#12 WBA, #12 WBO Nathan Cleverly (27-1, 13 KO’s) will be trying to put himself into position to get a world title shot in 2015 when he fights Alejandro Emilio Valori (15-4, 11 KO’s) this Saturday night at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, UK. Cleverly needs a win over Valori and then a victory over #5 WBC Tony Bellew in a rematch to put him in position to get a world title shot.
It’s unknown what champion that Cleverly’s promoter Eddie Hearn will be getting him if he wins his next two fights, but it’s going to be one of the following cruiserweight champions: Yoan Pablo Hernandez, Denis Lebedev, Marco Huck or Krzysztof Wlodarczyk. Huck is the most dangerous of the bunch followed by Wlodarczyk. Lebedev is a big punching southpaw, but he’s getting up there in age and he’s had some wars recently that might make him vulnerable. Hernandez is definitely the most vulnerable given his fragile chin and stamina problems, but he’s still a very good fighter and would make it tough for Cleverly or Bellew to try and beat him.
“I believe at the end of this year, or probably at the start of 2015, I will be in line for a shot at the world title,” said Cleverly. “I want to get this job done on Alejandro Valori and then first and foremost it is important I win that fight in good fashion. Then we will look for that big domestic grudge match between myself and Bellew and when I bash him up we will be looking for the world title fight then.”
If Hearn gets Cleverly a title shot off of his wins over Valori and Bellew, then he would be doing him a huge solid, because he wouldn’t have to face the more dangerous contenders in the division that would give him a very difficult time. Bellew is someone who recently moved up in weight to the cruiserweight division after getting knocked out by WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson last year. Cleverly already proved that he’s the better fighter than Bellew in besting him in 2011, so it’s not nearly as difficult for Cleverly to face him than it would be if he were to have to face the likes of Thabiso Mchunu or Ilunga Makabu in order to get a title shot.
If Cleverly were to face one or both of them, he’d be truly earning his title shot. But with beating 2nd tier fighter Valori and Bellew, Cleverly is going to be given a gift title shot that he arguably won’t deserve. Hearn’s Matchroom Sport promotional company has a contract with Sky Sports, which makes it easier for him to get title shots for his fighters because there’s big money that he brings to the table with Sky.