Cleary’s ABC boxer Lewis Williams suffered a split-decision defeat to old foe Natty Ngwenya on his Great Britain debut at the GB Boxing Championships.
Boxing at the English Institute of Sport Sheffield in front of the BBC cameras, Williams edged the first round against Ngwenya, 28, who he has beaten in two of their previous three meetings.
However, the 18-year-old abandoned his jab in the second and third rounds, allowing the Army boxer to dictate and Ngwenya deservedly gained the verdict to earn himself an assessment to join the GB Boxing squad.
Williams’ defeat was the only loss on the night for Great Britain but Cleary’s head coach Edwin Cleary said the teenager will be better for the experience.
“If Lewis had stuck to what he did in the first round he would have won,” said Cleary.
“But he tried to impress, throwing big rights and left hooks.
“He said it didn’t but I think the occasion got to him a little bit.
“He didn’t box to the best of his ability but one fight won’t define his Great Britain career.
“[Anthony Joshua’s coach] Rob McCracken said a boy had gone in with a man and done really well.
“I think things are going in the right direction.”
There was another defeat for a Cleary’s boxer on Monday evening when Jake Finch suffered a split-decision loss to Jake Locke in the National Amateur Boxing Championships (formerly the CYPs) in Gateshead.
Locke was last season’s Merseyside and Cheshire Elite ABA champion.
“He boxed a good kid, we can’t moan about it,” said Cleary.
Morgan Ansell’s fight against England team-mate Savannah Stubbly will need to be rescheduled after Stubbly’s camp claimed to have no knowledge of the bout, due to take place in Bristol last Sunday.