WBO Light Heavyweight Champion Nathan Cleverly of Wales will be defending his title against Shawn Hawk at Los Angeles’ Staples Center on Nov. 10. Hawk was named as a late replacement for Ryan Coyne, who was Cleverly’s originally scheduled opponent.
However, Coyne pulled out of the title fight after a contract dispute with Don King, his promoter. Hawk was announced as the new opponent on Nov. 5.
The 25-year-old Cleverly, who is unbeaten with a record of 24-0 with 11 KOs, will have to do adjust his training routine this week since Hawk is an orthodox boxer and he was preparing for a southpaw in Coyne. The 28-year-old Hawk was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and now fights out of Atlantic City, New Jersey. He has a 23-2-1 record with 17 KOs.
Cleverly said he doesn’t think the change in opponents will affect him as long as he uses his boxing skills and instincts. He said he doesn’t really care who he’s fighting and is just anxious to put on a good show during his first bout in America.
Cleverly’s promoter Frank Warren persuaded Golden Boy Promotions to place the fight on the card which will be beamed across the world by several networks including Showtime in America.
Cleverly turned pro back in 2005 and won the British and Commonwealth titles in 2009 and added the European crown a year later. He won the interim WBO world title on 2010 with a 12-round unanimous decision over Nadjib Mohammedi and has defended it three times.
His last bout was in February of this year when he beat Tommy Karpency by a unanimous decision. Cleverly hasn’t fought any elite boxers so far in his career and that won’t change when he steps in the ring against Hawk.
Hawk turned professional in 2004 and has also fought mediocre opponents along the way. His last bout was a 12-round unanimous decision loss at the hands of Eleider Alvarez in June.
Some of Hawk’s better opponents include Otis Griffin, Henry Buchanan, Donnell Wiggins and Matt Godfrey. Hawk has a decent knockout ratio and possesses pretty good power. Cleverly is aware of this and knows that he can’t afford to get reckless and leave himself open.
Cleverly said he’ll be looking to stop Hawk, but this might be a case of easier said than done. Hawk’s only lost twice and hasn’t been stopped in 26 bouts. Hawk’s best chance here is to go for a stoppage since it’s going to be hard to out box the champion.
He doesn’t really have anything to lose at this point since he’s coming into the fight on about a week’s notice. If he’s in shape he’ll have a chance, but if he just shows up for a payday then Cleverly will have few problems with him.
This is a big opportunity for Cleverly and the Welshman doesn’t want to let it slip through his fingers. However, he might be trying too hard to impress the American crowd whereas Hawk could be loose and relaxed. This could be an excellent chance for Hawk to pull off an upset and it might be going out on a limb, but there’s a good chance he’ll be the new WBO champion after this bout.