Custio Clayton is under new management and hopes it takes him to his goal to fight for a world boxing title.
Clayton (12-0, 9 knockouts) will fight under the InterBox banner for the first time on Saturday night when he takes on Argentine veteran Cristian Coria (27-5-2) on the undercard of the World Boxing Organization middleweight title bout between David Lemieux of Laval, Que., and British champion Billy Joe Saunders at the Place Bell arena in Laval, Que.
The North Preston, N.S., native, a 2012 Canadian Olympian, spent nearly three years with Group Yvon Michel, a company that looks to be bleeding talent with Clayton leaving and recently crowned International Boxing Federation light heavyweight champ Artur Beterbiev in court for a ruling on whether his contact with them remains valid.
Clayton will be fighting for the WBO International welterweight title that was vacated by top contender Lucas Matthysse. Currently ranked 15th by the WBO, he could rise into the top 10 with a victory and move closer to a challenge for the title currently held by Jeff Horn, the Australian who claimed the championship belt with a victory in July over boxing star Manny Pacquiao.
"I feel great," the 30-year-old Clayton said Friday after the weigh-in. "I'm just glad I'm on a card like this.
"David Lemieux and Saunders is a big card."
InterBox, once Canada's top boxing company, is now run by what appears to be the new leader — Eye of the Tiger Management, led by Camille Estaphan.
Clayton left GYM under mutual agreement and said he is grateful to them for getting his pro career started.
'I just have to be patient,' says Clayton
It wasn't the smoothest start with InterBox. The first two opponents scheduled, Gabriel Ledesma and former world champion Carlos Modina, dropped out. The 35-year-old Coria's record shows plenty of experience but a tendency to lose to top talent.
"It ain't nothing that I've never been in front of," said Clayton. "I'm not too worried.
"I know he's got a lot of experience. I just have to be patient and be myself."
His trainer Daniel Trepanier agrees.
"Custio is a way better boxer but the guy comes with a decent record," said Trepanier. "He's a tough guy.
"Custio will have to apply his boxing and knowledge in the ring and it should go well for him."
World title hopes for late 2018, early 2019
The goal is to get Clayton into position to fight for a world title by the end of 2018 or early in 2019. They hope a new promoter will find fights against the right opponents to get there.
"The main thing we're asking is to be in the ring, to get fights," said Trepanier. "Now that's what we have.
"Let's say we wanted to go a little faster and now we have that opportunity."