Clay Waterman had boxed all around the world as an beginner. The 27-year-old gentle heavyweight prospect had traded punches in Germany, Poland, China and Serbia, and even turned the primary Australian to win an beginner world championship when he received gold on the 2011 AIBA World Junior Championships in Kazakhstan.
This Friday, Waterman will get a brand new stamp on his boxing passport when he faces fellow unbeaten gentle heavyweight prospect Kenmon Evans in an eight-round bout on the Turning Stone Resort and On line casino in Verona, N.Y. The combat will open up a ShoBox: The New Technology triple header, starting at 9 p.m. ET.
“That is one thing that I’ve at all times dreamed of ever since I began boxing as a younger child,” stated Waterman (10-0, 8 knockouts) of Logan Metropolis, Australia, a metropolis of over 340,000 which sits in between Brisbane and the Gold Coast in Queensland state. “I really feel prefer it’s someplace that I belong. I can’t wait to get in there.”
For Waterman, nothing affirmed that he belonged fairly like sharing a hoop with the division’s unified titleholder. Waterman spent three weeks in Montreal final December, sparring between 30 to 40 rounds whole with Artur Beterbiev as he ready for his IBF/WBO/WBC gentle heavyweight title protection in opposition to Anthony Yarde.
“Ever since working with him, I’ve gained a complete new stage of confidence. I really feel prefer it’s someplace that I’m meant to be. I’m meant to be shifting and dealing with the highest stage folks on the earth. That’s not Australia, that’s right here,” stated Waterman, who’s of Aboriginal, Maori and European descent.
Waterman’s exhibiting in camp impressed many within the gymnasium, together with Beterbiev’s assistant coach John “The Iceman” Scully.
“I used to be very impressed together with his angle, willpower and his world class jab. I instantly thought that if given an opportunity he might blossom right into a particular world class fighter,” stated the boxing veteran Scully, who will work Waterman’s nook alongside his father, Mark, who trains Clay out of the shed of their yard.
Waterman has been in fight sports activities since he first turned faculty aged. A self-described “aggressive and feisty child,” his dad and mom enrolled him in martial arts when he was 5, earlier than he picked up boxing at age 9. Waterman says he knew he wished to be a fighter from the primary time he stepped within the ring.
He’d step within the ring one other 159 instances as an beginner, going a reported 147-13 in a embellished beginner run that noticed him earn bronze on the 2018 Commonwealth Video games, amongst different accolades.
He got here up simply in need of making Australia’s 2020 Olympic squad after he misplaced a break up determination to Paulo Aokuso within the finals of the Olympic trials.
“I feel there was a lot extra potential in my beginner profession, however we’ll blame the politics for that. All the pieces occurs for a cause. I’m knowledgeable now and that’s all that issues,” stated Waterman, who lists Mike Tyson, Roy Jones Jr. and Julian Jackson as his favourite boxers.
Inside months, he made his skilled debut, stopping Ethan Andrell after the primary in February of 2020. His exercise could be slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic which went world the next month. He made up for that lull with 5 wins in 2022, and received the Australian gentle heavyweight title in his final combat, stopping Mark Lucas in 5 rounds in March.
With nothing additional to show at residence, supervisor Brendan Bourke says the plan is to go the place the motion is.
“We’re positively seeking to come to the U.S. thrice a yr to combat,” stated Bourke.
His first take a look at stateside comes in opposition to Evans (10-0-1, 3 KOs), a 31-year-old from Port Orange, Fla. who additionally fought twice for Naked Knuckle Combating Championship. Evans, who’s promoted by Worldwide Boxing Corridor of Fame inductee Christy Martin, has received seven straight since his lone profession blemish, a draw in opposition to David Murray in 2016.
Waterman says he is aware of little or no about his opponent, aside from he’d favor to win than lose. What he does know is that getting an opportunity to showcase his abilities on premium cable might garner him consideration from the influential promoters who can lead him to the alternatives each boxer covets.
“We’re seeking to make some statements and get a bit of publicity with TV air time after which we’re gonna speak to promoters which might be . If we’re going to signal with somebody we wish a promoter that’s extremely eager about Clay,” stated Bourke.
Bourke is assured that promoters and tv executives will like what they see on Friday.
“Clay’s type is thrilling, very explosive, he’s acquired energy in each arms. He has a really fluid type of boxing,” stated Bourke.
“Most of all I feel he’s gonna be an entertainer, due to his energy.”
Ryan Songalia has written for ESPN, the New York Each day Information, Rappler and The Guardian, and is a part of the Craig Newmark Graduate Faculty of Journalism Class of 2020. He might be reached at [email protected].