Header Ads

Cleverly believes win over Jack would elevate him to 'elite' status

Nathan Cleverly believes victory over Badou Jack on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor would elevate him to "elite" status.

Cleverly, who currently holds the WBA light-heavyweight 'regular' title, is preparing to take on Sweden's Badou Jack on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas.

Cleverly celebrates winning the WBA light heavyweight World Championship in Oct. 2016. Ronny Hartmann/AP
The Welsh boxer is no stranger to his upcoming fight's setting as he was part of the Vegas undercard for Joe Calzaghe vs. Bernard Hopkins almost 10 years ago which he feels has given him an advantage going into his upcoming fight.

"It was a great experience," Cleverly told PA Sport. "Joe was fighting Hopkins, just being around the set-up, the exposure, the press conferences, you get a feel for it. It's put me in good stead for now.

"I always knew in my heart that one day I'd probably be here on the big stage myself. I always felt this is great preparation for the future when I come back as the champ.

"I love this city, I love Vegas, it's a great fight city. I was here in 2008, boxing in an eight-round [points victory over Antonio Baker at the Thomas & Mack Centre] on the undercard, and it was a great experience. The pressure was off back then.

"Now we're back here, on the big stage, in a big fight, with massive pressure, and I love it.

"This will be my best ever win. The winner goes on to be elite."

Cleverly was an undefeated fighter when in 2013 he was stopped by Russia's ruthless Sergey Kovalev in four rounds. After contemplating retirement, he moved up to cruiserweight where he appeared too small to truly excel, narrowly lost a rematch to rival Tony Bellew, and after returning to 175lbs was defeated in a bruising fight by Poland's Andrzej Fonfara.

His was a difficult run of fights that few British fighters have surpassed during that period, but Cleverly responded to win his title from German Juergen Braehmer last October, and believes that victory has also recovered the confidence he had lost.

"You just want the ground to swallow you up, losing your world title, I was devastated," the 30-year-old said. "I love being a world champion -- that's what I'm in boxing for, to be the best, to be world champion, the big fights. High-risk fights, I love them.

"Initially I felt I was under-appreciated coming through as a young world champion. But it takes time, I couldn't expect to receive the accolades then.

"You have to win against the real fighters, my resume shows that now, so the respect is starting to come in."

PA Sport contributed to this report.

Source: http://www.espn.com/boxing/story/_/id/20454396/cleverly-believes-win-badou-jack-elevate-elite

No comments

Powered by Blogger.