Cleverly to move up in weight
October, 30, 2013
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Tim IrelandOne fight removed from losing his 175-pound title, Nathan Cleverly will try his hand at cruiserweight.It's one of the oldest moves in the boxer playbook: Lose a world title fight and then move up in weight.
Former light heavyweight titlist Nathan Cleverly of Wales, who got destroyed in four rounds and lost his title to punishing puncher Sergey Kovalev on Aug. 17 in Wales, is just the latest fighter to follow that blueprint.
Cleverly (26-1, 12 KOs) announced on Wednesday he is moving up the scale to cruiserweight.
He will make his debut in the 200-pound division on Nov. 30 in London and will challenge for the vacant Commonwealth title against Australia's Daniel Ammann (29-5-1, 6 KOs) on the undercard of European heavyweight champion Dereck Chisora's first defense against Matteo Modugno.
"I'm ready to return and I can't wait for Nov. 30 at the Copper Box Arena and show that Nathan Cleverly is back," Cleverly said. "I've got the hunger and desire back and I want to be a world champion again. I miss having the belt around my waist, but it's not just about the belt. I didn't want to let my fans down, who have supported me in my career, my family down and, more importantly, I didn't want to let myself down by going out on a loss. I knew deep down that I wanted to fight again and I just needed time to focus on what I wanted to do."
Cleverly made five successful title defenses against less-than-stellar opposition before running into Kovalev, who scored two knockdowns en route to the easy win.
"I was on a high for so long winning the British, Commonwealth and European titles in quick time and then winning the world title and making five successful defenses," Cleverly said. "In five years I had 15 championship fights and I felt invincible. The loss to Kovalev has brought me back down to earth and made me realize what I want and that is to be world champion again.
"The thought of winning a second world title now really excites and motivates me, but the road back will be hard and I'm looking forward to testing my character and resolve."
Cleverly's addition to the card replaces British and Commonwealth middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders, who was supposed to defend his belts but withdrew because of a minor hand injury he suffered in his Sept. 21 defense against John Ryder has not fully healed.