Harry Pratt

Nathan Cleverly makes belated cruiserweight debut next month

Former light heavyweight titleholder Nathan Cleverly will make his much-delayed cruiserweight debut on May 17 when he faces Guyana journeyman Sean Corbin at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales.

The 27-year-old Welshman has not fought since losing his 175-pound WBO belt — and unbeaten record — in August last year after being stopped in four brutal rounds by Russian star Sergey Kovalev.

That humiliating reverse, in front of his own fans, left Cleverly, from Cefn Fforest, seriously considering retirement before he later decided to step up a division. But a first cruiserweight outing had to be aborted in November because of injury and it was the same story for a planned February bout against llunga Makubu.

Now, though, Cleverly (26-1, 12 knockouts), having recently swapped long-time promoter Frank Warren for Matchroom rival Eddie Hearn, appears fit and primed to finally relaunch his career, with a non-title bout against 39-year-old Trinidad and Tobago resident Corbin (17-4, 12 KOs).

Hearn, who is promoting next month’s action in the Welsh capital, admits he is excited at the prospect of Cleverly being back in the ring following a six-month break and is looking for him to make an immediate impression on the division with an impressive performance.

“I can't wait to see Nathan back in action at cruiserweight,” Hearn said Tuesday.“Corbin has only been beaten when he has stepped up to top level – and will come into the fight with plenty of size and ambition. Nathan must win, and look good in doing so with so many huge fights just around the corner.”

Cleverly-Corbin is part of a bill that features Lee Selby’s official WBC featherweight title eliminator against Romulu Koasicha. Also on the card is a rematch between Welsh lightweights Gary Buckland and Gavin Rees, while rising English super middleweight Callum Smith defends his WBC international strap against Tobias Webb, of Swansea.


Harry Pratt is on Twitter: @gharrypratt

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