Darren Wilson: Nathan Cleverly’s best years are ahead of him

Darren Wilson: Nathan Cleverly’s best years are ahead of him

Cefn Fforest’s Nathan Cleverly (29-3, 15KO) has his best years ahead of him, according to his trainer Darren Wilson.

The 29-year-old will challenge for the WBA Regular world title in six weeks and finally lock horns with Germany’s light-heavyweight Juergen Braehmer (48-2, 35KO), five years after they were originally scheduled to meet.

Since then, Cleverly reigned as WBO world champion for two years but has also suffered three defeats, while Braehmer has linked up with Sauerland Promotions and recorded 12 consecutive wins.

Wilson, who has been involved in Cleverly’s camps since 2011, said: “I think he’s nearly there now, where we want him to be. Next fight, he’ll win the title and back where he belongs. I think his best years are ahead of him.

“He’s about the right age now, 29. From here, he’ll kick on in time for his peak years. It’s a good age to win a world title for a second time. It come early the first time, he was 24. Second time, it’s coming at the right time for us, he’s mentally and physically ready for it.”

There have been highs and lows during Cleverly’s eventful 11-year career, which started at the age of 18-years-old in 2005. However, Wilson insists all of that brings experience, which will be needed against a highly educated operator like 37-year-old Braehmer.

Wilson said: “Braehmer’s very crafty and clever southpaw, awkward and experienced. He’s a world champion for a reason because he’s a very good fighter.

“Nathan’s been in so many situations, he’ll be ready for whatever happens in Germany. He’s going to put it all together and I think he will do it.

“I know we hear some bad stuff about the judges in Germany but we’ve got to just go over and do our thing – get the win.”

By the time Cleverly enters the ring at the Jahnsportforum in Neubrandenburg, it will be 350 days since his last fight – a punishing Fight of the Year candidate [decision loss] with Andrzej Fonfara in America. In the interim, Cleverly has agreed to face numerous big names, a personality trait that often goes unnoticed, though no negotiations apart from Braehmer have concluded with signed contracts.

The Welshman, who’s aiming to become the first to lose a world title and win another, has spent the whole calendar year preparing in the gym above the Plasnewydd pub in Bargoed. It’s a situation that would frustrate many fighters but Cleverly’s trainer has stayed fresh.

Wilson said: “He’s been busy and ticking over since December, thinking we might have a fight in January. Then we were told March and April, so we’ve been in the gym for a long time really. We’ve picked it up another couple of gears since the Braehmer fight was announced.

“He’s been on the ball and focused. We’ve been in talks for a lot of fights and thought some of them were going to happen, so we’ve been training for them only to be told they’re not happening. He’s been switching on and off because of that but it’s been good to get some rest too and learn a lot in the gym.”

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