Nathan Cleverly defeats Frenchman Nadjib Mohammedi via unanimous 12 round decision to claim the interim world title and move within touching distance of becoming the world light-heavyweight champion in 2011.

Cleverly was hoping he would be crowned world champion in waiting, and would have been if world title-holder Juergen Braehmer was sent to prison this week.

The 32-year-old Braehmer would have lost his title if he were to have went into custody.

But the Gwent boxer has discovered the German’s appeal against his 16-month prison sentence for assault and insulting behaviour, imposed in January, could take three years.

So now Cleverly will hope to face the winner of next month’s fight between WBO champion Braehmer and WBA and IBA champ Beibut Shumenov in the first half of 2011, which could see him become the undisputed champion of the world at light-heavyweight.

Welshman Nathan Cleverly, completed finished off a good year by winning the vacant WBO ‘interim’ light-heavyweight world title in Liverpool on Saturday night, on the Frank Warren ‘Return of the Magnificent Seven’ boxing card.

The unbeaten 23-year-old, is truly Clever by name and Cleverly by nature, finishing off his mathematics degree earlier this year, whilst mixing it with being a world class boxer and adding the European title to his collection of belts for good measure.

Cleverly, was not at his best against Mohammedi, but did enough on a bad day at the office to win against a tricky foe, the scorecards finished up at 115-112, 116-111 and 115-113.

Cleverly, (below) felt the late the late change of opponent effected his performance and restricted him from performing his best against the slippery Mohammedi.

“The late change of opponent did not do any good,” he told Sky Box Office.

“The opponent I was training for was a static opponent so I could work in close but this guy was a mover who was so awkward.

“I hadn’t hardly seen videos of the guy and before I know it he’s moving around like Naz.”

“He is ranked in the top ten in the WBO,” continued Cleverly.

“He was making me miss and dragging me in so I had to hold and use a type of Bernard Hopkins tactic to stop him from punching. It’s spoiling tactics but that’s what you have to do sometimes to win.”

Promoter Warren agreed and felt that contests such as this one can only act as a good lesson for his hot prospect.

“As Nathan said he did not train for this guy but that’s boxing.

“At times he was loading up looking for the big punch instead of using his jab and reach but it was good for him.

“Sometimes you need to be brought down to earth and this is what it’s all about. Next time out he’s got to do what he normally does and thrill the crowd.”

Cleverly is now up to third in the IBF light-heavyweight world rankings.

The numbers one and two rankings are vacant, meaning that the Welshman could soon be in the position of mandatory challenger to champion Tavoris Cloud also, making his options very good indeed for the big fight he craves.
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