Best of Neath Following Nathan Cleverly
12th October 2009
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Cefn Forrest light-heavyweight star Nathan Cleverly is aiming to become the next big name of British boxing.

The 22-year-old has certainly made the public and media sit up and take notice of him, following a string of knockout victories in recent fights.

Cleverly, who recently defended his Commonwealth and British titles against Courtney Fry on October 9th in London, also faces a challenge outside of the ring - trying to secure a BSc in mathematics at Cardiff University.

He won the Commonwealth light-heavyweight title last October in a tough fight against Portsmouth's Tony Oakey and then followed it up with successful defences against Douglas Otieno, Samson Onyango and Billy Boyle, before defeating Danny McIntosh to land the prestigious Lonsdale belt in July.

Now entering the final year of his degree, Cleverly could find himself challenging for a world title just before he graduates with honours.

The former Blackwood Comprehensive School pupil is coping with the demands of his grueling training schedule and the discipline of statistics, equations and algebra.

"Boxing and maths are really different, but they can combine. I've got the mental side with the maths and the physical side with the boxing, but boxing is probably 90 percent mental," he said.

"Sometimes it can give me a break from each. It's a good balance.

"Because I give up a lot of typical student life due to the training, it's great to have a few nights out after a fight but then it's back to the books!"

His lecturers have been supportive of his boxing career and allowed Nathan to spread his course over four years instead of the usual three to allow him to train.
"My life is all in boxing," he said.

"Once I've completed my degree I want to be a world champion, but I've come so far with the maths, I wouldn't want to let the last year go. I'm so close to achieving both dreams,"

"Maths is not the easiest subject I could have chosen, but I really enjoy it and I enjoy the challenge,"

Promoter Frank Warren, who has guided the sports biggest names like Joe Calzaghe, Ricky Hatton, Naseem Hamed and Nigel Benn, believes Cleverly can be the next big thing in British boxing.

"Nathan's a great kid and he has got the world in front of him," he said.

"He has coped well with the rigours of studying and training for his fights, but he has to keep winning and looking good like he has done,"

"I've brought through the best fighters over the years like Calzaghe, Hatton and Naz, and Nathan has every chance to hit the top like these guys."


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