4:50pm Thursday 9th January 2014
NATHAN Cleverly shouldn’t have too long to wait for his return to the ring after being given a new provisional date by his promoter Frank Warren.
Cleverly, the former WBO light heavyweight world champion, hasn’t fought since losing his world title and undefeated record at the hands of destructive puncher Sergey Kovalev in 2013.
Cleverly was supposed to fight Daniel Amman in November in his debut at cruiserweight, but missed the bout with a back injury.
He was subsequently set for a WBA title eliminator in Monte Carlo next month, but that has also fallen by the wayside with Cleverly still troubled by a back problem.
However, promoter Frank Warren has moved quickly to get Cleverly back in the public eye, scheduling him for
an in-ring return on St David’s Day in Aintree Racecourse.
And while Cleverly will only metaphorically get back on the horse at the home of the Grand National, he should feature prominently on a strong bill.
Cleverly’s battle against an as yet unnamed opponent is in addition to outings for Merseyside stars Paul Butler, Joe Selkirk and Kevin Satchell all featuring.
Ellesmere Port’s undefeated super-flyweight sensation Butler headlines the show when he defends his WBO and WBA Intercontinental titles.
The 25-year-old British Champion had a fantastic 2013 adding the Commonwealth, WBO and WBA International titles and taking his record to 14 fights unbeaten with seven KO’s.
All-action Butler, who could’ve been a jockey and is a big horse-racing fan, is excited to have his first fight of the year at Aintree as he looks to make big strides on the world scene.
He said, “This is a big year for me and I’m looking to start it with bang at Aintree on Saturday 1st March. Last year was great with plenty of fights and winning lots of belt, this year I hope for more of the same as I move closer to that world title. The opponents are getting harder, they’re more experienced and they’re bringing the best out of me.”
Featuring as chief support is Liverpool hitman Selkirk who makes the first defence of his WBO European Light-Middleweight title.
Selkirk demolished unbeaten Zoltan Sera inside three rounds last month to win his first pro title and is looking to keep busy this year with more hard-hitting performances.
While Selkirk’s challenger is to be confirmed, on the undercard top talents Ronnie Heffron and John Thain will fight it out and the winner is set to meet Selkirk next time.
Selkirk said, “It makes such a difference winning that first title. Even though it’s not a world title, it feels like it is and I’m not letting it go. Whoever I’m facing at Aintree is getting smashed and then I’m looking at the winner out of Heffron and Thain after that. I want to fight and keep busy and this year you’ll see the best of me.”
A further championship title fight will be added to the card and also joining will be former WBO
Warren said, “It’s the first time in my promotional career that I’ve staged a show at Aintree and I’m delighted that the first show has a strong line up of talent from Merseyside.
“Paul is certainly one of the hot young talents to look out for this year, he’s on the world scene now and he’ll be looking to make his mark this year. Joe looked great last time out dismantling a tough challenger in Sera and he’ll have a big year this year as well. I’d like to welcome new signings Kevin Satchell and Tom Stalker to the Queensberry Promotions team along with Neil Marsh.
“Kevin is a quality fighter and I think he will do some good things this year, and the same with Tom who was a superb amateur and has carried that across to the pros and I’m looking forward to working with them and really establishing them as big attractions in their home city. It’s a top quality card with some of Britain’s best talent like Terry Flanagan in action and a cracking showdown between Ronnie Heffron and John Thain, plus top prospect Matty Fagan.”
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