British boxing beat: Tyson Fury’s next fight, Brook vs. Alexander, Cleverly needs a challenge

Credit: Esther Lin / Showtime

In the latest edition of the British boxing beat, we take a look at some potential rumors and upcoming fights, as well as one fighter coming off a win and in need of a tougher opponent. Take a look here as we discuss the latest for Nathan Cleverly, Tyson Fury and Kell Brook.

Nathan Cleverly in need of a challenge

Credit: Esther Lin / Showtime

Nathan Cleverly exorcised out of the ring frustrations inside the ropes on Saturday night as he made his long awaited debut on American soil, stopping Shawn Hawk in eight rounds in Los Angeles.

The low quality of the opponent was in part the result of yet another string of opponents pulling out and bigger-name clashes falling by the wayside. One thing is now clear, however, and that is this young Welshman is in need of a challenge. Hawk was no legitimate world title challenger, nor was the previously scheduled opponent, for that matter. And while Tommy Karpency might have been a homecoming, the fact is Cleverly has stepped down a level or two for each of his last two fights.

Talk has intensified in recent weeks of Cleverly perhaps training more often with Freddie Roach, who he spent time with prior to this past weekend’s fight. Golden Boy has also shown public interest in working with Cleverly and his promoter Frank Warren in order to organize future bouts for the talented light heavyweight in the United States, where many of the division’s best base themselves. Richard Schaefer suggested that a fight between Cleverly and modern legend Bernard Hopkins could be made, with Hopkins wishing to take on world titleholders.

The noises being made stateside are positive for Cleverly, who set his usual high tempo in grinding down Hawk, and although some may see the gap between the likes of Karpency and Hawk to Hopkins as being too long to bridge, it is clear that Cleverly relishes the challenge. His best performances have come against the likes of Karo Murat and Tony Bellew, both quality operators, while he has looked disinterested at times in his less testing bouts of late.

Whoever he faces next, Cleverly must be given the opportunity to prove himself and he can only do that if he feels his opponent poses a serious threat.

Tyson Fury gets Kevin Johnson

Tyson Fury is another fighter who has experienced frustration obtaining the high profile fights he craves. No sooner had an intriguing clash of unbeaten prospects with Denis Boytsov been announced than it fell through. Now, Fury has been matched with Kevin “Kingpin” Johnson, an awkward and technically sound fighter, and a world away from the likes of Vinny Maddalone and Martin Rogan.

Johnson is Fury’s biggest test since he boxed and brawled with an out of shape Dereck Chisora. Since then, Fury has improved his condition magnificently, but his dedication to the craft has not been rewarded with good match-ups. Now he has a chance to use Johnson as his measuring stick. Should Fury get past him with comfort, he may then compare it to Vitali Klitschko’s performance against Johnson, where the elder Klitschko outworked his tentative foe over twelve rounds.

With a Klitschko fight being the end game for Fury, the ultimate bounty on the horizon, at least this fight offers him that chance at comparison. Fury’s recent work is devoid of any real names, and this should make him genuinely relevant again.

Kell Brook’s date with Devon Alexander comes closer to fruition

In other news, it is apparent that Kell Brook is close to sealing the deal to fight Devon Alexander for Alexander’s IBF welterweight belt. The fight could come about sometime in January according to Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn.

Hearn and Brook have been scorned for recent match-making. Brook made a meal of what was supposed to be his coming out party with Carson Jones, and then did what was necessary against the over-matched Hector Saldivia, all the while passing on a fight with pound for pound rated Tim Bradley. The reason for this was Hearn was adamant of maneuvering Brook into a mandatory position for the IBF belt, ensuring they would not be liable to the preposterous clauses that can sometimes come with challenging a title-holder without that security.

The fight looks likely to take place in New York or Las Vegas, though Hearn objects to the idea of it being held in Alexander’s hometown of St. Louis. Both Brook and Alexander elect to box rather than trade, so this duel could be a standoffish one. The welterweight scene is, however, in need of fresh faces with the Mayweather – Pacquiao – Cotto era coming to a close, and a match-up between two of its better young lions can only serve to invigorate the division.

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