Nathan Cleverly: Ex-world champion earned place in 'Welsh boxing history' - Gary Lockett

Badou Jack stopped Nathan Cleverly in the fifth round in Las Vegas
Badou Jack stopped Nathan Cleverly in the fifth round in Las Vegas

Nathan Cleverly can be counted amongst the great Welsh boxers following his decision to retire, says Gary Lockett.

The 30-year-old Welshman lost his WBA light-heavyweight title to Badou Jack in Las Vegas at the weekend.

Cleverly announced that he was quitting the sport soon after.

"He was never afraid to go into the opponent's backyard, so he's got a place in boxing history, Welsh boxing history definitely," said former WBU middleweight holder Lockett.

Cleverly made his professional debut as an 18-year-old in July 2005, going on to win Commonwealth and European titles before claiming the interim WBO world light-heavyweight belt in 2010.

That was upgraded to the full title in 2011 when champion Juergen Braehmer withdrew from their fight citing an injury, and Cleverly made four successful defences before being beaten by Sergey Kovalev in 2013.

Cleverly moved up to cruiserweight in 2014, winning the vacant WBA intercontinental title, but lost to Tony Bellew - an opponent he had formerly beaten at light-heavyweight.

Gary Lockett
Gary Lockett is an ex-WBU middleweight champion and now manages and coaches other boxers

The Welshman returned to light-heavyweight and lost against Andrzej Fonfara, but reclaimed the WBA title with victory over Braehmer in October 2016 - becoming the first Welshman to lose and regain a world title at the same weight,

The loss to Sweden's Jack was the fourth defeat in Cleverly's 34-fight professional career.

"He announced his retirement very quick and if that's what he feels, then it's definitely the right thing to do," added Lockett, now a boxing manager and trainer.

"Nathan's an intelligent boy, he'll know when the time's right.

"He looked to me like a fighter who's fallen out of love with the game."

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