Nathan Cleverly Defends British Light-Heavyweight Title With 8th-Round Stoppage Of Courtney Fry

by James Slater - Last night, at The York Hall in London, 22-year-old Welshman Nathan Cleverly kept his unbeaten record and his British and Commonwealth light-heavyweight crowns as he stopped a brave but outgunned Courtney Fry in the 8th round. Hurt in the 8th, former Olympian Fry was under fierce pressure and seeing he'd had enough, referee Victor Loughlin dived in, which resulted in both the third man in the ring and Fry falling to the canvas. The official time was 2.51 of the 8th round. Cleverly, who retained his British belt for the first time, is now 18-0(7). 34-year-old Fry is now 13-3(5)..

Big things are expected of Cleverly, and last night's impressive win kept the maths student right on track to achieve these big things. Next up for the 6'3" light-heavy should be a crack at the European 175-pound title, probably in Newcastle on the December 5th Amir Khan-Dmitriy Salita bill. Then, all being well, Cleverly will likely go for a version of the world title some time next year. As good as he's looked in his 18 pro outings, the Welshman has to be given a great chance at making it to the very top.

Once again last night, Cleverly showed how he is practically the full package already. Fast, accurate, powerful and with a superb work-rate, Cleverly throws good hard shots to both head and body. The fighter some have hailed as the next Joe Calzaghe said after last night's win that he changed his tactics somewhat, to deal with Fry's style and jab. Cleverly may have lost the odd round, but he got the job done in style in the end.

Now, the 22-year-old looks ahead to graduating from university AND challenging for a world title.

"It would be spot-on if I got a world title shot when I graduate from university next May or June," he told The BBC. "That would be perfect timing. My win over Fry was a very important victory and it was nice to get it out of the way because I have a European title shot in December. I've dealt with a potentially dangerous opponent in Courtney Fry as he was up there in the ratings.

"He was a very different style of a boxer as he has a good amateur style, a Commonwealth gold medallist and an Olympic fighter, and was tall and had a good jab. I had to change my game and try and out-box him. I boxed a little differently and looked for a big shot which thankfully came in the 8th round."

If anything, last night's change of approach proved how versatile Cleverly is. The future star has had a great year overall, keeping very active, with last night's victory being his fourth so far in 2009. And considering how "Clev" has only been a pro since July of 2005, his progress has been excellent indeed.

Let's now see if he can add the European title to his British and Commonwealth.

Article posted on 10.10.2009

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