Nathan Cleverly Wants “Big Names,” Wants To Unify The Light-Heavyweight Titles
By James Slater: Though unbeaten Welshman Nathan Cleverly never got the big fight he wanted last night in London, the WBO light-heavyweight champ aims to get the mega-fights in the near future. Coming through last night against late replacement of a late replacement, Aleksy Kuziemski, the Pole being a sub for Tony Bellew who was to have replaced original foe Juergen Braehmer, “Clev” scored a 4th-round TKO win - the first defence of his WBO belt.
Article posted on 22.05.2011
Happy at the way he was able to remain focused after a hectic few days that saw two opponents fall out, the 24-year-old wants now to get it on with the big names of the sport. Speaking to Sky Sports after last night’s win - his 22nd with 11 KO’s - the maths graduate talked of future fights with the likes of Bernard Hopkins, Tavoris Cloud and others.
“I’ll fight whoever, whatever is out there for me,” Cleverly said. “There are some big names on my radar. I’ve spoken with Frank [Warren] and we’ve mentioned one or two defences. Bernard Hopkins, Jean Pascal, Tavoris Cloud is another big American name. They are the fights I want to be involved in.”
Though a chance at Hopkins’ Ring magazine and WBC titles looks unlikely for the time being (Chad Dawson seems to be next in line for B-Hop), a fight with IBF ruler Tavoris Cloud could conceivably be made. Cloud must get past the tough and experienced Yusaf Mack next, but the exiting Floridian has spoken in the past about taking on Cleverly.
Never in a dull fight, Cloud told this writer that Cleverly “better put down the drugs if he thinks he can beat me,” and it would be interesting indeed to see if Cleverly could make Cloud eat his words. Whether in the U.S or in the U.K, this match-up would attract the fans.
Pascal, coming off his loss to Hopkins, could also look Cleverly’s way, perhaps seeing his WBO belt as a title worth going for. Hopkins is clearly the top dog at 175, but will he still be around when Cleverly is in a position to fight for the Ring magazine belt? Does the majestic Hopkins even know who Cleverly is?
It sure would be some coup for Frank Warren if he were to somehow entice Hopkins into coming over to the U.K to fight Cleverly. B-Hop has never fought in the U.K before and it would be some great night for fans on this side of the pond if he agreed to do so next year. Hopkins is always on the look out for a new challenge; maybe the idea of a fight in the U.K, against an unbeaten young champion, would inspire him.
Hopkins was wiling to come to Wales to fight a return fight with Joe Calzaghe. Cleverly fancies himself as the new Calzaghe, and maybe he would be able to repeat “The Pride of Wales’” 2008 win?
In other action on the card:
Frankie Gavin UD 12 Young Mutley
Jamie Cox TKO 3 Marcus Portman
Paul Smith TKO 1 Jozsef Matolcsi
Billy Joe Saunders TKO 2 Kevin Hammond
Nicky Cook TKO 6 Youssef Al Hamidi
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