Unbeaten Nathan Cleverly Says He Is Looking At Going For A World Title Next Year

by James Slater - 22-year-old light-heavyweight Nathan Cleverly of Wales is a very talented fighter who has really made a name for himself in the last year or so. Already, the unbeaten 175-pounder has captured the British and Commonwealth titles, and the man who is also a gifted mathematician says the European and then world titles will soon follow..

Next up for the man some people have called the next Joe Calzaghe, is a potentially tough fight with Liverpool's Courtney Fry this coming Friday night - a fight where the winner will advance to a bout for the vacant European belt. And while the tall and rangy and fast and powerful would-be star admits the pressure is on for this fight, he also told Sky Sports that he likes it that way.

Cleverly, 17-0(7) is still studying math at university, and he says he plans to graduate, and fight for a world title, next year.

"I can definitely be world champion with the way things are going at the moment," Cleverly told Sky Sports. "I have the British title, Commonwealth title, next will be the European title, so it's all destined for me to become world champion. We are looking at a world title [fight] when I graduate next year so the timing will be spot on really."

First though, the 6'3" talent must get past Fry, a former Olympian and a good fighter in his own right, who has a 13-2(5) pro record - a record he has complied without ever being stopped.

"I like winning fights so it will be another scalp for me to put on my belt and, if I win this, I'll be fighting for the European title come December, so it's a massive fight," Cleverly went on. "That puts me under a little more pressure, but that's okay. I like that. The more pressure I have the better, it brings out the best in me.

"People are saying I'm the next Joe Calzaghe. That's brilliant to have those plaudits but I want to carve out a legacy of my own."

Once trained by Joe Calzaghe's father, Enzo, Cleverly seems a fighter who has the ability to keep his head on his shoulders and his feet on the ground. Far from coming across as arrogant, the 22-year-old has respect for all his opponents and he badmouths nobody. If he can get past Fry and then win the vacant European belt before the end of the year, 2009 really will have been his year. And 2010 looks like it could be even bigger for the Welshman.

I go for him to become the first man to stop Fry - who has not fought since losing to common opponent Tony Oakey in February's light-heavyweight edition of "PrizeFighter" - somewhere in the late rounds.

Article posted on 06.10.2009

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