Cleverly lands Uzelkov title defence
Uzelkov, the 33-year-old Ukrainian, has a 27-2 professional record, with 16 knockout victories. He lost a wide points decision to Beibut Shumenov, the WBA king, in 2010 on the only other occasion he has attempted to win a world title.
He was also unsuccessful during a shot at the European crown earlier this year, but is ranked ninth by the WBO, fourth by the WBA and seventh by the IBF. As an amateur, he faced David Haye at the 2001 World Championships in Belfast, losing on points in the semi-final.
“Uzelkov’s ranked in the top ten of three of the major governing bodies and has already mixed it with Shumenov for the world title so I know he’ll be a hard defence for me,” Cleverly said.
“I’ve seen some of his fights already and he looks strong and [likes to] come forward which will be perfect for me.”
Cleverly has made three defences of the WBO strap so far, against Aleksy Kuziemski, Tony Bellew and Tommy Karpency.
Frank Warren, Cleverly’s promoter, has vowed to put the Welshman in against a few more recognisable names post-Uzelkov. “It’s proved frustrating as we had [Bernard] Hopkins lined up and then he pulled out, and Shumenov didn’t want to come over here to fight Cleverly, plus [Carl] Froch and Bellew didn’t want to know,” he said.
“While we look to make these fights Cleverly has got to keep busy as he hasn’t fought since February – and Uzelkov is a tough title defence for him.”
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