World champion Cleverly won't join Warren exodus despite frustrating year
10:22 GMT, 21 September 2012
Nathan Cleverly has declared his loyalty to Frank Warren and trusts his promoter will deliver him a ‘mega fight’ in 2013.
European super-middleweight champion James DeGale this week joined Hennessy Sports after leaving Warren’s stable, while Commonwealth light-heavyweight king Tony Bellew split acrimoniously from the veteran promoter in May.
However, Cleverly, who hold the WBO portion of the world light-heavyweight title, insists he will not be following them, despite a frustrating year in which his hopes for a unification fight have not materialised.
Staying put: Nathan Cleverly (centre) remains loyal to Frank Warren (right)
‘It has been annoying not getting the big names,’ said Cleverly, who defends his title against Vyacheslav Uzelkov on October 27 in Cardiff.
He told Sportsmail: ‘Frank has worked really hard for me, trying to make fights with Beibut Shumenov and Bernard Hopkins. With Shumenov, he didn’t want to come to the UK but couldn’t get a TV deal in the States and with Hopkins we actually had a verbal agreement, despite what he says about not being interested in a fight.
‘A lot has been going on, but it has fallen through for no fault of our own. That is frustrating and I can sense the fans getting inpatient for me to fight a big name, and I want to fight the big names, but I feel this year has been the calm before the storm in some ways because when that big, mega fight comes in 2013 there will be a succession of them. It is a case of getting through these early days as a world champion before the superfights.
Reigning champion: Cleverly defends his world title in Wales on October 27
‘Frank and I have spoken about it and he feels next year will be a big year for me.’
Cleverly added: ‘There has never been any doubt about me staying with Frank. He’s the best in the business. I have been very loyal to Frank since I turned professional and I have been under his promotional banner for years.
‘He has been good, given me tough fights, built me up. I owe him a lot. He took me to a world title very quickly. For me, he’s been great. I have stayed loyal to him since day one and he has stayed loyal to me. It is a good working relationship.
‘I think some fighters can get ahead of themselves and think they are superstars before they actually are.’