he clearly and impressively out-pointed 32-year-old Tony Oakey of Hampshire. Winning the vacant Commonwealth light-heavyweight title, the gifted Cleverly prevailed by scores of 119-110, 117-111 and 116-112. Improving to 13-0(3), the stylish youngster looks a future star. While tough campaigner Oakey, who has now lost two in a row, fell to 25-4-1(7)..

Cleverly, formerly trained by Enzo Calzaghe but now coached by his father and Dean Powell, came out looking a million dollars in the 1st round. Looking particularly impressive when he landed with his eye-catching right uppercuts, the still untested 21-year-old won the round in style.

There was more aggression by Oakey in the 2nd, and the action was great to watch. Oakey's whole thing is pressure and he was putting the decade-plus younger man under pressure now. But Cleverly, who is a brainy mathematician when he's not fighting, was proving he is not only as clever in the boxing ring as he is outside of it, but also tough and game. Willing to stay in close with the former British 175-pound champion, Cleverly was giving as good as he was getting.

The fight remained this way until the 8th round, with both men testing each other on the inside and Cleverly also firing out some classy bursts , until Oakey grew tired. Cleverly had picked up a small cut over his right eye in the 5th, but it was no real problem. Close until the 8th, the fight was pretty much all the 21-year-old's in the last four rounds.

The Welshman, who looked far more experienced than his years and lack of pro fights would suggest, was on his toes and bouncing around in the final third of the fight. With absolutely no stamina shortcomings to speak of, he was actually enjoying himself in there - so much so that his corner had to tell him to stop smiling! Looking for all the world like a future British superstar, the man who only began boxing as a pro in July of 2005 was still firing out elegant shots late in the fight, his very first 12-rounder.

The body shots Oakey had tested him with had failed to tire him, whereas Cleverly's own body work had definitely had an effect on the older man. Now visibly fatigued and unhappy, Oakey had done all he could. A nasty accidental head clash occurred in the final round, and Oakey emerged with a bad cut high on his head. Pouring blood, the cut would have certainly been a major factor had it been opened earlier in the fight. Thankfully, it came at a time when it was too late to spoil Cleverly's excellent showing.

Finishing the fight boxing and moving, Cleverly knew there was only one winner. As did Oakey. Now a champion, the sky seems to be the limit for one of Britain's most impressive young boxers.

Article posted on 11.10.2008

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