Harry Pratt

Nathan Cleverly’s cruiserweight debut KO’d by injury

The comeback of former light heavyweight titleholder Nathan Cleverly, scheduled for this Saturday at the Copper Box Arena, London, England, is off after the Welshman suffered a back injury.

In what would have been his debut outing as a cruiserweight, Cleverly (26-1, 12 knockouts) was to face Australian Daniel Ammann for the vacant Commonwealth title, as part of the show featuring English heavyweight Dereck Chisora against Ondrej Pala. But the back problem, picked up in training last week, has scuppered that anticipated return to the ring.

The news completes an altogether miserable 2013 for Cleverly, who has not fought since August when the sixth defense of his WBO light heavyweight title ended in a disastrous 4th-round TKO by Russian Sergey Kovalev.

That crushing career-first defeat even had the British star, dropped twice in the third, contemplating retirement before he later announced he would be stepping up to 200 pounds. Now, though, Cleverly accepts the only option is to forget a horror 12 months, get himself right and start all over in the New Year.

“It’s a bitter blow as training had been going so well and I was looking forward to making my debut at cruiserweight,” said the 26-year-old from Cefn Fforest. “For it to only happen a week before the fight is even more devastating. I just want to get this year out of the way and enter 2014 with a clean slate and put my career back on track.”

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