By Chris Cella
In only his second fight in the states, and his first time being televised on United States television, WBO Light Heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly (25-0, 12 KO) made a statement to the light heavyweight division with an impressive win over Shawn “The Sioux Warrior” Hawk (23-3-1, 17 KO).
Photo: Ester Lin/Showtime
From the commencement of the first round, Cleverly established the pace of the fight, landing four and five punch combinations at will, and pushing back Hawk with every attack.
Taking this fight on only 10 days’ notice, Hawk proved to be a game opponent, doing his best to stand and exchange with Cleverly, but he fell short round after round. For every one punch that Hawk was able to get off, Cleverly answered with his own barrage of punches, mixing up overhand rights with hooks to the body and head to keep his opponent off balance and unable to counter.
Not a big puncher, Cleverly showed his persistence in keeping his hands active and punching frequently, and picked Hawk apart at will.
In the seventh round, Hawk was put down to the canvas twice from accrued punishment, and narrowly escaped the round before being TKO’ed.
Cleverly immediately went back to work upon the eighth round beginning, and put Hawk down again. Breathing heavy and unable to keep his hands up, Hawk looked battered as he nodded that he was alright to continue, but Cleverly again pinned him against the ropes and unleashed vicious head and body combinations.
Hawk did his best to weather the storm, but ate a left hook to the body which again put him to the canvas with 1:06 left in the round, prompting the referee to stop the fight before he took any additional punishment.
Leading up to this fight, there was a lot of pressure on Cleverly to put on an impressive showing as he eyed a fight with Bernard Hopkins, and he went to work and did what he had to do.
Cleverly has the skills and know-how to be a strong competitor within the light heavyweight division, and time will tell if he signs with Golden Boy Promotions and begins his reign over in the States.