Boxing

Nathan Cleverly Has Big Ambitions, Says Chad Dawson Would Be His Dream Fight

by James Slater - Without a single doubt, unbeaten light-heavyweight up-and-comer Nathan Cleverly is one of the best, if not the best, world title prospects in Britain right now. Already having captured and defended the Commonwealth 175-pound title, after a mere 14 pro bouts, the 21-year-old Welshman has his sights set far higher. Not wanting to rush things, the level-headed fighter who is also an accomplished mathematics student, says he will be ready for the best in the world in around eighteen months..

Naturally gifted, clever (in and out of the ring), dedicated to training and hugely ambitious, the Welshman could well be a future star of British boxing. At one time a member of Enzo Calzaghe's stable of fighters, Cleverly sparred countless rounds with the great Joe Cazlaghe. Perhaps the 21-year-old, who chose to separate from Enzo a few months back, will be the man to take over for current "Pride of Wales" when it comes to the UK's best boxer.
Cleverly, 14-0(4) has been talking about his future with Wales Online.

"My dream fight would be Chad Dawson," Cleverly began. "If you look at the top light-heavyweights at the moment, Calzaghe, Hopkins and Jones Junior, they are all close to retiring. Dawson will be around when I hit the world scene and he would be a very good opponent for me - give me 18 months and I'll be ready to take on anyone.

"It's one step at a time though and I don't want to get too carried away, it's a long road. I would say 18 months for a world title shot is a realistic target though. I just need to keep impressing in my fights and improve my world ranking."

So far, it has been a real pleasure watching the classy 21-year-old box. Looking for all the world like a seriously experienced fighter at times, as opposed to a man who has only been a pro for three-and-a-half years, Cleverly has certainly looked the real deal. Nathan spoke about his next scheduled fight.

"Hopefully I'll be back in the ring after my exams in January," said the boxer/mathematics student. "I'd like to have one more defence of my Commonwealth title, and if the promoters want it then I will fight Dean Francis - I'll fight anybody in Britain.

"People have seen I can go the distance and have got the speed, stamina and accuracy as well as having the punching power. It was really satisfying to land that knockout punch (Vs. Douglas Otieno in his last fight, on December 12th). I've been waiting for that for a while. I've been working in the gym on my explosive power and it has developed me into a true light-heavyweight. I can see me staying at this weight for the rest of my career."

A fight with 34-year-old Francis, who holds the British light-heavyweight title, would be a logical step. If he can overcome Francis the way he has overcome everyone he has thus far met, Cleverly will really be on his way to the top.

Article posted on 20.12.2008



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