Former WBO light heavyweight titleholder Nathan Cleverly will make his cruiserweight debut in his first fight as a Matchroom Boxing fighter on May 17 in Cardiff, headlining a card titled "The Second Coming."
The 27-year-old Cleverly (26-1, 12 KO) hasn't fought since his August 2013 shellacking at the hands of Sergey Kovalev, and surprised many with his defection to Matchroom this week, leaving career-long promoter Frank Warren. A spokesman for Warren indicated earlier this week that Cleverly still had a contract with Warren, which would be addressed, but for now, Cleverly is set to return in May on Sky Sports.
"It's chapter two for me. I've had a bit of time off and I decided to team up with Eddie. Matchroom and Sky Sports is the place to be to get back to the top and I can't wait to get back in there - let's bring it on."
The big domestic fight that could come from the move is a rematch with Tony Bellew, a bitter rival Cleverly defeated by majority decision in 2011. Bellew (21-2-1, 13 KO) recently moved up to the cruiserweight division himself, knocking out Valery Brudov.
Cleverly says he expects the fight will happen:
"I think it's inevitable. We're both on a collision course, we're now in the same weight division. We've already had one great fight, which was an entertaining, crowd pleasing fight, so I think the fight fans want to see it. Bellew wants the fight, I want the rematch as well. Even though I won the first fight, I'm prepared to give him a rematch. I'm sure we'll get it on."
Cleverly's May opponent -- if the fight indeed happens -- has yet to be determined, but shouldn't be expected to be anyone better than a tune-up, which is reasonable given the long layoff and the move up in weight.