Boxing


Top Welterweight Contender Joshua Clottey Back In Action Next Week

by James Slater: You've got to hand it to Bronx welterweight Joshua Clottey. The man does keep himself active. After already having earned himself a shot at the IBF 147 pound crown currently held by Puerto Rico's Kermit Cintron, with a points win over the unbeaten Shamone Alvarez last December, Clottey could be forgiven for sitting back and waiting. But no, the 31 year old who was born in Accra, Ghana takes another fight next Thursday in Brooklyn, New York when he boxes the capable Mexican Jose Luis Cruz..

The action will take place on the same card as the light-middleweight battle between Yuri Foreman and Saul Roman, and will be televised on Versus. Clottey, 33-2(19) is an active fighter, who usually engages in a good three or four fights per year. 2008 is looking as though that work rate will remain for the top contender with the proven chin and durability. Some fans may not have heard too much about Joshua, but those who have seen him box know he is without doubt world class. With wins over the late, great Diego Corrales, Felix Flores and Alvarez to his credit, along with a competitive points loss to former world champion Antonio Margarito, the tough Clottey could well reign himself one day soon.

As he awaits the Cintron-Margarito rematch situation to play itself out, however, the Bronx native keeps himself sharp against the 34-3-2(27) from Mexico. Cruz, who has never been stopped, has been in with the likes of Shane Mosley and Carlos Baldomir - losing a decision to "Sugar" and earning himself a 12 round draw with "Tata." He is, therefore, both a quality and durable opponent for Clottey.

At this stage in his career, with a second world title shot earned for some time in the future, every fight is a potentially risky one for Clottey. With so much on the line each and every time he boxes, the 31 year old must make sure he doesn't blow his upcoming chance at the IBF belt by losing in the meantime. But then again, if Joshua were to be wrapped in cotton wool while he awaits his title fight he'd run the risk of becoming ring rusty. This is the dilemma he faces while waiting for the eventual IBF champion he will face.

Clottey, obviously prefers the keep active plan, and for that he should be applauded. For not only is he keeping busy, he is doing so against more than decent opposition. Jose Luis Cruz, 31 years of age like Clottey, figures to give the top contender a good ten rounds of work next week in Brooklyn - with the African keeping his date with the IBF champ very much alive after picking up a points win.

Article posted on 29.03.2008



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