Boxing - Cleverly vs Valori

Nathan Cleverly squares off with Emilio Valori in Cruiserweight Title bout July 12

Nathan Cleverly is best known to most boxing fans for his fourth-round TKO defeat at the hands of Sergey Kovalev last year. Cleverly lost the WBO Light Heavyweight crown in that contest and his since moved up in weight to the cruiserweight division. The Welshman now holds the WBA Inter-Continental Cruiserweight Championship and he’ll be putting it on the line in Liverpool when he takes on Alejandro Emilio Valori of Argentina at the Echo Arena this Saturday, July 12.

The 27 year old Cleverly is a decent-sized cruiserweight as he stands just over 6-feet-1-inch tall and has a 74-inch reach. He’s ranked number 17 in the world at the moment and will be entering the ring with an impressive record of 27-1, with 13 Kos to his credit with his lone loss coming to Kovalev. His last bout was a second-round TKO over Shawn Corbin for the WBA Inter-Continental cruiserweight belt in Wales in May. It was a good way for Cleverly to bounce back from his August loss to Kovalev.

The 31-year-old Valori has a record of 15-4 along with 11 Kos. Three of his losses have come by way of stoppage. He stands 6-feet tall, is ranked number 31 in the world and like Cleverly, is also a right-hander. His last outing took place back on February 28 when he won by s seventh-round disqualification over Marcos Antonio Ahumada. It was Valori’s third straight win and it earned him the Argentine FAB Cruiserweight Championship.

Valori’s en exciting fighter since he has his fair share of power, but also has a questionable chin. He more or less wins or loses by stoppage with just five of his 19 bouts going the distance. Cleverly isn’t known as a power puncher, but has enough pop in his fists to stop opponents once they’re in trouble. He’s got good boxing skills as well as a relatively strong chin and will enter this fight as the favorite.

However, Valori’s a bit of an unknown commodity since he’s never fought outside of his native Argentina. He could just have enough power to surprise the Briton thugh. Cleverly can’t afford to take the Argentine lightly, especially in the higher cruiserweight division and will need to use his boxing skills in this bout rather than get enticed into a toe-to-toe brawl. He needs to stay calm, press the action and score with flurries before getting out of firing range.

Cleverly didn’t look overly impressive in his cruiserweight debut against the 39-year-old Corbin as he appeared to be slower and his punches didn’t carry as much power at the higher weight. He has to be careful with a hard puncher such as Valori or he could find himself on the canvas again. Cleverly’s a good boxer though and has the skills to adapt to his opponent in the ring. Valori should have his moments, but look for Cleverly to take this 12-rounder by a relatively comfortable decision or a late stoppage.