Nathan Cleverly: I don’t want to be hanging around for unification fights
WORLD champion Nathan Cleverly says that he doesn’t have too many years left in boxing to achieve his goal of unifying the light-heavyweight division.
The Cefn Fforest star defends his WBO title against mandatory challenger Robin Krasniqi at Wembley Arena on Saturday, March 16.
And, while he feels his best years are still ahead of him, Cleverly does not intend to fight beyond his early 30s.
“It’s surprising how fast time goes,” he said.
“I’m 26 already, I’ve been a professional for six or seven years now and it flies by.
“It just goes to show you’ve got to make the most of your career while it lasts.
“I’m pleased with what I’ve achieved so far but there’s a lot more I still want to do.
“I don’t want a long career,” he added. “I want to achieve my goal to unify the division and earn enough money to retire with my health.
“Boxing is a great sport but it’s not a sport you want to hang around in taking too many punches. I want to get out as soon as I can .
“There are a lot of boxers who fight on for far too long and there’s a lot of damage that can be done taking punches to the brain. It’s a brutal sport.
“Once you’re past your prime there’s only one way your career is going to go and that’s down.
“But I’ve got another couple of years yet before I reach my prime and I want to make the most of it and get those big unification fights.”
German-based Krasniqi is a tough opponent having won his last 38 fights, the last four by knockout, but Cleverly is confident of victory.
“This guy is a good fighter,” he said. “He’s going to be very confident but I’ve got to take that confidence away from him in the fight.
“I want to make a statement. I want to keep winning and keep progressing towards the big fights I want and he’s an obstacle in my way. I’ve got to beat this guy.
“We’re getting towards the business end of training now and I’m getting that buzz.
“I’m looking forward to fight night now.”
Cleverly shares top billing with fellow British world champion Ricky Burns, who takes on Miguel Vazquez in a lightweight unification bout.