Monday, February 06, 2023  |



Nathan Cleverly back at light heavyweight, targeting Juergen Braehmer

Nathan Cleverly (r) tags Tony Bellew during their heated rematch in Liverpool, England, on Nov. 22, 2104. Bellew won a split decision. Photo by Scott Heavey / Getty Images

Nathan Cleverly (r) tags Tony Bellew during their heated rematch in Liverpool, England, on Nov. 22, 2104. Bellew won a split decision. Photo by Scott Heavey / Getty Images

Following his brief foray into cruiserweight territory, former WBO light heavyweight titleholder Nathan Cleverly will return to 175 pounds in an eight round warm up bout against Tomas Man in London this Saturday.

Cleverly (28-2, 14 knockouts) lost a rematch to Tony Bellew at cruiserweight in November and stated afterwards that the division didn’t suit him. Whether he can recapture the same success he had during his three year stint as a light heavyweight titleholder remains to be seen, but the Welshman is certainly saying all the right things ahead of his return.

“I am looking forward to my return at light heavyweight,” said Cleverly in a press release issued by Matchroom Boxing. “It is all about making sure I am feeling good back at that weight and doing the weight properly.

“It has been six months since I was last in the ring so I am looking forward to getting back in there and getting some cobwebs off. After Saturday night I will have something big to concentrate on, which I hope will be the Juergen Braehmer fight.”

Braehmer, rated No. 4 by THE RING at 175 pounds, holds the regular WBA light heavyweight title and Cleverly would be required to travel to Germany for the bout. The 28-year-old claims that he has no problem looking out his passport and is actually relishing the occasion, providing all goes to plan.

*Editor’s Note: THE RING only recognizes Sergey Kovalev as WBA champion at 175 pounds.

Cleverly said, “I think going over there will be quite an enjoyable adventure. Sometimes being the home fighter, with the big build up, the pressure, and the added media hype can be a bit distracting.

“Braehmer is good fighter, strong and technically good, nothing sensational but he does the basics well. He has a solid left hand and is a good power puncher. He has been around a long time and has a good amateur pedigree but it is a fight that has been on my radar for a long time.

“We have a lot of history, so it would be nice if we could finally get this fight on. Let’s just both get in the ring and settle it once and for all. I have to respect his power but I feel I have too much for Juergen Braehmer.

Cleverly continued, “Yes, there will be question marks because I won’t have the momentum like I did a few years back, but I believe I am more mature mentally and physically. I believe that my speed and combinations will overcome Braehmer.”

Braehmer versus Cleverly is mooted for September 5. Cleverly has not fought at light heavyweight since Sergey Kovalev savagely relieved him of his title in August 2013.

His return to action is part of a massive night of action at The O2, topped by three world title fights. Sheffield’s Kell Brook defends his IBF welterweight title against Birmingham’s Frankie Gavin, Londoner Kevin Mitchell challenges Jorge Linares for the WBC lightweight belt and Welsh stylist Lee Selby attempts to take the IBF featherweight crown from Evgeny Gradovich.

Information courtesy of a press release

Limited tickets remain on sale for the bumper night of boxing at The O2 priced at £40 and £60 from and on 0844 856 0202.

Tom Gray is a member of the British Boxing Writers’ Association and has contributed to various publications. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing