Welshman Nathan Cleverly rounded off a highly frustrating week by stopping late replacement Aleksy Kuziemski in the fourth round at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday night.
Unbeaten Cleverly, 22-0, had been scheduled to face WBO light-heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer but last Thursday the German pulled out because of injury. He was then replaced by Liverpool’s Tony Bellow, who in turn failed to make the weight, leaving Kuziemski, now 21-3, to step in at short notice. The week was not a total write off, though, for the 24 year-old as he was promoted to full WBO champion following Braehmer’s no show.
As expected, Cleverly, was determined to impress after the frustrations of last week and it was Kuziemski who suffered. Cleverly unloaded with fast, accurate combinations in the opening round, which pretty much set the pattern for the fight.
By the end of the second round there was blood gushing from the nose of Kuziemski, as the Welshman’s punches rained in thick and fast but credit to the late challenger, he stuck in there and tried to make a fight of it. Kuziemski even shook Cleverly with a left hook counter in the third round. Cleverly recovered and by the end of the third and was back on track again.
A cut opened by the left eye of Kuziemski in the fourth session and almost immediately referee Mark Nelson took a look and waved the fight off after 1.47 of the round..
Speaking to Radio5 afterwards Cleverly said; "I felt it was my destiny tonight.
"Ever since I first put the gloves on when I was 11 this was the night I’ve been dreaming of. Now I’ll say Nathan Cleverly is the light-heavyweight champion of the world."
When asked if the fight was stopped prematurely by the referee, Cleverly added: "I thought if the ref had kept it going on a little bit longer I would have put him on the canvas," he added.
"But the ref stepped in. That doesn’t matter to me now."
May 21, 2011