WBO Light-Heavyweight Champion Nathan Cleverly will live the American dream when he defends his title at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on 10th November(Saturday).
The Welshman will feature on a card promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and headlined by WBC Super-Bantamweight Champion Abner Mares and IBF Bantamweight king Leo Santa Cruz.
Cleverly, 25, was due to defend his title at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on Saturday 27th October but when promoter Frank Warren told his young star about the offer of a career enhancing opportunity of breaking the America market, Cleverly jumped at the chance.
Nathan has already had a taste of the American experience when he fought on the undercard of Joe Calzaghe’s clash against Bernard Hopkins in Las Vegas in April 2008 where he out-pointed Antonio Baker.
With his challenger to be confirmed shortly, Cleverly is excited to be heading across the Atlantic, but said he won’t be overawed by the task.
“At only 25 it’s a dream come true to defend my world title in America on such a big show and it takes my career to a whole new level, it’s a golden opportunity to make a big statement that I’m the leading man in the light-heavyweight division,” said Cleverly.
“It will be exciting and challenging to get the recognition of the American fans and media and prove to them that I’m the real thing. Of course, I love fighting and headlining in front of my Cardiff home fans, but this shows that I’m not scared to leave my home comforts and risk my title by putting it on the line in another country, that’s what being a world champion is all about, I relish the challenge.
Cleverly added: “It’s a big test in my career, but I’m ready and won’t be overawed. I think that this will give my performance a sharper edge because I’m not at home and the pressure to perform will be on me,”
With three defences of his title under his belt, Cleverly will be looking at the elite in the division next year like WBA champ Beibut Shumenov and IBF king Tavoris Cloud.
“I’m in this business to prove that I’m at the best at the weight, I’ve achieved that over here by winning the British, Commonwealth and European titles and my aim is to unify all the world titles by beating all the champions out there,” said Cleverly
“I took Tony Bellew to school over the distance, he was my closest rival over here when we fought last year and I’ve left the likes of him far behind now. Shumenov and Cloud are the names that I’m looking to face next year and that excites me.
“We’ve been trying hard to get Shumenov and Cloud to come over here and fight me but they’ve been reluctant to make the trip, so if they won’t come to me I’ll go over there and fight them. I’ll go to their own territory and embarrass them into facing me.”
Hall of Frame Promoter Frank Warren said, “I’m delighted that Nathan has got the opportunity to showcase his talent in America at this stage of his career. He’s eager to show the American fans what he’s made of and a win will set up big unification fights next year.”