Nathan Cleverly is confident that he can fill the void in Welsh boxing left by the retirement of Joe Calzaghe.
Cleverly, the reigning Commonwealth Light Heavyweight Champ, will look to add the British title to his resume when he clashes with Danny McIntosh in London next month.
The two unbeaten fighters will put their perfect records on the line at the York Hall, Bethnal Green in the main event on July 18th with the Hennessy Sports promotion live on ITV4.
Cleverly is confident that he can follow in Calzaghe’s footsteps by winning a British title en route to World honours.
“There’s a lot of people talking about me lifting that mantle off Joe Calzaghe and becoming the next big thing from Wales,” said Cleverly. “That’s a pressure I’m happy to take on and I’m thriving under it. I think it will bring out the best in me and I just have to make sure I do the work and keep on winning which I will do.”
The 22-year-old from Cefn Forest says he has studied McIntosh and knows what to expect on July 18th.
“I respect what he’s done, he’s an undefeated guy so he obviously doesn’t know how to lose yet. That’s what makes this fight interesting, we’re both undefeated so somebody’s record is going to be damaged.”
Cleverly though is adamant that it will be McIntosh’s unbeaten record coming to an end and not his. “I’m very confident,” revealed Cleverly. “He’s a respectable boxer but I think I’m in a different league to him to be honest.
"No way am I phased by Danny McIntosh, I’ve sparred bigger and better guys than him and I think it’s a matter of going into the York Hall on July 18th and doing what I do best, remaining unbeaten and bringing the British title away.”
Cleverly splits his time between the boxing gym and the lecture theatre as a Mathematics undergraduate at Cardiff University but he says that the build up to the McIntosh fight has been a maths free zone.
“For this fight with McIntosh, university won’t be on my mind because of the summer break so I’m going in fresh and 100% focused on this fight. I’ve got one more year to go, that’s my final year and then I graduate.
“It’s not easy, especially around exam time if I have a big fight coming up. In my last fight in particular against Billy Boyle I had exams before the fight, then I had the fight itself and I had two more exams straight after the fight so it was a tricky time but I think I showed in my performance that nothing really phases me. I just had to go into the ring, act professionally and box to the best of my ability.”
Cleverly is currently enjoying a three fight KO streak that has seen him win all his Commonwealth title defences inside the distance and he’s confident of extending that run against McIntosh.
“Every fight seems to be getting better for me in terms of knocking people out and if I can take McIntosh out then that will be the icing on the cake for me.”
An action packed undercard at the York Hall features former British and European Lightweight Champ Jon Thaxton, unbeaten Heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury, Ireland’s European Union Lightweight Champion, Andy Murray and contests featuring hot prospects Steve O’Meara, Dwayne Lewis, Lee Purdy, Del Rogers and Bobby Ward.
Tickets priced at £35 (Unreserved) and £70 (Ringside) are available from the Ticketline box office on 0844 888 4402 or via www.ticketline.co.uk.