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Snubbed Cleverley


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DISAPPOINTMENT is not a word often associated with Commonwealth and British champion Nathan Cleverly’s undefeated career.


But, after missing out on the prestigious Boxing Writers’ Club award for Britain’s young boxer of the year by a single vote, that was exactly the feeling Welsh boxing’s leading light was left with.


In the closest ballot in the award’s 57-year history, Cleverly was pipped at the post by British welterweight champion Kell Brook.


Unsurprisingly, having won both the Commonwealth and British crowns in emphatic style, the Cefn Fforest fighter admitted he couldn’t help but feel hard done by. But the 22-year-old insisted the disappointment wouldn’t last long.


And, as he prepares to defend his belts against the experienced Courtney Fry on Friday, Cleverly is keen to start proving all those that voted against him wrong.


“The most important thing is that I keep winning in the ring,” he declared. “The awards are out of my hands so I just focus on the things I can control.


“I had done everything I could to win it but, when you rely on other people, things can go wrong. In the ring it’s purely down to me and I’m happy with that.


“If I can get where I want to be, winning a world title, missing out won’t really matter.


“I’m sure plenty of awards will follow if I can achieve my dreams.


“A little loss like that doesn’t do you any harm either. It keeps my feet on the ground and makes sure the success doesn’t go to my head.


“I will just aim for more in the future. There are more important things for me to win over the next 12 months.


“I was a bit disappointed to miss out on the award. I thought I’d had a great year, winning the Commonwealth and British belts and beating my two closest rivals.


“I thought that would be enough but obviously it wasn’t. It’s just one of those things and, fair play to Kell, he has had a good year and won the British belt outright.”


While the ultimate goal is a world title shot, Cleverly’s first aim over the next year is to emulate Brook’s success and win his own British belt outright.


To do that he needs to successfully defend it three times and it all starts with 34-year-old Fry at Bethnall Green’s York Hall next week.


Careful to avoid any hint of complacency, the former Team Calzaghe member was quick to pay tribute to his experienced opponent.


But, as has been the case in his last three fights, he is confident his superior power will eventually lead to a stoppage.


“Fry is a good boxer with an impressive amateur pedigree so I think it will be a good fight early on,” he said.


“But, as the rounds go on, I expect my power to show and I’m looking for another stoppage.


“My training is going really well, I’m injury free, feeling fit and looking forward to it.


“Mentally, because I don’t have any exams or revision to worry about this time, I’m 100 % focused on the fight as well.


“That’s a pretty nice feeling and hopefully that will give me an extra 10 per cent on the night.


“I’m looking to put in another big performance and get on my way to winning the Lonsdale belt outright.”

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It would have been a very tough call to pick between Nathan & Kell I personally would pick Kell but I 'm equally impressed with nathan & think both can go on to challenge for world titles Along with Darren Barker & Matthew Macklin British boxing is in a strong position
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