EXCLUSIVE: Nathan Cleverly wasn’t ready for Sergey Kovalev, says father

Sergey Kovalev Nathan Cleverly

Sky Sports

Former world light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly can only learn from his recent defeat to big-punching Russian Sergey Kovalev and will be back with a vengeance, according to father and trainer Vince.

Nathan, 26, was defeated in four rounds by knockout artist Kovalev on home soil at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff last month, the first defeat of his career, and taking some time out of the sport.

Under the guidance of Vince, Nathan made five successful defenses of the WBO belt but is now collaborating with his father to plan their next move as rumors continue to grow that both are considering a new training strategy in the future.

With retirement talk post-fight mere speculation, world-renowned American trainer Freddie Roach has been put forward as one possible name to revive Cleverly’s fortunes. However, Vince says nothing concrete is in place.

“No plans have been made at all yet regarding what we will do next,” Vince exclusively told World Boxing News.

“Nath is still coming to terms with what happened against Kovalev, but people should remember that Nath has had only 60 fights in the whole of his career, whilst Kovalev, with his amateur experience, had 240. That is a big difference, and I am sure if they ever met again, the fight could have a different result.

“I, for one, did not want this fight to take place for at least another 18 months,” he explained.

“I did not feel that Nath was ready for Kovalev, but one’s best success comes after one greatest disappointment. We can only learn from this defeat, but I am sure Nath will return bigger and stronger in more ways than one. It’s onwards and upwards!”

Cleverly missed out on what could have the biggest night of his career against legendary veteran Bernard Hopkins when suffering the sole loss of his 27-fight resume. However, he does have time on his side and will certainly be able to come again soon.

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