3:10pm Friday 28th March 2014
By Michael Pearlman
NATHAN Cleverly has explained his reasons for moving to Matchroom Promotions, insisting it was time he did what was best for his career.
As revealed in Thursday’s Argus Sport, Cleverly has made an agreement with promoter Eddie Hearn after spending his entire tenure as a professional with Frank Warren.
Warren insists he still has an agreement with Cleverly and Matchroom boss Hearn told Argus Sport yesterday that he “expected,” that Warren will pursue the matter.
However, Cleverly is holding his head high and standing by his move.
“A lot of people will be surprised and shocked by my decision to join Matchroom but it’s come over a long period of time, I’ve been thinking about things since August when I lost my world title,” he said.
“I’ve had a good break, enjoyed a normal life for a bit, but there was going to come a point where I was going to get my head back on, back in the game and decide what route to take.
“I was out of contract with Frank Warren (Warren vehemently disputes this) and it was my decision.
“Do I stay or go with Eddie and Matchroom who made me an offer, an excellent offer with the fight in May in Cardiff? And that was appealing to me with Sky Sports as well, an excellent boxing broadcaster. It made sense to me, so here we are, ready to begin chapter two.
“I told Frank, I thought it was the right thing to do, I wanted to do things amicably and properly out of respect, because chapter one of my career was fantastic, I was living the dream and I stayed loyal to Frank Warren despite the problems the promotional company had.
“I stayed loyal through the mist of things but in the end I had to think of my career and what was best for me and I decided on this move and here we are, ready to go.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’ve done everything right. I am an honest guy. Whether the other party, whether they want to play ball or try and cause a bit of friction, that’s up to them. I can hold my head up. I did everything right... but it’s time for me to move on.”
Hearn admits he expects to hear from Warren but adds that isn’t unusual, the pair having disputed several Matchroom acquisitions in recent years, including Ricky Burns, George Groves, Tony Bellew, Kell Brook and now Cleverly.
“We expect something with him (Warren),” Hearn said, “but we get that every day. We take our advice, look at each individual case on its merits and we’ve spoken with both Nathan and his legal representative and we are comfortable.
“I am sure there will be some fall out but we move on and hopefully fighters are able to get on with their careers.”
And Hearn also admitted he feels Cleverly could’ve been given better fights after defeating Bellew in 2012.
“In my opinion Nathan Cleverly fought, well, let me say, opponents that I wouldn’t have matched him against,” he said.
“I would have matched him with Edison Miranda, Glenn Johnson, these kind of household names in boxing that can raise his profile.
“The Bellew fight was a great fight, really close, but to then go and fight Robin Krasniqi, Shaun Hawk and Tommy Karpency? One, it did nothing for his profile and two, did nothing to prepare him for a Sergey Kovalev.
“I’m just a little bit different, I think everyone deserves an easy defence of a world title but no one deserves three easy defences and maybe you’ve seen that with Ricky Burns.
“He’s had three really tough fights with me and he’s lost his world title. But that’s a sign of the times. People are bored of one-sided fights, broadcasters are bored.
“With Nathan I’d have done it differently. It’s more about high profile fights and those three didn’t really do that.
“But now it’s a fresh start for him.”
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