Nathan Cleverly has revealed to BBC Sport that he may be forced to leave the valley’s of Wales to set up his training camp in either London or Manchester.
In Cleverly’s last fight against Nadjib Mohammedi, he struggled to a messy points win and blames his pre-fight preparation’s and the shortage of quality professional sparring partners he is able to attract to his gym in Wales, as a major factor for his off night
The interim WBO world light-heavyweight champion unbeaten in 21 fights, 10 wins coming by KO – will be having a new year review of his pre-fight training base and will make a career defining move as he chases his world title dream.
The 23-year-old, is discussing with his team, what is the best option for him after his last fight against Mohammedi in Liverpool on 11th December in which Cleverly was far from happy with his performance.
The awkward Frenchman answered an 11th hour call after initial foe Alejandro Lakatos withdrew on the Wednesday before suffering pneumonia.
Cleverly conceded Mohammedi was the toughest opponent of his unblemished 21-fight professional career.
“Training went okay but it was not great. We are discussing what our next move is training wise,” said Cleverly.
“I won’t go into detail but I’m struggling to find sparing at the moment so I will have to sort that out and hopefully come back a better fighter.
“We were struggling before the last fight because I was relying on amateur fighters coming in and sharing the rounds so I was low on numbers for quality sparring.
“It was the most frustrating 12 rounds I had ever done, including sparing as well as the fight.”
Cleverly, his trainer and father Vince and promoter Frank Warren are now deliberating whether the Welshman should continue training full-time in the Gwent Valleys or relocate to a pre-fight training camp in either London or Manchester.
“Or if we’ll have to go nearer to potential training partners in Manchester or London for a pre-fight training camp for a couple of weeks specifically for sparring.
Nathan Cleverly’s last fight against Nadjib Mohammedi 2010
“We were struggling before the last fight because I was relying on amateur fighters coming in and sharing the rounds – so I was low on numbers for quality sparring.
“Ideally I would stay in Wales because it is what I’m used to.
“However, the advantage of going somewhere else for training camps is it takes you out of your comfort zone and gets you different sparring partners.
“But I won’t be leaving Wales permanently. I don’t see any reason for it as it has worked well for me this far.”
Cleverly has impressed everyone in the game with his British, Commonwealth and European success and in winning the interim title this year as put him in pole position for a world title shot in 2011 and chance to become a unified champion against either WBO champion Juergen Braehmer or WBA and IBA champion Beibut Shumenov who fight in a unification showdown on 8 January in Kazakhstan.
Cleverly hopes to become the 11th Welsh world champion and has certainly moved into the top-class of world light-heavyweights.
He is sixth in the 175 pound rankings of the prestigious Ring Magazine – the self-styled ‘Bible of Boxing’ – behind number one Jean Pascal, Bernard Hopkins, Tavoris Cloud, Chad Dawson and Glen Johnson.
Cleverly is eyeing those big name light-heavyweights after fighting the winner of Braehmer v Shumenov in a possible unification showdown.
So now the young Welshman knows he must sort out his sparring issues before considering taking on those world-class performers.
“We’ll make a decision on our training issue early in the new year,” said Cleverly.
British boxers caught up with renound Manchester boxing trainer Joe Gallagher to ask his view on the Nathan Cleverly change of training camp, and would he be accomodating of Nathan to Manchester and into his gym, which boasts the longest unbeaten run in British boxing and champions such has John Murray, Matthew Macklin and Anthony Crolla, amongst many other boxing starletts waiting to break onto the big stage.
“I’ts good that he is willing to go and look elsewhere for training and sparring. wether it be in London or Manchester, said Gallagher.
“Manchester, I believe at the moment to be the boxing capital of Britain. In our fgym alone for sparring theryres Macklin, Hosea Burton and Liam Cullen, just down the road theres Tony Bellew over in Liverpool theres alot of good fighters there to spar with, Paul Smith and that, he would be very fortunate with sparring if he were to move to the Northwest area.
“But if he went to London equally there are a lot of quality fighters down there to accomodate him sparring, but what suprises me more and its a good thing, is that he is willing to make the move, to better himself and improve and its a positive sign that he isnt resting on his laurels”. said Gallagher.
All signs are that Cleverly will still be trained by his dad Vince, who has done a wonderfull job in getting his boy to the pinnacle of world success. And Joe Gallagher believes that staying with his dad and training with a new team for the sparring side is a good move, unlike Joe Calzaghe, who stayed in Wales all his boxing career.
“It suited Calzaghe staying in Wales, but he was in a stable at the time that had Nathan in it, Gavin Rees, Bradley Price and good fighters like that to train and spar with, Nathan hasnt got that.
“And noone knows Nathan better than his Dad and he has done a really good job with him and im sure he will always be a part of Nathan’s future and whatever he decides to do. They work well, train well and the results speak for themselves. So theres nothing broke, it’s just that Nathan has progressed so quickly in such a short time. Its been a rapid climb upto the level and the titles he has won in just two years, where as with my fighter John Murray its took eight years. added Gallagher.
Asked if Gallagher would welcome Cleverly into his Manchester gym, he said. “We would welcome Nathan to our gym for sparring, we have arranged once or twice before for him and Macklin to spar, but for whatever reason it didnt happen. But id be more than happy for him to come up for sparring at our place, if the Cleverly’s. Dean Powell and Frank Warren wanted that!
By Chris Maylett
The NEW Joe Gallagher British Boxers exclusive column – FOR THE LATEST NEWS, REVIEWS AND VIEWS FROM ‘THE NORTHERN VOICE OF BOXING….’
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