Former super middleweight champion Badou Jack became a two-division world champion with a TKO win over Nathan Cleverly to capture the WBA Light Heavyweight World Championship.
The Las Vegas-based, Swedish-born Jack (21-1-3, 13 KOs) out-classed Cleverly (30-4, 16 KOs) in a one-sided bout that was stopped by referee Tony Weeks with 12 seconds remaining in the fifth round. It was the first fight for Jack since moving up from 168 pounds to 175 pounds.
Jack had recorded majority draws in each of his past two fights against James DeGale of England and Canada’s Lucian Bute.
“It’s a dream come true,” said the 33-year-old Jack. “I’ve learned that you can’t leave it in the hands of the judges.”
“Jack was very strong,” said Cleverly. “He caught me and broke my nose in the third round. It was a downward spiral from there. I was wounded and protecting myself. It’s horrible but part of the sport.”
Cleverly would later announce his retirement from the sport.
Jim Gray asked Jack who he would like to fight next, Andre Ward or Adonis Stevenson? “I think Adonis Stevenson, let’s get it on. I’ll go to Canada. I’ll go anywhere.”
“I got a little excited at times but I barely got hit,” Jack said. “My boxing IQ was the difference in this fight. Everybody doubting me motivated me. My trainer and my team did a great job getting me to this point.”