CEFN Fforest fighter Nathan Cleverly is looking to send out a statement of intent when he defends his WBO light-heavyweight title against Ryan Coyne in Los Angeles next month.
The fight at the Staples Center will be Cleverly’s fourth title defence and his first outside of the United Kingdom and the 25-year-old wants to prove his credentials to the rest of the division.
He said: “This is a statement from me to show that I'm going to the States and taking a fight against an unbeaten fighter that has everything to gain.
“Basically the decision to go to America to fight was to gain exposure in the States and potentially set-up the unification fights that I’m tracking down for early next year.
“It is an opportunity that I jumped at, that I'm excited by and it is a great opportunity for me to take my career to that next level.
“I have made a few defences at home now. This shows that I’m prepared to travel and prepared to take risks and it shows that I’m trying to get those big fights.”
Coyne is a little-known quantity, but Cleverly will not be taking his threat lightly as he looks to become the first man to beat the American.
“He is ranked number two in the WBA and 10 WBC and it is a battle of the unbeatens, but I think it is a fight I’m going to shine in and set up the real big fights I want next year,” he said.
“This will be my sixth fight against an unbeaten fighter and in the previous five times I’ve come out on top and remained unbeaten so we are looking for the same pattern.”
Cleverly was originally due to defend his title later this month in Cardiff against Ukrainian Vyacheslav Uzelkov, but now he will face Coyne on November 10.
Although he admitted he was initially disappointed to have to cancel his home fight, Cleverly is ready to further his career across the Atlantic.
He said: “I was a little bit disappointed not being able to get this defence in at home, but this was an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down and I had to grasp it.
“If I want to excel and push my career to that other level then this is an opportunity I had to take. I’m prepared to do it and prepared to take the risk. There is a little bit more pressure, but that pressure will bring out the best in me.
“Hopefully there will be a good crowd following me to America..”
Promoter Frank Warren also explained the reasoning behind Cleverly’s title defence taking place in America and why his fight in Cardiff was cancelled.
“The reason this fight has been taken is that we have tried very hard to get named opponents for Nathan, but the truth of the matter is for various reasons it hasn’t happened,” he said.
“Some have ducked him and others have not been able to fight because they couldn’t get American TV coverage, so we have decided to take the bull by the horns and switch the fight that Nathan was having in Cardiff to the States so that he will get American TV coverage and he is on quite a big card out there.”
The fight with Coyne is subject to approval from the WBO, with the ratification expected at some point this week.