Nathan “Clever Boy” Cleverly (21-0, 10 KO as of January 24) was born February 17, 1987 in Caerphilly, Wales, and resides in Cefn Forest. With a relatively short amateur career, finishing with a record of 32-4, Cleverly turned pro with a points victory over Ernie Smith at junior middleweight. He started developing his career on Joe Calzaghe undercards, and it didn’t take long for the Welshman to convince promoter Frank Warren to fast track him into his first meaningful bout.
Cleverly faced an undefeated Tony Quigley in his seventh pro fight, a former MMA fighter that had a strong Scouse following, in a fight that gave Cleverly the stage to announce his arrival on the British light heavyweight boxing scene. He won via fight round stoppage win.
After gaining experience as Joe Calzaghe’s chief sparring partner, Cleverly was given a slot on the Calzaghe/Hopkins undercard. He took full advantage of the American stage, winning a shutout over Antonio Barker, earning high praise from the HBO broadcasting team.
In September 2008, Cleverly decided it was time to leave Enzo Calzaghe’s stable to team up with his father, Vince. Cleverly was rumored to be torn between joining Calzaghe Promotions or re-signing with Sports Network, but it never seemed in doubt that the more lucrative deal from Frank Warren’s promotional outfit would win.
The decision paid off as he was chosen to replace Dean Francis on two weeks’ notice to fight Tony Oakey for the vacant Commonwealth title. In a fast fight, Cleverly decided to mix it up early on before out-boxing the older Oakey for the final half of the fight, winning by a comprehensive unanimous decision.
Three defenses later, all coming by early stoppage, Cleverly challenged unbeaten Danny McIntosh for the British crown. Cleverly unexpectedly brawled with the stronger McIntosh, flooring him twice in the second round and once in the third. The referee saved the brave McIntosh in the seventh following a barrage of punches teed off by The Welshman. He made one defense of his Londsdale belt against Courtney Fry, stopping the slick fighter in the eighth.
Cleverly completed all this whilst completing a math degree at Cardiff university. He graduated in 2010.
In February 2010, Cleverly took another step-up the prospect ladder with a butchering of Antonio Brancalion, capturing the vacant European title. He used the title as a platform to get to bigger and better things, earning a WBO elimination fight against fellow undefeated prospect Karo Murat. In a toe-to-toe battle, Cleverly emerged victorious with the referee waving away the contest between the 10th round. He struggled in his last fight against late opponent, Nadjib Mohammedi, squeezing a unanimous decision win over the Frenchman.
— Has shown that he can adapt well during fights.
— Throws well in combinations.
— Lacks one punch knockout power.
— Question marks linger over his stamina.
— Cleverly is easily lured into brawls and can get careless in the heat of the action.
Nathan Cleverly has emerged as one of the brightest talents out of Europe, and is beginning to become a force in a decent light heavyweight class. With a title shot looming, we’ll find out more about Cleverly’s potential in the near future.
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