Tag Archives: motorpoint

Anthony Ogogo won his first professional fight

Olympic star Ogogo throws knockout blow in second round of professional debut

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

20:56 GMT, 27 April 2013

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UPDATED:

00:42 GMT, 28 April 2013

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Anthony Ogogo entered the ring to the wise words of Winston Churchill but was never forced to revert to the trenches as he started his professional career in blistering style.

The 24-year-old was the second member of Team GB to make his debut in the paid ranks having signed with American promoters Golden Boy last year.

And the middleweight made short work of his opponent Kieron Gray, stopping him in the second round after a straight right landed flush on the chin.

Jumping for joy: Anthony Ogogo celebrates knocking out Kieron Gray inside two rounds

Jumping for joy: Anthony Ogogo celebrates knocking out Kieron Gray inside two rounds

Ogogo won a bronze medal last summer
having given serious consideration to pulling out following shoulder
surgery and his mother's life-threatening illness.

Gray, 35, won his first five contests
as a professional but had lost his previous 14 as he settled into a
career as a journeyman.

Ogogo on the other hand can expect to
grace more iconic venues than Sheffield's Motorpoint Arena and will make
a quick turnaround on the undercard of Lee Purdy's challenge for Devon
Alexander's world welterweight title in Atlantic City on May 18.

Competent start: Ogogo uses his jab to good effect in the opening round against Gray

Competent start: Ogogo uses his jab to good effect in the opening round against Gray

Cameos in Las Vegas also await but the Lowestoft man had to first take care of the durable Gray.

Making his way from his dressing room
to the sound of Churchill's 'We shall fight on the beaches' speech from
1940, Ogogo's white shorts were trimmed with bronze in a nod to his
achievements in London.

Having already been hailed as a
potential cross-over star after a brief appearance on celebrity show
Splash and a regular slot as the face of Subway sandwiches, Ogogo was
given a rapturous reception by the Sheffield crowd.

And he was switched on from the first bell as he made a fast start, landing with a jab and right hook in the opening seconds.

Ended: Ogogo turns away after throwing the punch that sealed his debut victory

Ended: Ogogo turns away after throwing the punch that sealed his debut victory

Gray was content to box on the back foot in the face of fast hands from his younger opponent.

Despite his dominance, even Ogogo will have been surprised to have put Gray to the sword as comprehensively as he did.

The Shropshire man had only been
stopped twice previously but was sent crashing to the canvas after two
minutes of the second session before the contest was waved off by the
referee.

'That was great fun,' Ogogo said. 'The atmosphere was brilliant and I can't wait to get back out there. I love boxing!

'I'm not going to get carried away as I'm a million miles away from the top, but that was a statement of intent.'

Amir Khan hopes to "laugh in Kell Brook"s face" by proving he has more fans in Sheffield

Khan hopes to 'laugh in Kell Brook's face' by proving he has more fans than his rival does in his home town of Sheffield

By
Declan Warrington

PUBLISHED:

00:49 GMT, 6 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

02:11 GMT, 6 March 2013

Amir Khan has revealed he cannot wait to fight in Sheffield – because he wants to ‘laugh in Kell Brook’s face’ about having more fans than Brook does in his home town.

The former world champion is to fight Mexican Julio Diaz in Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena on April 27 at a catchweight of 143lbs, and though he is adamant he will return to 140lbs to avenge defeats against Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia, he couldn’t resist a dig at welterweight Brook, his long-time rival.

'We’ll show him how we sell tickets,' said Khan, whose fight against Diaz is his first in the UK for two years.

Last laugh: Amir Khan believes he will sell out the Motorpoint Arena because he has more Sheffield-based fans than Kell Brook

Last laugh: Amir Khan believes he will sell out the Motorpoint Arena because he has more Sheffield-based fans than Kell Brook

'It’ll show that I probably have more
fans than him in his home town. That’s a laugh in his face, really. But I
don’t think about fighting him yet – he has to prove himself.'

Brook is to fight Devon Alexander for the IBF welterweight title in May and, if victorious, interest in a fight between he and Khan is certain to grow, something the latter says he will welcome once he has achieved his ambitions as a light welterweight and moved up to the 147lb division.

'I have nothing against Kell Brook,' says Khan. 'I don't care about him or think about him. He has to prove himself. At the moment he's not on my radar or anything.

'Spectacular': Julio Diaz was impressed with Khan's performance against Carlos Molina

'Spectacular': Julio Diaz was impressed with Khan's performance against Carlos Molina

'If I move up to 147 then definitely I would fight him, but it's six to nine months before I do move up. When I do, I'm not someone who says no and I would take that fight.

'I still want to fight at 140 and win titles at that weight and then move up to 147 as a world champion.

'There are still two fights out there at 140 against Petersen and Garcia – they are fights I want and that are there for me, so I don't see why I should move up.'

Battle of Britain Interest in Kell Brook fighting Amir Khan continues to grow

Battle of Britain Interest in Kell Brook fighting Amir Khan continues to grow

Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley were among those mentioned as potential opponents for Khan, with Peterson and Vyacheslav Senchenko, who retired Ricky Hatton in November, understood to have rejected official offers to fight him. As a consequence Diaz has been viewed as an underwhelming opponent, but he is one Khan is adamant will not be easy.

'We got the fight I wanted,' he said. 'Not many would take this fight on so I have a lot of respect for Diaz for taking it.

'People will turn us down because they know this is a tough fight, even though last year wasn't our best. We tried with some and it didn't happen, which is why I left England for a training camp without doing any press as I didn't have a secure opponent.'

Back on form: Khan followed two straight losses with a 10th-round stoppage of Molina

Back on form: Khan followed two straight losses with a 10th-round stoppage of Molina

For Diaz, the next fight represents the biggest of his career after his last was a draw against Shawn Porter on the undercard of Khan's 10th-round stoppage victory over Carlos Molina, the 2004 Olympian's first with trainer Virgil Hunter, and one in which the Mexican felt Khan simply could not be criticised.

'I have to say he was spectacular,' Diaz said. 'He looked a whole different fighter. Virgil has done a very good job with him, but I have a very good team and, when I get in the ring in Sheffield, it will be a very proud moment.

'Amir has been a superstar since he started and has been treated like one. I’ve struggled to get attention by winning performances and knockouts, but it’s just made me work harder.'

Tickets for Amir Khan vs. Julio Diaz can be purchased from www.motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk or by calling 0114 256 5656.

Nathan Cleverly faces Vyacheslav Uzelkov in Cardiff

Cleverly faces Uzelkov after Hopkins, Shumenov, Froch AND Bellew miss out

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UPDATED:

12:52 GMT, 3 September 2012

Nathan Cleverly will make the fourth defence of his WBO light-heavyweight title against Ukrainian Vyacheslav Uzelkov at Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena on October 27.

The Welshman has been out of action since a unanimous points decision over American Tommy Karpency in February.

Cleverly, 25, faces Uzelkov after fights with Bernard Hopkins, Beibut Shumenov, Carl Froch and Tony Bellew all failed to materialise.

Back in action: Nathan Cleverly returns to the ring for the first time since February

Back in action: Nathan Cleverly returns to the ring for the first time since February

Vyacheslav is currently ranked No 9 by the WBO, four by the WBA and seven by the IBF.

As a professional he has amassed a record of 27 wins from 29 fights with 16 stoppages – ten going inside the first three rounds – and is the current WBO Intercontinental champion.

He challenged current WBA world champion Shumenov for his title in July 2010, flooring him in the second round, although Shumenov recovered to win on points.

As a standout amateur he faced David Haye at the 2001 World Championships in Belfast, taking the future world heavyweight champion the distance in the semi-final to lose on points.

Cleverly is looking to put on sparkling performance against Uzelkov to make up for lost time after he had to withdraw from a title defence against Robert Krasniqi in April because of illness.

No go: Bernard Hopkins (left) turned down the chance to fight Cleverly

No go: Bernard Hopkins (left) turned down the chance to fight Cleverly

He said: 'I had a brilliant reception at the Motorpoint Arena in February which was my first fight in Wales for over four years and the fans came out to support me so it’s great to return again for another big fight night in the capital.

'Uzelkov’s ranked in the top ten of three of the major governing bodies and has already mixed it with Shumenov for the world title so I know he’ll be a hard defence for me. I’ve seen some of his fights already and he looks strong and come forward which will be perfect for me.

'Every defence of my title is vital as I build towards a unification fight so I can’t afford to slip up against Uzelkov.'

Promoter Frank Warren had originally agreed terms with Golden Boy Promotions for Bernard Hopkins to face Cleverly, but the American later withdrew and is unlikely to fight again this year.

Champ: Cleverly defends his WBO world title for the fourth time next month

Champ: Cleverly defends his WBO world title for the fourth time next month

Warren also offered the fight to Shumenov to put his WBA title on the line against Cleverly's WBO belt in a unification contest in Las Vegas, but his team could not get a TV date until next year. A further offer was made for Shumenov to come to the UK which he declined.

A huge purse was also put to IBF super-middleweight champion Froch to move up a weight division which he turned down, as did Bellew who rejected the offer of a rematch. The British champion fights Edison Miranda at London's Alexandra Palace on Saturday.

Warren said: 'It’s proved frustrating as we had Hopkins lined up and then he pulled out and Shumenov didn’t want to come over here to fight Cleverly, plus Froch and Bellew didn’t want to know.

'While we look to make these fights Cleverly has got to keep busy as he hasn’t fought since February and Ulezkov is a tough title defence for him.'

Kell Brook survives Carson Jones scare with brave points win in Sheffield

Brook survives Jones scare with brave points win in Sheffield

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UPDATED:

21:49 GMT, 7 July 2012

Kell Brook survived the first crisis
of his career in Sheffield to cling on to his unbeaten record and take
another step toward a world title shot.

Once again looking to impress in his
hometown at the Motorpoint Arena, Brook was also under pressure to
deliver against a dangerous but low-profile opponent in American Carson
Jones.

Both men knew the winner of this IBF
welterweight eliminator would move to within one win of a challenge for
the world crown and it was Brook who managed it, finishing the 12 rounds
bloodied and tired, but ultimately victorious with a majority decision
win as one judge had it a draw and the other two ruled 116-113 and
115-113 in his favour.

Leading light: Kell Brook takes the initiative

Leading light: Kell Brook takes the initiative

Brook, 26, came into the fight largely expected to extend his perfect 27-0 (18KOs) record against a man who has suffered eight defeats over the years.

Yet Jones (34-8-2, 24KO wins, 8KO losses) boasted a higher IBF ranking – third, compared to Brook in fifth – and had won his last eight all by stoppage.

Brook boxed nicely off the back foot early on, testing the water with occasional right hands.

Winning smile: Kell Brook celebrates victory

Winning smile: Kell Brook celebrates victory

Brook was boxing beautifully and a double left-right combination in the third, followed by an overhand right, were classy.

A Jones uppercut on the ropes quickly dissuaded him, however. Brook switched to southpaw in Jones' corner in the fifth and landed a nice right uppercut on the ropes, before stepping things up with two superb right hands.

Jones looked troubled for the first time as the crowd got to their feet, but still the local man remained patient as Jones saw out the round. Brook got a taste of Jones' reputed power in the sixth.

After having the American in bother with three left-right combinations, he allowed his man back into it as Jones threw shots back before landing an excellent right as Brook stepped back and followed it with some steady work to the body.

The man nicknamed 'Special K' was taking more shots than in the first five rounds and looked untidy in the seventh round.

Jones badly bloodied Brook's nose in the eighth with what appeared to be a short right and Brook faced the biggest crisis of his largely comfortable career.

Tough fight: Both Kell Brook (right) and Carson Jones took some heavy shots

Tough fight: Both Kell Brook (right) and Carson Jones took some heavy shots

A right hand-left uppercut was nice work by Brook, but a right from Jones seconds later thudded home.

The action swung the other way as the round ended with Brook landing a sublime right uppercut and left hook.

Blood was streaming down Brook's face as he tried to stay out of harm's way and he was grateful for the bell to end the ninth.

Both men landed lefts and Brook roared forward to have the fans on their feet again.

Jones hurt Brook with an uppercut in reply, and if anything he looked the more dangerous of the two as he won the 10th.

Brook looked ragged, landing a good right to the top of the head but being caught on the way out.

In the 12th round Brook sucked up a hard right to the side of the head and fired back while Jones kept coming forwards and landed a series of spiteful close-range shots.

Brook saw the final bell, though, and after a few anxious moments the win was his, with Manfred Kuechler judging it a draw but his colleagues Steve Gray and Paul Barry favouring Brook.

Kell Brook prepares to face Carson Jones

I can be a superstar! Brook targets world domination after taking care of Jones

|

UPDATED:

15:01 GMT, 6 July 2012

Kell Brook believes he is on the verge of becoming British boxing's next superstar as he edges towards world title glory.

The unbeaten Sheffield welterweight has seen his profile soar in the last year as his slick and powerful fighting style has captured the public's imagination.

The 26-year-old is biding his time for a title shot as he works his way into a mandatory challenger position and he can move a step closer with victory over dangerous American Carson Jones at Sheffield's Motorpoint Arena on Saturday night.

Looking sharp: Kell Brook during the weigh in at the Winter Garden

Looking sharp: Kell Brook during the weigh in at the Winter Garden

The two meet in an eliminator for the IBF title with the winner moving to within one final step of a crack at the belt. Brook knows an impressive win against Oklahoma native Jones will give his reputation across the Atlantic a real boost too.

'The Americans are starting to hear about me now and so I want to be making a statement in this fight and taking care of Carson in style,' he said.

'They are talking about me along with their elite fighters over there and saying “this English kid, he's a force to be reckoned with”.

'It's looking like I could be British boxing's next superstar. Sky love me and it's all there for me.

Fighting fit: Carson Jones looks ready to go during the weigh in

Fighting fit: Carson Jones looks ready to go during the weigh in

'It's up to me to get that title and do Britain proud, to go over there to other people's backyards and really take them by storm.'

Jones is perceived in Britain as another stepping stone towards Brook's world title shot but the heavy-handed Oklahoma man is ranked higher by the IBF and has just as much reason for optimism.

Whereas Brook has won all of his 27 fights, Jones' record is far from unblemished.

The American suffered eight defeats earlier in his career but after coming up the hard way, has won his last eight by stoppage.

And while Brook dislikes the 25-year-old, he respects his fistic achievements.

'This is a chance to earn even more recognition by beating a guy who is well respected even if he isn't well known over here,' he said.

'He's been sparring with top fighters, he's had the training, he's turned his career around.

'He's above me in the ratings and we know he is probably going to be my toughest fight to date.'

Head on: Brook and Jones square up after the weigh in

Head on: Brook and Jones square up after the weigh in

Brook is fifth in the IBF ratings while Jones is third. The winner at the Motorpoint Arena on Saturday will then square off with number four Hector Saldivia for the right to challenge for the title, recently won by Randall Bailey.

Jones insists his defeats will actually prove to be the making of him in the long run.

He said: 'I've come through the hard way and I know the ins and outs and what it takes. I know I'm getting in his head and I think that has something to do with his maturity levels.

Fighting talk: Brook and Jones trash talk ahead of the bout in Sheffield

Fighting talk: Brook and Jones trash talk ahead of the bout in Sheffield

'I'm a better fighter because of the hard times. You learn more from losses than you do from wins. He's been hand-fed all of his opponents while I've had to come through the hard way. As a result, I've learned a lot and am a better fighter and a better man for that.'

At the weigh-in at the Winter Garden in Sheffield, Brook came in at 10 stone 6 lbs 10 ounces while Jones registered 10st 6lb 6oz.

A stellar undercard sees Welsh success story Kerry Hope defend his European middleweight title against the man he won it from, Poland's Grzegorz Proksa, and countryman Gavin Rees puts his European lightweight belt on the line against Derry Mathews.

Former Olympian Kal Yafai makes his professional debut at bantamweight against Delroy Spencer.

VIDEO: It's going to be one Kell of a fight

Kell Brook confident of beatnig Matthew Hatton

Brook promises explosive fight as Britain's next star gears up for Hatton war

PUBLISHED:

11:25 GMT, 17 March 2012

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UPDATED:

11:25 GMT, 17 March 2012

Kell Brook has vowed to thrive on the pressure of topping the bill in front of 10,000 fans when he fights Matthew Hatton in his home city of Sheffield tonight.

The unbeaten Yorkshireman takes on Manchester veteran Hatton in an intriguing welterweight battle at the Steel City's Motorpoint Arena.

Brook admits he is taking a risk by facing such a dangerous opponent when he is so close to a world title opportunity, having revealed he took a fight with Hatton rather than push on with negotiations for a shot at one of the major belts.

War of the Roses: Kell Brook (right) and Matthew Hatton face off at the weigh-in

War of the Roses: Kell Brook (right) and Matthew Hatton face off at the weigh-in

However, the 25-year-old insists it is a risk worth taking should he deliver on his promise to 'smash' Hatton and make a statement against a fighter respected across the world.

Brook, who has attracted a crowd of nearly 10,000 to his hometown venue, said: 'There's pressure on me now because of all the tickets I've sold and the profile of the fight.

'But I thrive on that pressure. It's going to be a proper fight that lives up to the hype and the expectation levels.

'They've called it 'War of the Roses' and, believe you me, we're going to get in there and have one hell of a fight.

'When all's said and done you're going to see an explosive fight.

War of the Roses: Kell Brook (right) and Matthew Hatton face off at the weigh-in

War of the Roses: Kell Brook (right) and Matthew Hatton face off at the weigh-in

'It's a risk because we didn't need to take this fight but I wanted it. It's captured the public's imagination, it's been on the horizon for years and we've finally got it on.'

Brook (26-0, 18KOs) added: 'We've sold around 10,000 tickets for this and you start wondering how much demand there would be to see a world title fight in Sheffield.'

Brook will start as the heavy favourite with bookmakers pricing Hatton as generously as 6-1. Hatton (42-5-2, 16KOs) has concealed any irritation at being regarded as such a glaring underdog.

'All the pressure is on Kell, going into this fight,' he said. 'He's the man fighting at home, he's the favourite to win, and he puts even more pressure on himself by making comments like he's been making, about 'smashing me' et cetera.

On the rise: Brook is seen by many as Britain's next world champion

On the rise: Brook is seen by many as Britain's next world champion

'There's no pressure on me. Talk is cheap, and I'll do my talking on Saturday night. He's been making a lot of big noises and he's got to back it up now.

'I don't dislike Kell Brook. He's just in the way of what I want to achieve in the sport in order to provide myself and my family with a better life.

'He'll just be brushed aside on Saturday night. It's not personal.'

On the undercard in South Yorkshire, exciting super-bantamweight prospect Carl Frampton, from Belfast, defends his Commonwealth crown against Prosper Ankrah, while Surrey-based Pole Grzegorz Proksa defends his European middleweight title against Wales' Kerry Hope.

Nathan Cleverly interview: Welshman fighting to restore British boxing"s reputation

EXCLUSIVE: Saving grace: Cleverly fighting to repair British boxing's battered reputation

Shameful, disgraceful and disgusting were just some of the words used to describe the brawl between Dereck Chisora and David Haye last Sunday morning.

The two British heavyweights showed a flagrant disregard for a noble sport built on respect and discipline when their war of words escalated into an embarrassing punch-up.

But on Saturday, Nathan Cleverly, one of only two world champions from these shores, can begin the arduous task of dragging British boxing from the gutter.

All grown up: Nathan Cleverly is ready to take on Tommy Karpency to defend his light-heavyweight crown

All grown up: Nathan Cleverly is ready to take on Tommy Karpency to defend his light-heavyweight crown

The 25-year-old from South Wales faces the unheralded American Tommy Karpency in the third defence of his WBO light-heavyweight title at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena.

Cleverly’s long-awaited homecoming is part of a mouthwatering triple header for Welsh sport with Twickenham hosting the Six Nations clash with England before Cardiff travel to Wembley to take on Liverpool in the Carling Cup final on Sunday.

Wedged in between, Cleverly will hope to defend his belt in style as he eyes a summer showdown with American legend Bernard Hopkins at the Cardiff City Stadium.

And, at a time when many are questioning boxing’s place in society, the Welshman’s story epitomises the positive influence it can have.

Growing up: A young Nathan Cleverly

Graduating in style: Nathan Cleverly at his graduation

Graduating in style: Cleverly in his younger years and at his university graduation

‘As a young child, for some reason I enjoyed fighting,’ the world champion admits. ‘I enjoyed the buzz of being competitive and if I thought there was some guy who was a bit of a bully, I always liked to challenge myself against him and bring him down. It was a mix of competitiveness, aggression and wanting to stand up for myself.

‘The fights were mostly on street corners or in the nearest field with a big crowd of people. It was very raw and it sums up my background and the area I was brought up in. There were no facilities and not much going on, it was very rough.

‘The majority of boxers come from a background where they haven’t had everything put on a plate. They’ve had a tough upbringing and are often insecure people. I thought boxing was a good way to battle my demons.

Fighting fit: Cleverly weighed in at 12st 6lb

Fighting fit: Cleverly weighed in at 12st 6lb

‘I was named called quite a bit because I had big ears. I was never bullied physically because I had the strength and mentality to fight my way out of it. It added to my insecurities but you can either cave under the bullies or come out fighting and obviously I came out fighting. It does make you stronger.’

/02/24/article-2106091-11E13F7F000005DC-985_634x453.jpg” width=”634″ height=”453″ alt=”Flying the flag for Wales: Rugby captain Sam Warburton will be hoping to beat England while Cleverly defends his light heavyweight title and Cardiff City Captain Mark Hudson will hope to lift the Carling Cup” class=”blkBorder” />

Flying the flag for Wales: Rugby captain Sam Warburton will be hoping to beat England while Cleverly defends his light heavyweight title and Cardiff City Captain Mark Hudson will hope to lift the Carling Cup

‘The gym was a controlled and monitored environment. If you keep channelling your aggression on the street, you’ll end up in trouble.’

But while Cleverly found respite in the ring, some of his peers took a different path altogether.

‘There are numerous people I grew up with who ended up in prison,’ he admits. ‘They got into trouble and ended up paying the consequences. Part of that was because they had no way of channelling their energy.’

After the brawl in Munich cast a shadow over boxing, Cleverly is keen to extol its positive influence.

‘A lot of the boxing trainers are very hard and cold characters; they’re straight to the point, and strict,’ he adds. ‘That teaches you respect, to listen to commands and to focus. There’s no room for any violence outside the ring, that was always drummed into me from a young age.

Past and present: Nathan Cleverly met former undefeated Welsh fighter Joe Calzaghe and Bradley Pryce

Sparing partners: Nathan Cleverly with Joe Calzage

Meeting his hero: Cleverly with Joe Calzaghe and Bradley Pryce as a youngster and then as sparring partners

‘Personally, boxing has given me a focus and a direction in life. Ultimately its allowed me to earn myself a good living and has provided the foundations for life. It was a platform for my dream to become world champion and I’m grateful to the sport for allowing me to go on and to do that and for making me a mentally strong character, in and out of the ring.’

As well as flourishing with his fists, Cleverly used his new-found mental toughness to excel in the classroom.

‘Everything I did I wanted to be good at. I loved challenging myself and it was the same with school work and exams. I had a lot of respect for my education because it sets you up for life and I combined that with my boxing and pushed as hard as I could with both of them.

Keeping fit: Cleverly was into boxing and keeping in shape from a young age

Keeping fit: Cleverly was into boxing and keeping in shape from a young age

‘Boxing helps make you a more disciplined person because it requires a high level of concentration and that rubbed off on my school work. That benefited my education and I made the most of the opportunities I had in school.’

Having turned professional aged 18, Cleverly enrolled at Cardiff University in 2006 to study maths. Within two years, he had beaten Tony Oakey over 12 rounds to lift the vacant Commonwealth title which he went on to defend five times.

Courtney Fry was stopped inside eight at London’s York Hall as Cleverly added the British belt to his collection and the European title followed in 2010 just months before he graduated with a 2:2.

But juggling fractions with fighting brought its own problems.

Showing promise: Nathan Cleverly

Made it: Nathan Cleverly poses with his belts

Fulfilling his potential: Cleverly shows an early interest in boxing (left) and poses with his belts years later

‘It was the first time I had lived on my own,’ he recalls. ‘I had to try and concentrate on my diet, which was difficult, but I learned to be independent and to take care of myself.

‘I lived with four mates in my second year, which was crazy. We were all studying for good degrees but we liked to party. That was a really challenging year and I had to step it up because my workload was increasing, my fights were getting slightly harder and my social life was heavy.

‘I was always fit for my fights, but there were some I wasn’t 100 per cent for. I was going to bed at three or four in the morning after a long revision session and that affected my sleep pattern and my diet.

‘I did have a fear of losing. If my preparations were not right, doubts would creep in but I always found a way to pull out a victory.

Face off: Cleverly and Tommy Karpency go head to head at the weigh-in

Face off: Cleverly and Tommy Karpency go head to head at the weigh-in

‘At times I thought either university or boxing had to go but I just dug deep and worked hard. I do look back and wonder how I did it but it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.’

Which gave him the bigger rush, graduating, or winning a bout

‘Graduating from university was special for me. I was always wondering if the day was ever going to come and when it finally did it was such a relief. I felt a sense of pride that I’d come through but my biggest buzz comes from winning in the boxing ring. When my hand is raised and I’m announced as the winner, it’s incredible.’

Months after completing his education, Cleverly earned the interim WBO title with a hard-fought win over Frenchman Nadjib Mohammedi in Liverpool.

Full champion Jrgen Braehmer was the next target but the German pulled out of the proposed fight last May. Cleverly was awarded the WBO title and successfully defended it against Aleksy Kuziemski, a late replacement for Braehmer, before winning a majority decision over Tony Bellew in October.

On Saturday, Cleverly will aim to continue on his upward trajectory and restore a little faith in a sport that has given him so much.

‘Boxing is commonly associated with thuggery,’ he concludes. ‘But my case proves you can break the mould.’

Nathan Cleverly weighs in for Tommy Karpency bout

Cleverly weighs in for Karpency bout but has eyes on Hopkins prize


Toe-to-toe: Nathan Cleverly (right) and Tommy Karpency face off

Toe-to-toe: Nathan Cleverly (right) and Tommy Karpency face off

Nathan Cleverly weighed in just under the light-heavyweight limit at 12st 6lb for his WBO title defence against Tommy Karpency on Saturday night.

The Welshman makes his long awaited homecoming at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena in the third defence of his belt.

And the 25-year-old is expected to sweep aside the unheralded Karpency on his way to a potential summer showdown with Bernard Hopkins.

‘That’s all the hard work done so now it’s roll on to fight night and I can’t wait,’ Cleverly said.

‘I’ve trained hard for the fight, my weight was great throughout the training camp and the results will show on the night with a knockout performance.

‘The Motorpoint Arena is going to be jam-packed and it’s going to be an electric atmosphere like the days of Joe Calzaghe’s big fight nights in the city.

‘It’s my first fight here in over four years and the Welsh fans have really come out to support me and it’s set to be a great weekend with the rugby and football going on as well.

Other aims: Cleverly is eyeing up a fight with Bernard Hopkins

Other aims: Cleverly is eyeing up a fight with Bernard Hopkins

‘I’m a winner and a champion and I intend on keeping hold of my belt on Saturday night.’

Cleverly is expected to take to the ring in front of a sell-out crowd in Cardiff and hopes American legend Hopkins is also watching.

‘I was brought up to respect my elders and he’s a legend of the sport so I’ll refer to Bernard as Mr. Hopkins,’ he added.

‘If Mr. Hopkins could stay up a bit later this Saturday, as I guess he retires to bed earlier these days, have a cup of hot cocoa and settles down to watch EPIX then he’ll see his next challenger live on his TV.

But first: He has to beat Hopkins' compatriot Karpency

But first: He has to beat Hopkins' compatriot Karpency

‘I don’t want to give him a nightmare as he’s lost to one Welshman already in my former gym-mate Joe Calzaghe, which is no disgrace as he’s Britain’s greatest ever boxer, but if Joe was the master then Mr. Hopkins must now face the student.

‘He’s got his unfinished business with Dawson to settle first and we’ll see what happens, but I want to fight him.

‘He’s one of the greatest champions in history and has made extraordinary achievements in the sport, but I want to be the best so I’ve got to face the best and that’s Mr. Hopkins.’

Nathan Cleverly meets Sam Warburton and Mark Hudson before Welsh sport"s biggest weekend

Welsh sport's biggest weekend ever Cleverly meets Warburton and Hudson as trio aim for greatness

Boxer Nathan Cleverly met up with Wales' rugby captain Sam Warburton and Cardiff City skipper Mark Hudson before one of the biggest weekends in Welsh sporting history.

Cleverly makes the third defence of his WBO World Light-Heavyweight title against American Tommy Karpency at Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena, while Cardiff face Liverpool in the Carling Cup final, and Wales meet England in the Six Nations at Twickenham on Sunday.

Hensol Park's Vale Hotel hosted media events for all three clashes on Friday, with Warburton and Hudson stopping by Cleverly's press conference.

Welsh hopes: Sam Warburton (left) with Nathan Cleverly (centre) and Mark Hudson (right)

Welsh hopes: Sam Warburton (left) with Nathan Cleverly (centre) and Mark Hudson (right)

Warburton said: 'We are all hoping for a successful weekend in Welsh sport and it is great to have so much silverware at stake in terms of Nathan’s title fight, Cardiff City’s trophy bid and our own pursuit of the Triple Crown against England on Saturday.

'Everyone in the Wales squad would like to wish both Nathan and the Bluebirds the best of luck for the weekend and lets hope the entire nation, whatever the sport, will have reason to celebrate by Monday morning.'

Together: The trio are supporting each other in their separate endeavours

Together: The trio are supporting each other in their separate endeavours

Hudson added: 'Nathan’s a great fighter and I’m sure he’ll defend his title on Saturday so he can make it to our match on Sunday.

'Also good luck to Sam and the lads in their big match.'

Cleverly said: 'It’s a huge huge weekend for Welsh sport and I’m glad that I’m part of it.

Clash: Tommy Karpency (left) is challenging Cleverly for his belt

Clash: Tommy Karpency (left) is challenging Cleverly for his belt

'I’ll be relaxing in the afternoon watching Sam and the boys in the hotel on TV before my big fight and hopefully they’ll do the business.

'I’ve got my title defence against Karpency which is a must win for me, no two-ways about it.

'Then I aim to be at the match the next day watching Mark and my mate Darcy Blake take Cardiff City to win the Carling Cup against Liverpool.”

See Cleverly v Karpency live and exclusive on BoxNation, Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546 from 8pm. Join at www.boxnation.tv

Nathan Cleverly prepared for Tommy Karpency

Cleverly not counting his chickens ahead of Karpency title defence

Nathan Cleverly insists he would be foolish to underestimate Tommy Karpency ahead of his WBO light-heavyweight title defence.

The 24-year-old returns to Wales after a four-year absence when he takes on the unheralded American at Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena on February 25.

And Cleverly knows he will have to be at the top of his game to ensure he remains unbeaten.

Determined: Nathan Cleverly will defend his WBO light-heavyweight title

Determined: Nathan Cleverly will defend his WBO light-heavyweight title

'It's by far the biggest fight of my career. The Cleverly camp was sporting enough to give me a lot of notice
for the fight and I believe I'll be ready to fight 12 hard rounds come February 25th.

Sitting pretty: Cleverly is the heavy favourite to win his homecoming bout

Sitting pretty: Cleverly is the heavy favourite to win his homecoming bout

'The average boxing fan or boxing analyst may have written
me off because I don’t have a big time promoter but I'm sure Nathan Cleverly and his camp haven't written me off and that they’ve
trained as hard as they would for any other fight.

'I believe I can compete and fight against any light-heavyweight in the world. Any athlete believes they can win or else there's no
point in competing.

'You can expect a great action-packed fight. Nathan is having his first defence in front of his home crowd and it's my first opportunity to win a world title. Both of us will be highly prepared, and neither of us will shy away from exchanges. It will be a great light-heavyweight fight.'

Nathan Cleverly v Tommy Karpency is live on BoxNation (Sky channel 456) on Feb 25