Thursday, May 21, 2009

British Scene: Cleverly vs Boyle Preview

A busy week in British boxing continues tomorrow night with Welshman Nathan Cleverly's Commonwealth light-heavyweight title defense against Sheffield's Billy Boyle.

Sky Sports 1 will be televising the show and Dave Oakes has the preview.

Check out our recap of both UK shows from this weekend: Cleverly, Barker and Fury Score Stoppages

Friday May 22

Nathan Cleverly vs Billy Boyle (SKY)

By Dave Oakes

Nathan Cleverly makes the third defence of his Commonwealth light-heavyweight title this Friday against the inexperienced Billy Boyle at the York Hall, Bethnal Green, England.

Cleverly is using this fight as a warm up for his British title fight with Danny McIntosh, which says a lot about how competitive this fight will be. Boyle comes into the fight with a respectable 12-1 record, which looks a lot better on paper than it really is. He’s only ever won against extremely low level opposition and the only time he’s faced a championship level fighter was when he was out-pointed by Tony Oakey in the Prizefighter competition earlier this year. He didn’t show much potential in that fight, and at 32 years of age, he’s not exactly at the start of the learning curve.

Cleverly is at the other end of the scale; he’s young, talented and has shown real improvement over the past couple of years. He won the title against the only man to beat Boyle, when out-boxing and out-pointing Tony Oakey just over seven months ago. He’s had two routine defences since then, first stopping the decent Douglas Otieno in four rounds and last time out when he destroyed Samson Onyango in the first round after he levelled the challenger with an enormous right uppercut.

Those two successful defences have shown that Cleverly’s punch power is improving, he looks like he’s planting his feet more firmly now than what he was at the beginning in his career. He’s still not a big puncher but he’s the type of fighter whose power gets the respect of his opponent early on and dissuades them from standing toe to toe with him.

Cleverly is a fighter on the up and will be looking to use his massive height and reach advantages over Boyle. I think Cleverly will work behind his stiff jab and will look to get a few rounds under his belt before cranking up the pace and stopping Boyle around the 6th round.

Kevin Mitchell takes on John Gicharu on the undercard in his first fight for the best part of a year. It should be a routine win for the Dagenham Destroyer as he attempts to shed ring rust before aiming for a world title shot against new WBO champion Roman Martinez later this year.

e-mail Dave Oakes

Check out Matt Chudley's preview of Darren Barker vs Darren McDermott