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Dave Amos 11th Feb 2010 - 16:31

Cleverly a class above shell-shocked Brancalion

Along with Kell Brook, Nathan Cleverly is probably seen as the next British fighter who can really step up to world level, following a seriously impressive run since moving to light heavyweight.

Still only 22, and with 18 undefeated fights making up his record, he really looks to have found the right weight having campaigned at super middle and making his debut as a 152 pound light middleweight.

British and Commonwealth titles at the 175 pound limit have duly followed, and as expected, a crack at the European crown now awaits.

An immediate bonus for Cleverly is the performance that Antonio Brancalion posted in his last outing, when it took Juergen Braehmer 83 seconds to get rid of the previously unstopped Italian.

That was last June and Brancalion hasn't fought since, whilst in the meantime Cleverly has stopped the unbeaten Danny McIntosh as well as Courtney Fry to add to his run of five consecutive stoppage wins.

He's clearly in great form and understandably confident, stating that the increased weight he now brings to fights has brought unheralded power; evidence of which was born out most recently by dismantling the never-stopped Fry.

The fight was originally scheduled to take place in Italy but Brancalion and his team were unable to stage the contest, so the date was rearranged and is now being held in London, a further advantage for Cleverly.

Indeed, it's not hard to see that the Welshman holds all the aces in this fight.

He's quicker, hits a lot harder (in spite of 18 fights to Brancalion's 41, he's stopped the same number of opponents), and on form is just getting better and better, whilst the Italian has just had the worst night of his professional life.

The question over the victor should therefore be an easy one to answer; barring a huge upset, Cleverly is going to win this fight. The trickier choice is deciding on the way the contest ends.

It would be no surprise to see Brancalion going into his shell early doors given the shellacking he took in his last fight.

He's never been a particularly attacking fighter in terms of looking to get things finished early, and doesn't have the power to particularly bother a man whose chin hasn't looked like a weakness thus far.

I see him presenting a puzzle that Cleverly can solve with consummate ease; I really have a feeling that he could win well.

As Cleverly progresses it's hard to not be impressed not only by the increased power but the shot selection he employs, as demonstrated in the aforementioned McIntosh fight in which he unleashed some hellish body shots to compliment the combinations landed at will.

A possible world title shot may not be far away, and the only man to have stopped Brancalion went on to win one. I think Cleverly will replicate that achievement, not as early, but not too long after the fight's halfway stage.

Bout betting prices: Cleverly 1/8, Brancalion 9/2.

Catch all the action on Sky Sports on Saturday February 13 from the Wembley Arena, London, United Kingdom. Throughout the fight we'll be offering Live In-Play prices so make sure you stay with William Hill for the very best boxing betting.


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