Cleverly: I will stand by promoter Frank Warren
WBO LIGHT heavyweight world champion Nathan Cleverly tonight issued a big boost to promoter Frank Warren, telling him: “I’m going nowhere”.
Warren has found himself at the centre of many headlines in the past week with two of his fighters making clear their intention to leave him and join rival promoter Eddie Hearn.
The first was George Groves and while that was described as an amicable split, a court battle is brewing with regards to Ricky Burns.
Matchroom Promotions (Hearn’s company) announced his capture yesterday at a press conference but Warren insists he has a further three fights on his deal with Burns and announced via a press release that he intends to sue him for damages.
It unquestionably leaves unbeaten Cefn Fforest fighter Cleverly as the crown jewel of Warren’s stable – for now at least – and he insists he has no designs on jumping ship.
Furthermore, Cleverly believes Warren’s contacts at Golden Boy – Oscar De La Hoya’s American promotional company – can secure him a dream unification fight with Bernard Hopkins after he faces Robin Krasniqi on April 20.
Cleverly will seek a fight with the 48-year old, who beat Tavoris Cloud on Saturday to win the IBF title and become the oldest world champion of all-time, this summer, before another scheduled mandatory defence against Jurgen Braehmer.
“I was thrilled Bernard won and I expected him to as well, for me, he’s by far and away the biggest fight out there, the guy is a genuine legend," he told the Argus.
“He breaks his own world record and what can you say about him? I want the fight badly and I believe it will happen now that Hopkins has won, as long as I take care of Krasniqi.
“I also think Frank Warren is the man to get that fight made.”
Cleverly believes his wily promoter, who has already survived numerous rivalries with fellow promoters – most famously Mickey Duff but also Eddie’s father Barry and Frank Maloney – as well as a .22 bullet fired at close range by a masked assailant, will continue to be the dominant force in UK boxing.
“Things haven’t been great for Frank in the past week, I’m sure he’d say that but I have no desire to seek a move away from him," Cleverly explained.
“Times are tough with the current economic climate and it’s unfortunate with certain fighters getting frustrated when bills are postponed, but that’s life and that is boxing.
“But me personally? I am staying put, I feel loyalty to Frank because he’s stayed loyal to me.
“He’s survived rough patches before and will again, I know from experience he is the man who can get a fight made with Hopkins and Golden Boy.
“There is no blame with Frank for the show at Wembley being delayed and in a year’s time I think people will have forgotten all about this supposed feud between promoters.”
Cleverly feels that for the first time, Hopkins actually covets a meeting with him.
“The timing wasn’t right last year, but it is now,” he said. “I believe Hopkins wants the fight and I believe in my heart that it will happen after I beat Krasniqi and before I beat Braehmer.
“Whether it will be in Wales or the USA I can’t say, but I expect it to happen this summer.”
For part two of our big interview with Cleverly, see Argus Sport later this week.