By Wayne Bartlett: Promoter Frank Warren has insisted Nathan Cleverly is still learning, despite his status as WBO light heavyweight champion and top five ranking in the division.
Speaking to SecondsOut on Tuesday at a press conference announcing the intention to fight German based Serbian Robin Krasniqi on April 28, subject to approval by the WBO, Warren expressed his bewilderment at the reaction by some over Cleverly’s opponents.
“I know what I’m doing with my guys. I had this stick with Joe Calzaghe and to me it’s all uncalled for,” said Warren.
“Nathan’s a fantastic talent and he’s still learning. It’s funny to say of someone who’s a world champion but he actually is. This guy (Krasniqi) has had 37 fights and won 35 of them, people who may sneer at this, whoever they are, may have sneered when Nathan fought Tony Bellew, saying it was a mismatch and he shouldn’t be in the ring. A TV executive actually said that to me.
“Bellew was a fabulous fight and Tony showed what I’ve always believed that he is a quality fighter capable of winning a world title down the road. The last one, Tommy Karpency, I was a little bit disappointed. I thought he’d have come more to fight rather than just tuck up, but he showed all the experience he’s gained sparring the likes of Roy Jones Jr to make Nathan think.”
Still only 25-years-old, Cleverly has amassed a faultless 24-0 (11) record that’s seen the Welshman go the traditional route in terms of titles before gracing the world stage, as the Cefn Forest fighter’s promoter proudly points out.
“He’s won the British, Commonwealth and European title quicker than any other light heavyweight, including John Conteh. It wasn’t his fault Juergen Braehmer pulled out when he boxed for the WBO title, and the opponent that stepped in came to fight.”
Whether or not Krasniqi is sanctioned as Cleverly’s next opponent, the Welshman will still box on April 28 at the Royal Albert Hall, as the prestigious venue hosts boxing for the first time since 1999.
The fight taking place live on BoxNation, the channel will also be screening action across the Atlantic later in the evening, as light heavyweight rivals Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson face off in a rematch in New Jersey.
Had Hopkins won the first meeting, after a no contest was ruled in the pair’s first bout, Cleverly’s forthcoming fixture list may have been a little different explains Warren.
“We’d been working on the Hopkins fight for a long time. We were hoping Hopkins beat Chad Dawson and that would be the next fight.
“We’d had the negotiations but it was declared a no contest and they’re getting it back on again. We’re not going to sit around watching the world pass Nathan by, we want to keep busy. The more experience he gets at this level, the better it is for him.”
Insisting he’d have no qualms with his man travelling to the States to take on the winner, Warren reiterated his opinion on opponent choice while awaiting the outcome.
“I heard a question at the Carl Froch press conference yesterday about him having such hard opponents, so you can’t win. Now Froch, does he need to be fighting Bute in his next fight? I don’t think so. Arsenal don’t play Man United every week."
“Look at Kerry Hope on Saturday; (16-3 Hope dethroned 26-0 European champion Grzegorz Proksa) I read somewhere what a mismatch that was. If their weren’t such a thing as an upset the word wouldn’t be in the dictionary.”
As we await official confirmation of his next opponent, one thing we do know if he continues to develop as he has done as a world champion, is the big fights are sure to turn out for Nathan Cleverly.
March 20, 2012