Monday, October 12, 2009

British Scene Weekend Recap: Cleverly Stops Fry

Matt Chudley recaps the British light-heavyweight title match-up between Nathan Cleverly and Courtney Fry.

Nathan Cleverly booked a December 5th European Title showdown with Antonio Brancalion with an impressive stoppage win over Courtney Fry at the York Hall on Friday. Facing his most technically sound opponent to date, Cleverly showed a maturity beyond his years in patiently picking the cagey boxer from Liverpool apart, before forcing a stoppage with a barrage of right hands in the 8th.

The 22 year old from Wales came out looking to attack the body in the first, while his rangy and awkward foe looked to load up with uppercuts. Fry came close on a few occasions, but it was Cleverly’s body shots and work rate that were the pick of the early action.

With long arms and a sturdy jab, Fry looked to hold in close while trying to keep the contest within his comfort zone with long range exchanges, but after Clevelry landed a lead right hand in the 3rd, the challenger was forced to hold on for survival purposes.

Having survived the 3rd round scare, Fry settled back into his rhythm, and it was Cleverly who next found himself in trouble. Dropping his hands in a momentary lapse of concentration, the Welshman was caught early in the 5th by a long looping left hook, and a follow up right hand. Both landed flush, and had Fry been a more concussive puncher, an upset might have been on the cards. Instead Cleverly gave Fry a smile and a nod and went back to work, catching Fry with an impressive uppercut later in the round.

After exchanging solid left hooks in the 6th, it appeared to be Cleverly who was slowing down, and in the 7th the momentum seemed poised to swing towards the 34 year old challenger. In the 8th though, Cleverly reasserted himself, staggering Fry with a big right hand, before laying into the former Olympian with an onslaught of rights. Cleverly quickly pushed off, stepping back to avoid smothering his work and giving the challenger no opportunity to recover, leaving Fry helpless to avoid further punishment along the ropes.

At this point, Victor Loughlin stepped in to end the bout, only to find himself on the canvas as the unsteady Fry collapsed on the man in charge. The time was 2:52 of round 8.

Cleverly still seems to be improving at an impressive rate but might be better off joining forces with an experienced trainer once he completes University next summer and leave the makeshift team of father Vince and Sports Network matchmaker turned trainer Dean Powell.

Though he may be advanced in age, Fry did show enough to suggest that he could capture a Lonsdale belt once Cleverly has moved on.

On the undercard...

2008 Beijing Olympian Billy Joe Saunders was given the toughest test of his fledgling pro career by tough Latvian Alex Spitko. Saunders was extended the distance for the first time in a scrapy four rounder with the Mansfield based journeyman showing real grit and pushing Saunders hard.

Returning from a four month ban, Derek Chisora completed the formalities with a 3rd round stoppage of 12-6 Georgian no-hoper Zurab Noniashvili. After the first round, the Georgian heavy seemed disinterested and almost baying for the canvas. Chisora may have gained little from the fight but could soon find himself competing against Audley Harrison for the British title vacated by Danny Williams.

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