Edited Press Release: Nathan Cleverly will face Badou Jack in a battle of light heavyweight contenders on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor blockbuster at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas on Saturday, August 26th. Cleverly (30-3 with 16 KOs) defeated Germany's Juergen Braehmer last October to pick up the WBA's secondary title. Prior to that, he had a run as WBO light heavyweight title holder from 2011 to 2013 until losing to Sergey Kovalev. Jack (21-1-2, 12 KOs) is stepping up in weight after a two-year reign as WBC super middleweight champion. He's coming off a draw in a unification bout against James DeGale.
Cleverly bounced back from a defeat to Andrzej Fonfara in a 2015 Fight of the Year contender to defeat Braehmer last October to pick up his WBA title. Cleverly’s previous title reign saw him take down the likes of Tony Bellew, Nadjib Mohammedi, Shawn Hawk and Tommy Karpency before dropping a contest to Kovalev. The Wales resident will make his fourth start in the U.S., having won two of his first three contests stateside.
"This is a fight I have wanted ever since Badou Jack moved to light heavyweight and I'm delighted to fight in Vegas on an event like this,” said Cleverly. “I've trained long and hard for this fight and I'm ready to be let off the leash. This is the biggest fight of my career so far and I'm going to do a number on Badou Jack on August 26th."
Now fighting in the 175-pound division, Jack’s final fight at 168 pounds came in a title unification in January against DeGale. Jack shook off an early knockdown to floor DeGale in the final round in a close majority draw in which both fighters retained their belts.
Jack, a 2008 Olympian from Gambia won his world title in 2015 by defeating then unbeaten Anthony Dirrell and defended the belt against current WBA 168-pound title holder George Groves and former champion Lucian Bute. The 33-year-old is unbeaten in his last six bouts as he seeks a world title in a second weight class.
“I’m thankful for this opportunity and I’m excited about getting another shot at a world title,” said Jack. “To be a part of this event and fighting on this card is historic. Nothing beats it. I’m excited to get back in the ring. I’m getting ready to take that belt, and win a title in my second weight class. The biggest difference between past training camps and preparing for this fight is the fact that I was training to get the weight down, now I’m training to build muscle and perfect my boxing strategy. This will be a tough fight, but I don’t see any issues getting through it. I feel confident and fans can expect a win by knockout or decision. He’s not leaving with that belt. It’s staying right here in Las Vegas.”
“The biggest difference between past training camps and preparing for this fight is the fact that I was training to get the weight down, now I’m training to build muscle and perfect my boxing strategy. This will be a tough fight, but I don’t see any issues getting through it. I feel confident and fans can expect a win by knockout or decision. He’s not leaving with that belt. It’s staying right here in Las Vegas.”
Cleverly's promoter Eddie Hearn added: “I’m delighted to get this fight made – it’s a great fight on a huge night of boxing. Cleverly vs. Jack have styles that will gel into an all action fight and we are confident our man will be returning with the belt.”