Someone who is going places in a hurry is Wales’ newly-crowned WBO light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly. After a torrid 24 hours in which he was lined-up to face three different opponents, the Cefn Fforest star (22-0) could be forgiven for a tepid showing against last-minute replacement Aleksy Kuziemski.
The 24-year-old (pictured) broke-up the light-hitting Pole (just three knockouts in 21 wins, with three defeats) and was by far the better boxer, though he too, like Tom Doran, needs to forget about those at ringside and concentrate on not getting hit.
His 34-year-old foe was limited but durable, yet Cleverly got him out of there in style and is fully deserving of his title.
Yesterday, Tony Bellew, who was lined-up to fight the maths graduate before being able to make the weight, said last week’s “electric” face-off between the pair has lit the touchpaper for an inevitable world title scrap. The Liverpudlian is still getting over “the darkest 36 hours of my life” after he was granted a shock world title shot and engaged in a fiery press conference. The unbeaten Commonwealth champion then watched on as his rival defended this belt.
“He doesn’t like me and I don’t like him,” the 28-year-old said. “Nathan Cleverly is intimidated by me. Deep down, when he goes to bed at night, when he closes his door, when he is all alone, Nathan Cleverly is scared of Tony Bellew. I know that. He is intimidated by me.”
I like Bellew, but I doubt that very much! If they fight later this year it will be a shoot-out, of that there is no doubt, and I see it going the champion’s way.