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Nathan Cleverley wants to be Britain's best
photo from ihourahane
Choosing a career in boxing can cause a person to have a deep thirst for victory early on. Like Amir Khan, undefeated light heavyweight Nathan Cleverly has become a world champion at a young age. In 2010, age just twenty three, Cleverly beat Frenchman Nadjiib Mohammed to win the interim version of the WBO Light Heavyweight title. 

He was due to follow this up with a fight against champion Jürgen Brähmer, but Brähmer lost an appeal against a criminal conviction and Cleverly was upgraded to full champion. On May 21st 2011, he successfully retained his title against Aleksy Kuziemski, a fighter ranked outside the top ten who only got a title shot because Jürgen Brähmer was in trouble with the law and Tony Bellew couldn't make weight.

Despite his world title, Cleverly is more interested at the minute in being top of the domestic scene. His goal is to topple Amir Khan off the top spot and be named as the number one British fighter. He told the Mirror:

"Amir's definitely got a point. he's won his world title, beat some top-class, dangerous guys and just won a unification fight for another version of the title. He's not one of these guys who do all the talking but can't back it up and I respect that. He’s probably the top British boxer at the moment but I want to challenge him for that mantle."

What Cleverly correctly points out is that Khan's fight record is what makes him stand out from other British fighters. Yes Khan does have an efficient PR department behind him, but he has also stood against some top fighters in the ring. Recently he put on a great display against five-time world champion Zab Judah, and in the past he has beaten great fighters such as Paul Mcloskey and Marcos Maidana. So who has Nathan Cleverly fought?

Cleverly Hasn't Pushed Himself Yet

His fight record doesn't stack up against Amir Khan's or even Carl Froch's, another claimant to the best of British throne. The best fighters he has met with are Nadjib Mohammedi, who he out-pointed, and twenty seven year old Karo Murat, who he beat by technical  knockout in round ten after the ring doctor called an end to proceedings. Throughout, Cleverly was impressive and had Murat clearly beat. If it had gone to points, it would have been a unanimous decision.

Boxrec and The Ring both have Cleverly as the #5 light heavyweight in the world and rightly so. Above him await fighters like Bernard Hopkins, Jean Pascal and Chad Dawson. At twenty four years old and after twenty two straight wins, is Cleverly ready to step up?

No-one Knows

We won't find out for a while. Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson are already spoken for; they meet October 15th at the Staples Centre, LA in what could be Hopkins last fight. Jean Pascal has a fight scheduled for December 17th but as of yet the opponent is unnamed. Most people's money is on Tavoris Cloud meeting him the ring, leaving Cleverly sat at home having no-one to play out with.

It is looking like Cleverly will have to make do sparring with James DeGale as the twenty five year from Nottingham prepares to fight for Piotr Wilczewski's European title. He needs to get a big fight soon though, he can't afford to let momentum slide if he wants to be recognized as the best boxer in Britain.