WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly returns to action on Saturday 17th August when he headlines at the Cardiff Motorpoint Arena in Wales.
The unbeaten Welshman will make the sixth defence of his title and he will have the added incentive of making a big impression in America as TV giants HBO will broadcast his fight.
Cleverly, 25, hopes that his challenger will be the sledge-hammer hitting Russian sensation Sergey Kovalev who is undefeated in 21 fights, 1 draw, and 19 knockouts - 18 of those coming inside three rounds. His latest victim was Cornelius White last Saturday night, whom he decked three times on-route to a third round stoppage.
Promoter Frank Warren has agreed his side of the deal with HBO for Cleverly to fight Kovalev, but it is now down to Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva from Main Events to put pen to paper and sign for the fight with a confirmation either way expected later today.
The Welshman last defended his title in April, defeating mandatory challenger Robin Krasniqi at Wembley Arena in London and throwing in excess of a 1000 punches over the 12 rounds to win a unanimous decision.
Cleverly is thrilled to return to the Welsh capital to defend his title there for the second time as a world champion after defeating American challenger Tommy Karpency in front of packed crowd at the Motorpoint Arena in February last year.
“It’s fantastic to come back to Cardiff in front of my home fans and defend my title,” said Cleverly. “The atmosphere was electric last time against Karpency and I gave the fans a great show, but it will be even better against Kovalev if he agrees to fight me. I want Kovalev because he’s very dangerous, he can bang and the Americans are excited by him. I want challenges in my career and Kovalev will give me that, I’d be excited to go in against a huge puncher and test my chin and heart. But we’ll see if he fancies his chances or not.”
Warren added, “Everything is done my side with HBO, it’s now down to Kathy Duva and Main Events if they are serious and want Kovalev to fight Cleverly. The date, venue and tickets are all confirmed, so the ball is now in their court and if they are confident in their man’s ability. This is the fight that will make Cleverly’s name against the big-punching Russian, but I see Cleverly’s great chin and fantastic work-rate taking him to victory. It reminds me a lot of Joe Calzaghe’s fight against Jeff Lacy when Lacy was the next big thing in America and was knocking everybody out until he met Calzaghe. We’ll find out later today if he wants the fight.”
The show will also feature Swansea’s Enzo Maccarinelli who will challenge for a light-heavyweight championship title on the card as he builds towards a second world title shot. The former WBO Cruiserweight Champion has won a British title at light-heavyweight and controversially lost to Ovill McKenzie in a Commonwealth title challenge, but is determined to give it one last shot.
The undercard features some of the best young Welsh prospects including Blackwood super-featherweight Craig Evans; Tonypandy welterweight Lewis Rees and Clydach Vale middleweight Liam Williams. All are unbeaten and will shortly be challenging for their first titles.
Francis Luke Robinson, son of former WBO World Featherweight Steve, will meet Dagenham’s Ediz Hussein over four rounds, plus Maesteg middleweight Aled Cook will make his professional debut on the show.
June 18, 2013