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Nathan Cleverly set for May 17 return under Matchroom banner

Nathan Cleverly will face an opponent to be determined on May 17 in Cardiff, making his return to Sky Sports and his Matchroom Boxing debut.

Mike Hewitt
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

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.

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