NATHAN Cleverley has spoke in glowing terms of his experience this week sparring with Finn Valley heavyweight Michael Gallagher.
The 28-year-old Welshman (pictured above), a former WBO light heavyweight world champion with a 29-2 (15KO) record, is set to take on Andrzei Fonfara (27-3, 16KO) in American in October.
Six weeks after Eddie Hearn confirmed the bout, Cleverley is still awaiting confirmation of the show, which will be a part of Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions [PBC] series.
As he steps up his preparation, Cleverley went toe-to-toe in Bargoed with 19-year-old Gallagher, the ten-time Irish champion who is planning to turn professional.
“We started [sparring]nice and early, it’s just preliminary stuff and getting going,” Cleverley told BoxingWales.com.
“Conor [Quigley, Gallagher’s coach] phoned up and asked if he could bring his boy over. I’m fit now, so I thought “Why not? Lets get the rounds in” and it’s been good stuff. He’s a world class amateur.”
Before Jason Quigley won Irish and European titles in 2013, he and Conor traveled to Wales to spar Cleverley.
The relationship between the two camps developed through Darren Wilson, Cleverly’s trainer and the son of Irish parents who settled in the Rhondda valleys in the 1970’s.
In 2012, Quigley and Cleverley shared 18 rounds over three days.
Cleverly said: “We had Jason Quigley over a couple years ago, who was another top class amateur at the time, and he came because he want to learn off a professional like myself.
“That’s what Michael is doing too, we get good rounds done. These boys have quality timing, sharp movement and they me think and learn. It’s top class stuff and I benefit from it.”
Gallagher has recently been sparring London’s Frank Buglioni, who is due to challenge for the WBA Regular world super-middleweight title next month,.
The Kinletter native has won ten Irish titles at various age categories, a bronze medal from the 2014 Youth Olympics in China and he reached the quarter-finals of the World Youth Championships, losing to Cuba’s eventual winner Yordan Hernandez in Bulgaria.
Gallagher is also a European Schoolboy Championship bronze medalist.
Conor Quigley said: “You can’t buy the experience of training and working with the best light heavyweight in the world. Michael is over the moon to be learning his trade from one of the best punchers in the business.”