Nathan Cleverly was scheduled to defend his WBO light heavyweight title against Vyacheslav Uzelkov on October 27 in Cardiff, Wales, but the 25-year-old titlist is getting a chance to show his stuff on American TV instead, as he's been added to the November 10 bill at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, headlined by Abner Mares vs Anselmo Moreno in a super bantamweight title clash.
Cleverly (24-0, 11 KO) doesn't have an opponent named yet, but likely it won't be anyone particularly special. This is far more about getting Cleverly some U.S. exposure, and marks another case where Frank Warren is sending one of his fighters over to the States on a Golden Boy card, after George Groves came over in July, fighting on the Guerrero-Aydin card in San Jose.
Warren and Golden Boy work together for Warren's BoxNation channel, which televises Golden Boy cards in the United Kingdom. Here's what Cleverly said about the chance:
"At only 25 it’s a dream come true to defend my world title in America on such a big show. It takes my career to a whole new level and is a golden opportunity to make a big statement that I’m the leading man in the light-heavyweight division."
Warren had this:
"I’m delighted that Nathan has got the opportunity to showcase his talent in America at this stage of his career. He’s eager to show the American fans what he’s made of and a win will set up big unification fights next year."
Personally -- and I know I've dogged Cleverly's level of competition pretty hard, and I feel justified in doing so as a boxing fan -- I think it's a great move. For one thing, it's not like the world was dying to see Cleverly-Uzelkov, and considering his last opponent was Tommy Karpency, it would be pretty hard for Cleverly to take a step back on November 10, no matter who the opponent winds up being.
It's a smart move to get him over to the States, especially if he really wants a fight with the likes of Bernard Hopkins, Chad Dawson, Tavoris Cloud, etc. -- having him get even a little name here is better than nothing. It's a good decision by Cleverly and Warren, and an opportunity worth the hassle.
The entire October 27 show in Cardiff has been scrapped, with the promise that Cleverly will return to the building in early 2013. The scheduled Junior Witter-Frankie Gavin British welterweight title fight has been moved to November 1 at London's famed York Hall. The Enzo Maccarinelli-Ovill McKenzie fight has been moved to November 9.