Unbeaten Nathan Cleverly Wants 175-Pound Unification Bouts Next Year - Will Start Year With WBO Title Defence In Feb.

Nathan CleverlyBy James Slater: One of the hottest, most exciting fighters in British boxing today, unbeaten 24-year-old Welshman Nathan Cleverly is aiming for an even bigger year in 2012. This year, the man from The Cefn Fforest won the World Boxing Organization (WBO) light-heavyweight title outright and then defended it in a thriller with unbeaten puncher Tony Bellew.

Now set for a second defence of his WBO belt - The South Wales Argus reports that “Clev” will meet Chicago-based Polish warrior Andrzej Fonfara in his Feb. 25th “Homecoming” fight at The Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff - Cleverly is hoping for bigger fights by the end of next year.

“I need to step up progressively to fight the big names, I’m only 24 so I’ve got time on my side,” Cleverly told South Wales Argus. “Hopefully I’ll get the big unifications fights towards the end of 2012 against the likes of Hopkins and Dawson; that’s my goal.”

Cleverly, 23-0(11) is also interested in facing WBA champ Beibut Shumenov but he must first come through that February defence unscathed. Again, the Welsh web site lists Fonfara, 19-2(10) as the next opponent for Cleverly (yet Boxrec have the 24-year-old Pole down as facing Phil Williams tomorrow night - maybe Fonfara will be able to fight again in just over two months?).

An aggressive fighter who has won his last seven fights by stoppage, Fonfara has never met anyone in Cleverly’s class before. Stopped just once, by Derrick Findley in the 2nd-round back in 2008, down at middleweight, Fonfara has since moved up and won a minor title at 175. It’s tough to say what kind of a fight we can expect if Fonfara does meet Cleverly next year.

But a loss for the gifted Welshman looks extremely unlikely, and Cleverly’s goal of picking up additional light-heavyweight hardware looks an achievable one to many. Cleverly seems to have it all: a good chin, excellent conditioning and stamina, respectable power and a good boxing brain. Can the maths graduate get in there with the likes of Hopkins (who, still seemingly obsessed with a return with Welsh legend Joe Calzaghe, recently said he’d fight Cleverly only after getting Calzaghe to come out of retirement first!), Shumenov and Tavoris Cloud and leave the ring in triumph? Maybe.

It sure will be fun finding out. Cleverly is deserving of the big fights. Let’s hope he gets them in the coming months.

Article posted on 16.12.2011

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