This past Saturday, Nathan Cleverly fifth defense of his WBO-light heavyweight title ended in disaster as he suffered a crushing fourth-round knockout defeat against Kovalev at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff. Cleverly is still coming to terms with this devastating defeat and has suggested there might be some major changes after losing his unbeaten record.

Kovalev has 20 stoppages in his 22 wins and Cleverly’s granite chin could not withstand his concussive power. Cleverly was floored twice in the third round and revealed that the punches felt like being hit with a ‘hammer’.

He told Boxing News: “I suppose I wasn’t surprised because with his record it was inevitable that he was a banger and every shot he threw was a thudding shot. It was like a hammer. He wasn’t rapid fast, he had good timing, good distance and his punches were just so hard … His jab, his right hand. Just when he caught you on the shoulder he would have an impact and he was just clubbing me.”



nathan cleverly (4)

“I will have a holiday now and recover and see where I go from here and see what I want to do in life now,” dethroned former WBO light heavyweight champion Cleverly told the BBC after his devastating KO loss to heavy-hitting Sergey Kovalev. “I will go away and live a normal life for a bit now. Just leave boxing for a bit – it has been an intense period. You know six weeks into that where you want to go. Your instincts tell you if you are missing boxing, or are you going to find another career path. Who knows where my heart is going to lie?”

Promoter Frank Warren stated to the Daily Mail that there’s no reason Cleverly can’t come back. “It’s early days. We’ll let him have a break. It’s all a bit raw at the moment so we’ll have a chat in a few weeks and see where we go…at this stage I’m not even thinking about a rematch. The most important thing now is for him to go and have a holiday and when he comes back we’ll chat and see what is the way forward…he’s only 26 years of age and it’s not the end of the world. Worse fighters than Nathan have lost and come back and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t do. But he’s got to learn from it and we’ll see where we go from there.”



Sergey Kovalev (born on April 2, 1983) is a Russian professional boxer from Chelyabinsk, Russia but based in Florida. He is the current light heavyweight WBO champion and is known for his devastating punching power. He is signed with Main Events and trained by John David Jackson.

Kovalev started his career with a first round TKO of Daniel Chavez at the Greenboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina.   He has since gone on to record 21 wins (19 by KO) with one fight ending in a draw as a result of a technical decision.   On 17th August 2013 he fought Nathan Cleverly for the WBO light heavyweight title, winning by 4th round TKO.


  • Record: 215 fights, 193 wins
  • 2000 Russian Junior Championships Silver medalist at Light Welterweight
  • 2001 Russian Junior Championships Silver medalist at Middleweight
  • 2004 Russian Championships Silver medalist at Middleweight, losing to Matvey      Korobov
  • 2005 Russian Championships Gold medalist at Middleweight
  • 2007 Russian Championships Bronze medalist at Light Heavyweight, losing      to Artur      Beterbiev
  • 2008 Russian Championships Silver medalist at Light Heavyweight
  • 2005 World Military Championships Gold medalist at Light Heavyweight,      in Pretoria, South Africa
  • 2006 World Military Championships Silver medalist at Light Heavyweight,      in Warendorf, Germany
  • 2007 World Military Championships Gold medalist at Light Heavyweight,      in Hyderabad, India


Nathan CleverlyNathan Cleverly stumbles against Sergey Kovalev during their WBO light-heavyweight title fight in Cardiff. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA

• Welsh fighter Cleverly stopped in fourth round
• Sergey Kovalev impresses US television audience

Nathan Cleverly’s unbeaten record went up in smoke as impressive Russian Sergey Kovalev took his WBO light-heavyweight title off him with a destructive fourth-round stoppage in Cardiff.

The 26-year-old Welshman had been seeking unification fights in the US and was under pressure to impress an American audience, with Saturday’s fight at the Motorpoint Arena being televised across the Atlantic.

Kovalev tore up the script by flooring Cleverly twice in the third round and soon forcing a stoppage. Odds makers had struggled to split the pair before what promised to be the hardest of Cleverly’s six world title defences.

The Florida-based Kovalev, 30, went into the fight with a 21-0-1 record and already has a following in the US with many fancying him to snatch Cleverly’s world title in the Cefn Fforest man’s backyard.

Mathematics graduate Cleverly started with the knowledge that Kovalev had a taste for quick knockouts. Indeed, the eastern European challenger was looking to land big right hands from the first minute and won the opening round quite clearly.

Cleverly was busy but made few inroads, despite somehow opening a cut over the challenger’s right eye. Kovalev, meanwhile, was successfully deploying the jab followed by a driven right hand on a regular basis.

Cleverly landed a decent shot of his own towards the end of the second which was his only real moment of success up to that point. He was rocked badly by a left and went down moments later from a clubbing right. He rose to his feet but was unsteady and moments later he was down from another right to the head, made worse by Kovalev hitting him again as he sank to one knee.

He was out on his feet again and the referee Terry O’Connor was poised to stop it, only for the bell to save the Briton.

Kovalev went for it in the fourth and unleashed as many power shots as he could muster. A right and hooking left sent Cleverly wobbly again 29 seconds into the round and O’Connor this time decided enough was enough.

Cleverly’s record reads 26-1, with 12 knockouts while the fearsome Kovalev moves to 22-0-1, with 20 knockouts.

The new champion said: “I came here and nobody believed I beat their champion but everywhere else in the world they knew already how good I was.

“I knew he couldn’t take my power. The fact the fight was televised on HBO in the United States was very important for me.”

On the undercard, Liverpool’s Stephen Smith stopped Gary Buckland with a seething short right uppercut in the fifth to leave the Welsh champion out cold and win the British super-featherweight title.

The Swansea favourite Enzo Maccarinelli won the Commonwealth light-heavyweight belt from Ovill McKenzie with an uppercut of his own in the 11th round to inject new life into his career. PA



Date:  August 7, 2013

Title:  WBO Lt. Heavyweight Title

Location:  Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom

Promoter:  Frank Warren Promotions

Supervisor:   John Duggan

Referee:   Terry O’Connor

Judges:   Alfredo Polanco, Jose Ignacio Martinez and Zoltan Enyedi

Results:    Sergey Kovalev obtained the WBO Lt. Heavyweight Title against Nathan Cleverly.



By Karl Freitag
Photo: Eoin Mundow/SEEN Sport Magazine –

In a much anticipated clash between unbeaten light heavyweights, power-punching KO artist Sergey Kovalev (22-0-1, 20 KOs) demolished and dethroned WBO champion Nathan Cleverly (26-1, 12 KOs) on Saturday night at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales. Kovalev was the aggressor, but was cut over the right eye in round two. Kovalev dropped Cleverly twice with hard shots in round three and referee Terry O’Connor carried Cleverly to his corner at the bell. Kovalev dropped Cleverly again in round four and the bout was waved off at :21.

Kovalev said “This is my dream! I will add this belt to my collection,” he joked, with a big smile on his face, “There are many people in Russia and around the world who supported me. This is for them.”

Jubilant Kathy Duva, Main Events CEO, Kovalev’s promoter said, “Sergey did everything we expected him to do tonight and more.” She added, ” There is a reason we call him ‘Krusher,’ and he showed why tonight. He is the Russian Wrecking Ball and I will call on HBO Monday to start planning his next fight!”

In a rematch, former WBO cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli (37-6, 29 KOs) scored an eleventh round TKO over Commonwealth light heavyweight titleholder Ovill McKenzie (21-12, 10 KOs). A gut-check war of attrition ended when Maccarinelli cracked McKenzie with a left uppercut that put McKenzie out on his feet propped up only by the corner. Time was 2:44. Their first fight last year was a controversial TKO2 win for McKenzie when referee Ian John-Lewis suddenly stopped the fight even though Maccarinelli wasn’t hurt. No question about this stoppage (made by Chisora-Scott referee Phil Edwards).

Super featherweight Stephen Smith (17-1, 10 KOs) sensationally knocked out reigning British beltholder Gary Buckland (27-3, 9 KOs) with a clean right uppercut in round five. Buckland went down face first and stayed down. Time was 1:41. The Joe Gallagher-trained Smith is now British 130lb champion.

Unbeaten welterweight Lewis Rees (8-0, 5 KOs) outpointed Dee Mitchell (9-41-2, 2 KOs), sweeping all eight rounds by a 80-72 score. Mitchell is 0-36-1 sine his last win in 2009.

Unbeaten lightweight Craig Evans (10-0, 3 KOs) won a tediously boring eight rounder against Youssef Al Hamidi (12-57-3, 1 KO). Scored 80-73. Al Hamidi is now 1-16-1 in his last 18.


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Richard Maynard/Frank Warren Prom./By:  Scott Christ –

The weights were all good today in Cardiff, and Nathan Cleverly and Sergey Kovalev are ready to rumble.

Nathan Cleverly and Sergey Kovalev are set to go for tomorrow’s WBO light heavyweight title clash in Cardiff, Wales, which will be broadcast live on BoxNation and on tape delay in the United States by HBO.

Cleverly (26-0, 12 KO) weighed in at 174 pounds, with Kovalev (21-0-1, 19 KO) at 173, both under the 175-pound limit. This will be Cleverly’s fifth defense of the title, which he won in full in 2011. It’s the first world title shot for Kovalev, a Russian fighter who is now based in the United States and promoted by Main Events.

BLH will have live coverage tomorrow afternoon starting at 2:00 pm EDT, with the full BoxNation-televised card part. In the chief support bout, Gary Buckland will defend the British super featherweight title against Stephen Smith, with the fighters weighing in at 128 and 130 pounds, respectively. Also on the card, Ovill McKenzie (174) will face Enzo Maccarinelli (174) in a rematch for the Commonwealth light heavyweight title.




If looks could kill: Nathan Cleverly and Sergei Kovalev go head to head at the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff


Nathan Cleverly is predicting an explosive defence of his WBO light heavyweight world title against Russian Sergey Kovalev in a fight he has dubbed the most important of his career.

Cleverly, 26, will put his 26-0 unbeaten record on the line against the formidable power of Kovalev, who has secured 19 of his 21 professional wins via knockout, with 18 of those coming within three rounds.

Saturday’s Cardiff bout presents a potential stumbling block for Cleverly – Kovalev is the bookmakers’ favourite – and is a considerable step up from his last title defence in Cardiff, where he secured a convincing unanimous points decision victory over Tommy Karpency.

Frank Warren has admitted he has taken a risk but, with a contract with American cable network HBO on offer should Cleverly win on Saturday, fighter and promoter believe it is a gamble worth taking.

Cleverly said: ‘It is going to be great on home soil, the fight is almost sold out. It is going to be very special.

‘It is going to be a great fight, we like to fight on the front foot and it is going to be explosive.

‘It is the most important fight of my career, potentially the best fight of my career as well. Potentially the best opponent I have faced so this is a tremendous fight.’

Warren added: ‘It was Nathan who wanted this fight, he suggested it to me in a meeting we had a few months ago in London. Having been involved with Nathan from day one, this is a fight which can project him into some real big-money fights.

‘It’s simple. If he wins he winds up with a contract with HBO, which means big paydays, so he has everything to gain from this one and he knows how important it is.


From Russia with glove: Kovalev has won 18 of his 21 bouts via knockout in the first three rounds

‘It is a fight he wanted, it is a fight he has got. I feel he can win, it will be tough. We have a lot of respect for Sergey, I have seen a lot of his fights on film, but in Nathan we have someone special.

‘This will propel him into the big time if he wins it. It is a big risk but all fights at this level are a risk.’

He added: ‘I think this could be a candidate for fight of the year. I don’t care what anyone says, we have not picked any easy jobs here, this is two good boxers and there is going to be an explosion.’

nathan cleverly (5)Dad’s army: Cleverly’s father and trainer Vince believes his son has ‘the artillery to blow up that tank’

Cleverly’s father and trainer Vince has no doubt his son will emerge victorious at the Motorpoint Arena, and praised Nathan’s attitude.

‘Whatever the Russian tank brings for Nathan, I think Nathan has the artillery to blow up that tank,’ he said.

‘It won’t be easy but I only see one winner. Nathan has trained like the challenger, not the champion and he definitely wants to win this fight to bring on Bernard Hopkins.’

Kovalev chose to keep his counsel simply saying: ‘Who knows what will happen, but we will find out on Saturday night.’


nathan cleverly (12)

For some time now, WBO light heavyweight king Nathan Cleverly has been putting himself on offer as the finest 175lb prizefighter on this planet. On Saturday evening, at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena in his native Wales the 26-year-old from Cefn Fforest finally gets his chance to convince others of the veracity of his claim when he makes a sixth defense of his belt against formidable Russian Sergey Kovalev (21-0-1, 19 KOs). When Cleverly spoke with boxing writer Glynn Evans, the champion was adamant that he was physically and psychologically primed to meet the challenge.

Reflecting on your comprehensive points win over mandatory challenger Robin Krasniqi in April, what aspects of the performance pleased you? And what were you not so happy with?

I think it was one on the most complete performances of my career. I’d give myself at least eight out of ten.At times I boxed very nicely, stuck to my game plan and avoided being reckless. Krasniqi was a decent challenger yet I got hit very little. But there’s still a few little things I need to brush up on. I hurt Krasniqi early on, saw his knees dip, but when I opened up, I threw speedy flurries when I might have been better served setting my feet and unloading with power shots. Other times, I left myself a little open to right hands because my left lead got a little lazy. To be fair, Krasniqi was very sharp but I’ll certainly need to correct that against a puncher like Kovalev.

It’s expected for world champions to talk of unification but you actually seem ready now. In what ways do you perceive that you’ve improved as a fighter since you first acquired the WBO (interim) belt two and a half years ago?

I believe my progress has been very satisfying. My last few fights have been particularly good learning experiences for a future on the top world stage. For a start, I’ve matured with age. I’m more controlled and focussed both in training and in the fight. My attitude is better. I’ve left behind that studenty lifestyle. Big fights beckon and people are gunning for me. Consequently, I’ve become a lot more serious about my boxing. I’m also fitter and I’ve now acquired my man strength. I can really feel that now when I’m in the ring. People go on about my supposed level of opposition but I’ve beaten Bellew who’s mandatory at the WBC. I’ve beaten Murat who’s now mandatory to Hopkins at the IBF. Now I’m facing Kovalev who’s rated second at the WBO after I’ve just dispensed with my mandatory (Krasniqi). I honestly feel I’m now ready for anyone in the division.

What motivates you most; scalps, belts or money?

Probably beating the big names. It depends who holds the belts. I badly want Bernard Hopkins. If his IBF belt was on the line that would be ideal but even if he was stripped I think I’d prefer that fight to a unifier with one of the other champions. But the other belts certainly interest me. I really want to unify all the titles and be recognised as the undisputed number one in the division. When that happens I’ll feel fulfilled, that my time in boxing is complete. If I achieve that, the financial security should follow automatically. Since I was a kid, I’ve worked really hard with the boxing so it’d be nice to reap the material rewards and know that all the graft was worthwhile.

Tony Bellew and Carl Froch have been mooted as potential future opponents. How do you think they’ll fare in their forthcoming world title fights with Adonis Stephenson and George Groves respectively?

I think Bellew beats Stephenson. He’s naturally a lot bigger. Adonis is just coming up from super-middle and is pretty short. Bellew should be able to outbox him. If he does win I’d certainly be interested in a rematch to unify the belts and establish myself as the main man in our division. I’ve already beat him comfortably enough in his home town and, I’ll do him again. Froch-Groves is a very interesting fight. George has the better skills and it wouldn’t surprise me if he starts cagily and frustrates Carl a bit. Carl might try too hard over the first half. But I’d still have Carl as favourite because of the momentum he’ll be bringing. He might just have a bit too much force, aggression and man strength down the stretch. I’d loved the Froch fight, but Carl’s a clever man. He knows I’m bigger, stronger, just as fit and far sharper. I don’t blame him for knocking me back.

Saturday’s fight coincides with your team Cardiff City’s return to the top flight of English soccer. Is that a good thing or bad thing for Nathan Cleverly?

It’s a good thing, definitely. For a start, their match away to West Ham will help occupy my mind on Saturday afternoon. Several of my last few fights have coincided with big City matches or Welsh rugby internationals and it breeds a feeling of togetherness in Wales; a team thing. It’s a big sporting weekend for the nation. Success breeds success. Thus far, touch wood, I’ve been a cog in some very successful sporting weekends for Wales. Hopefully that’ll continue come Saturday.

Saturday certainly represents your highest profile fight to date. HBO, BoxNation and First Channel (Russia) shall all broadcasting and a sizeable US media presence is also expected. Is it something you welcome or an unwanted distraction?

All the interest is good. It’s become a part of my job and I’ve learned to enjoy it more over time. As I’ve matured, I feel more in control, more relaxed about it. It’ll be good preparation for all the superfights I intend to have further down the line. All the hard training is done now. It’s time to relax. The last week is all fun and games. Us boxers can only do so many hours at the gym so we have a lot of free time on our hands. Fulfilling media obligations passes the time, fills spaces in my day.

The bookies have the fight pretty much ‘pick ‘em’. How important do you feel a boisterous Welsh crowd will prove in inspiring you, and unnerving Kovalev?

I don’t expect the home crowd will unduly affect Sergey too much because he comes across as a ‘no nonsense’ sort of character who just comes to fight. Don’t forget, he had a lot of international amateur experience. However, from my end, it’s always more comforting having the fans behind you. They’ll cheer every shot that lands, some that don’t, and it can have an influence. They also help to drive you on when it gets tough, particularly in the later stages. I’ve no doubt they will inspire me.

Enlighten us about your preparation. Have you needed to step up the intensity or experiment with anything new?

It’s gone really, really well and it’s a relief knowing that I’m going into such an important fight in such fantastic physical and mental health. Now it’s all about applying all that and executing my game plan under the spotlight and pressure of the big stage. For this camp, I’ve stayed local and stuck with the basics. My house and gym are close by and I got into a nice routine. For sparring, I’ve had Ovill McKenzie – a very dangerous puncher – plus a couple of strong powerful cruiserweights so nothing Kovalev brings should shock me unduly. One thing I’ve tweaked is I’ve heightened my attention to the tactics and game plan. It’s all been very specific whereas, previously, I’d just turn up and rely on my instincts on the night.

With 19 stoppages in 21 wins as a pro, Kovalev certainly arrives with a reputation as a formidable puncher. Will that make you more apprehensive than normal?

Not really, I don’t think. Knowing he’s so dangerous has certainly kept me on my toes in training but a bit of fear is great for motivation. Back in the amateurs, as a kid, I’d always seek out opponents with reputations for being bangers. I always wanted to prove myself and I always came out on top. When I started to become aware of the commotion building over Kovalev in the US, I said to Frank (Warren): ‘Go and get him for me.’ Knowing that he’s almost certainly going to come looking for me is a good thing; for me, for TV, for the fans at the venue. It’s going to be a proper fight. Him unloading will leave openings for me to exploit.

You appear to have a technical edge over Kovalev. However, you do like to get involved and excite the paying punters. Can you trust yourself to remain disciplined before a fanatical home crowd?

In preparation, we’ve focussed a lot on not going ‘gung ho’. However, now it’s up to me to prove I can stay calm and deliver on the night, under the roars. A few fights back, I might have struggled but now I believe I can keep my focus and do what’s right.

It’s a cracking, competitive match-up that’s split the trade on both sides of The Pond. How do you envisage the fight panning out and what gives you confidence that it’ll be your hand that get’s raised at the end?

I think it’s inevitable that there’ll be a lot of exchanges because we both like to let our hands go. It’s probable that we’ll both land frequently and it’ll be interesting to see how each of us react when the other lands. Will they withdraw into a shell or will they look to strike back? We both like to operate on the front foot so I doubt that this will be a cagey affair. I envisage an action packed, long fight. I’ll win because I bring the better all round package. Kovalev’s a banger who’s accurate and a decent boxer but, it terms of skill, speed, sharpness, fitness, speed chin, I beat this guy. I expect to stop him mid way to late.

And if you prevail, what do you hope that it will lead to?

Hopkins is definitely the way forward for me. An impressive victory on Saturday will open a heck of a lot of doors. Hopefully I’ll secure the US TV deal I need to make the biggest fights happen.



By John DiSanto – PhillyBoxingHistory.com
Photo: Gary Purfield –

Sergey Kovalev (21-0-1, 19 KOs), gets his first crack at a world title this Saturday when he meets Nathan Cleverly (26-0, 12 KOs), for the WBO light heavyweight title in a 12-round fight at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales. The fight appears to be an interesting boxer vs. puncher matchup between two unbeaten pros, and will be televised by HBO in a delayed broadcast (9:45PM Eastern). The stakes in the fight are high, given that the winner could be propelled into some very big opportunities with the stars of the 175-pound division. We caught up with Kovalev and his trainer John David Jackson by phone for the Q&A session.

How are things going in camp now that you are in the UK?

John David Jackson: This is our first week (here), but on fight night it will be two weeks total. Camp was good. Sergey is a professional and he’s already in shape when he gets to camp. That always makes it easier for us to do what we have to do and prepare for the fight.

Sergey Kovalev: It looks like we’ve already adjusted to the time zone. I can’t wait until Saturday to get on with it.

In June you won the IBF eliminator and became the #1 contender for Bernard Hopkins’ IBF Title, but jumped instead to this fight with Cleverly for the WBO title. Why?

Sergey Kovalev: The whole team, myself, the promoter Main Events, and my manager Egis Klimas, wasn’t sure the fight with Hopkins would ever happen. Because he can take a fight, he cannot take a fight. He might just fight somebody else. So chasing Hopkins would probably be a mistake. Instead of accepting a fight with Cleverly, which was already 100% confirmed.

John David Jackson: The Hopkins fight was a bigger, but who’s to say that fight would even happen at all. So the chance came for this fight, and his management thought it was the right time to take it. We took it and here we are.

What do you know about Cleverly’s style?

John David Jackson: I watched as much tape on Cleverly as I could. I had watched him previously because there was a time when he and Bernard (Hopkins) were going to fight. [Note: Jackson was Hopkins’ trainer for a period.] So I watched him. I’m not underestimating him, but he just does not impress me. He’s not a bad fighter. He’s not super quick, he’s not super slick, he’s not super strong. He just does things almost fundamentally well. There’s a lot of flaws in his game. So basically we have to expose the weaknesses that he has and capitalize on those. And snuff out his strengths, which are a decent jab, stamina, he’s able to throw a lot of punches during the fight. That’s pretty much what I see from this kid.

There has been a lot of talk out of the Cleverly camp.

John David Jackson: If you listen to him and his father talk, they are going to knock Sergey out in the first eight rounds, but you can’t bring a handgun in against an army. And that’s generally what he has. His clip is half loaded. So he’s in trouble right away. He has to be a real good boxer to really frustrate and avoid Sergey. Can he box? Yes. Is he a great boxer? No. He’s a very good boxer. If you don’t have the power to get the other man’s respect, you’re in trouble. And if he tries to slug, that’s right down our alley. If he goes against the grain and tries to do what he doesn’t do really well, then he’s putting himself in the lion’s den and in the line of fire. Either way, we see a victory by knockout or by decision.

What concerns do you have about the fight?

John David Jackson: I’m not underestimating him. He’s champion for a reason. He won it and he earned it. So we definitely have to give him the respect outside the ring beforehand. But once that bell rings, all respect leaves.

Are you concerned about fighting in Cleverly’s home country?

Sergey Kovalev: Not at all. No concerns. Absolutely not.

John David Jackson: I doubt it will affect Sergey at all. I don’t think the fans are going to bother him. All the singing and chanting (by the fans) doesn’t matter because Sergey doesn’t understand English well. So what does he care what they sing about? I doubt that the crowd will be a factor for him. All he sees is the opponent across the ring.

Kovalev is a puncher and Cleverly is a boxer. How do you think the fight will play out?

Sergey Kovalev: I am a boxer as well. I can box. I’m going to try to give him the best fight possible, and if I see an opportunity to knock him down, I will knock him down.

Do you think you will have to chase him?

Sergey Kovalev: Yes, I think he will try to run.

So how will you deal with that?

Sergey Kovalev: That’s my key on how I’m going to win the fight. So I’m not willing to discuss that right now.

This is your first world title fight. Does it feel any different? Are you nervous?

Sergey Kovalev: Before every single bout, I still have sports nervousness. Today I don’t feel any different from any other fight.

If you win this fight and become champion, there will be many big fights in your future, Hopkins, Stevenson, etc. Is there anyone you are looking forward to fighting after Cleverly?

Sergey Kovalev: I’m not thinking about that. Right now I’m thinking about Cleverly and fighting on Saturday night. That’s all that’s on my mind. I’ll think about that after the fight.

But light heavyweight is a good division to be in, right?

Sergey Kovalev: In the first place, I feel as though I’ve brought the division up. But yes, there are a lot of good fighters and challengers in the division.

John David Jackson: He stacks up well (against the other light heavyweights). When you talk about Hopkins, you’re talking about an old fighter. Hopkins has been beating these guys, but these guys aren’t smart fighters as of late. The last kid he beat, Cloud, didn’t even show up for that fight. He didn’t cut the ring off. He just followed an old man around the ring, and Bernard did what he wanted to do. You can’t let Bernard do that to you. Stevenson is dangerous. I trained Stevenson for a while. He’s very dangerous, but he’s lacking in basic fundamentals and defense. And his chin is suspect. So that would be a big fight down the road if Stevenson can stay champion for a while. But right now, let the pot simmer. There are plenty of good fights out there for him, but let’s get past Saturday. Then the door will open wide for him, and his management can make the fights for him to make the big money he deserves to make.

After your last fight you said you wanted your next fight to be on HBO against one of the champions. How does it feel now that that is happening?

Sergey Kovalev: My wishes came true.

Does it feel like this fight for the championship is coming at the right time for you?

John David Jackson: The timing is right. It’s become harder and harder to find opponents for Sergey. So when the chance for a world title comes, why not take it? So this one came at the right time for him. He’s ready for it now and he wants it. So it all played out well.

Sergey Kovalev: I’ve been waiting for this kind of fight for a long time. I went through all that, and right now I’m already in a place to show my boxing skills and show what I can do best.


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Nathan Cleverly Blog: Mon., Aug. 12 –

How did you get stared in boxing & who inspired you?

I was 11 years old when I became a boxer. It was in 1997 when I sat on the sofa with my Dad and we watched Joe Calzaghe become world champion, that’s when I knew it was for me. My parents took some persuading but they understood that it was what’s best for me, I was an ultra-competitive child and it led to a few scrapes and scraps on the streets.

I was brought up in an area called Phillipstown, it’s known by the locals as Monkey’s Island and it’s in the South Wales valleys. There were few facilities and even fewer opportunities, that’s why we produce so many fighters – nine world champion boxers have been born and bred in the valleys.

My upbringing was good, I have a strong family behind me and good set of values that kept me out of trouble, most of the time! From an early age, sport was the main focus in my life. When I was 15 I became Welsh cross county running champion and I’ve always been a good footballer, I’m active in other sports but it was boxing that took over my life.

I started my amateur career at 86lbs and finished at 152lbs, winning six consecutive Welsh amateur titles in a row and taking gold at the Four Nation Championships competing against the best of England, Scotland and Ireland. My amateur record consists of 32 wins from 36 fights and I was undefeated in my own country.

When I was 18 in 2005, I decided that I’d turn professional, I’d explored all options open to me in the amateurs so it was a step of natural progression and my style suited the pros. Education has always been important to me and my family, it was at this time that I started studying a degree in Pure Mathematics at Cardiff University. I knew a degree and boxing professionally at the same time wouldn’t be easy, nothing worth doing is but I’ve always loved a challenge.

Joe Calzaghe was local and our Dads knew each other from the music circuit, it was a natural link up. For a short period the gym had three world champions and a few more domestic title holders; it was a great grounding in what professional boxing is all about.

My Dad has always been by my side and in 2008 we made the decision for him to train me with assistance from one of my old amateur trainers, Alan Davies. It started a brilliant run of form, after winning the Commonwealth title I scored seven stoppages in a row, picking up a British and European title on the way.  By this time I’d put myself on the brink of a world title and it was only then that I graduated from university and could be a full time fighter.

At this point, my game had made great improvements and everything was falling in to place but the only piece missing was the world champion. It had taken a year to get Juergen Braehmer in the ring with me and when we thought we had him, he pulled out and I was awarded the title outside of the ring.

Since then I’ve defended my title five times; fighting in my opponents back yard, coming home to a sold out arena and going out to fight in America. We’ve tried making the big fights but the names have avoided me.

It’s been frustrating but this is a massive breakthrough fight me. I’m fighting the most dangerous in the division – Sergey Kovalev. The Russian is building a big reputation in America and his punch is even bigger. Nobody else wants to say Kovalev’s name, let alone fight him but I will beat him to show I am the best light-heavyweight in the world and I will force the big names to fight me.




By Nick Parkinson, courtesy of The Daily Star –

NATHAN CLEVERLY sees victory on Saturday as the gateway to global fame and fortune – but admits he starts as the underdog.

The Welshman’s sixth WBO world ­light-heavyweight title defence is his most dangerous yet against unbeaten Russian Sergey Kovalev, who has knocked out 19 of his 22 opponents.

Some even make Kovalev, 30, the favourite but Cleverly has likened the fight to his former sparring partner Joe Calzaghe’s 2006 points win over American Jeff Lacy.

Beating Lacy catapulted Calzaghe into the big time and big money.

Unbeaten Cleverly, now 26, believes claiming US-based Kovalev’s scalp at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena will earn him worldwide respect.

And he believes it will increase his profile as he strives to set up a clash with a rival world champion.

He said: “Joe’s fight with Lacy and mine with Kovalev, they’re both very similar scenarios. Joe just said to me, ‘It was the same with me and Lacy – and look what happened then’.

“It’s a big challenge for me and one I’m taking very seriously.

“It’s the breakthrough fight for me in the US and will hopefully bring the big fights against the likes of Bernard Hopkins.

“A stoppage or a late stoppage would make a massive statement.

“I’m not surprised Kovalev is the favourite – naturally, a lot of these guys come over from America with a lot of hype.

“In a lot of my fights I’ve been massively expected to win, this one I’m expected to lose and get taken out, so that’s inspired me in training, kept me on my toes and working hard.”


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CARDIFF, WALES – Nathan Cleverly, the WBO light heavyweight champion, poses alongside two deadly Russian agents at the Grosvenor Casino in Cardiff to promote his forthcoming fight against uneabten dangerous puncher Sergey Kovalev of Russia. Cleverly (26-0, 12KOs) will defend his title against Kovalev (21-0-1, 19KOs) on August 17th at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff. The match will be televised by HBO and BoxNation.

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WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly (26-0, 12 KOs) spoke to the press today about his showdown against Sergey Kovalev (21-0-1, 19 KOs) at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena. “August 17th can’t come quick enough for me,” said Cleverly. “Kovalev has built this reputation of fear for his devastating knockouts, which to anybody looks pretty impressive. When I saw the KOs it excited me and I said ‘I’ve got to have this guy.’ I’m actually looking forward to getting in the ring with him and seeing what he’s got. He’ll be looking to take my head clean off and I Iove that feeling of having the adrenalin surging around my body. I’ll have the fans watching in the arena and the viewers watching live on BoxNation in the UK and on HBO in America, it’s a lot of pressure, but I thrive off it and the better I’ll perform. He won’t be able to hit what he can’t see and I’ll be throwing five, six, seven punches to every one punch he throws. One things for sure this will be an exciting fight and I’ll have a new army of fans on both sides of the Atlantic after it.”

Cleverly defends his title for the sixth time against Kovalev.


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A press conference took place to officially announce the August 17th event, featuring WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly (26-0, 12KOs) in the main event, defending his title against undefeated challenger Sergey Kovalev (21-0-1, 19KOs) at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales. The fight will be packaged with HBO telecast of Daniel Geale defending his IBF middleweight title against Darren Barker in Atlantic City.

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By Scott Gilfoid:

WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly (28-0, 12 KO’s) says he’s willing to sacrifice weight by moving down in weight 7 pounds to whip IBF/WBA super middleweight champion Carl Froch (31-2, 22 KO’s) if he would only accept the fight so that he could get the job one on the 35-year-old Froch.

Cleverly said to walesonline.co.uk “I know I can beat Froch so I’m more than happy to move down a division to show people what I can do. It would be tough for me to move down, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to take.”

I hate to say it but I think Cleverly would beat Froch if that fight were to be made, even if Cleverly was a little weight drained.

I still think he’d handle Froch. If Mikkel Kessler was able to almost beat Froch without hardly throwing any punches in that fight, Cleverly would definitely do a job on him.

I hope Cleverly doesn’t hold his breath waiting for Froch to say yes to the fight with him because it’s probably not going to happen. Froch and his promoter Eddie Hearn’s excuse for not fighting Cleverly was that he would have to move up in weight to fight him, whether it be at a catch-weight or at the full 175 lb. weight for the division, and that would give Cleverly an advantage.

With Cleverly now saying he’d come down to fight Froch at 168, there shouldn’t be any more excuses to keep Froch from taking the fight.

I don’t see Froch saying yes to it because Cleverly is just too dangerous for him because he throws a lot of punches and he can take a good shot. Froch can’t throw a lot of punches and if his power has no effect on Cleverly, he’d lose and that’s what I think would happen.

Cleverly thinks a fight between him and Froch would attract a lot of interest in the UK. I think he’s right. It would attract a lot of attention and they might even be able to sell the fight on pay per view like Froch’s fight with Kessler last Saturday night.



WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly has offered Saturday’s winner, between Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler, a crack at his world title. Froch and Kessler will battle in a high stakes super middleweight unification in London. Cleverly helped Kessler with some sparring in training camp, as the Danish superstar wants to repeat his 2010 decision win over Froch.

“Whoever loses can always move up to light-heavyweight,” Cleverly told skysports.com. “If they want to move up and challenge me, there’s an opportunity waiting for them! He does have great momentum since their first fight and I think he goes into the second one as a slight favourite. I think the home crowd will be the difference though. They will get behind him and when the going gets tough in the later rounds, I believe that in itself will give Froch the advantage. I predict Froch is a close winner on points.”


Date: April 20, 2013

WBO Light Heavyweight Championship Title Bout

Location: Wembley Arena, Wembley, London, United Kingdom

Promoter:  Frank Warren

Referee:  Mark Nelson

Judges:  Denny Nelson (119-109), Zoltan Enyedi (120-108) and, Phil Edwards (120-108)

Supervisor:  Itsvan Kovacs

Results:   Nathan Cleverly retains his WBO Light-Heavyweight title by unanimous decision over Robin Krasniqi.


Nathan Cleverly produced his most disciplined performance on Saturday to retain his WBO world light-heavyweight title for the fifth time as he defeated mandatory challenger Robin Krasniqi by winning every round bar one on the cards of the three judges.

Frank Warren Promotions’ Rule Britannia has been delayed five weeks but Cleverly (12st 6lbs 8oz) hadn’t over-trained, he was as sharp as ever as he romped home to a 120-108, 119-109, 120-108 points win to improve his record to 26-0, 12KO.

Krasniqi (12st 5lbs) was handed his first defeat in seven years, leaving his record to 39-3, 15KO. The challenger had spent all week attempting to rile Cleverly, giving him a skirt reading “Princess” at the press conference but Cleverly laughed off the insult and even wore the skirt to weigh in and the coolness was reflected in the ring.

A short right wobbled Krasniqi half way through the opener but he survived a follow up attack, it was a sign of things to come. It wouldn’t be the only moment that Cleverly hurt the challenger who was unbeaten in 38 fights prior to this weekend; a right slip-uppercut in round four, left hooks to the pit of Krasniqi’s body in the round six and a flurry at the end of round ten also made their mark on the Serbian born German.

Krasniqi refused to fold and sent a few of his own reminders, most notably in the middle rounds, but Cleverly stuck to his game plan and made relative easy work of an opponent many were tipping to cause the Welshman some trouble.

Krasniqi’s first mark was made in round three as a right hand landed flush but every time he enjoyed success, Cleverly raised his game to have the last and most telling say. Much had been made or Krasniqi’s uppercut that saw him rise through the WBO rankings via four straight knockout wins but it was absent on the whole as Cleverly rotated to his right to nullify Krasniqi’s greatest asset.

Throughout the bout Krasniqi was over-reliant on his right hand and it was something Cleverly had prepared for, opting to box at range and go to his right away from the shot. The 26-year-old Welshman was aided by a great jab that varied from a piston shooting straight down the pipe to a blinding flick from the hip. Whenever Krasniqi, also 26, caught up with Cleverly the Welshman would utilise his superior footwork to regain centre ring and start again.

Donned in the blue of Cardiff City who celebrated promotion to the Premiership earlier that day, Cleverly sustained a ruthlessly efficient output, producing on average 87 punches per round – the exact same rate he threw against Shawn Hawk in November.

It was a polished and mature performance from Cleverly who showed many of the attributes he’s been criticised for neglecting in the past and it demonstrated that he’s a level above mandatory challenges as he goes in search of a big fight.

With long term target and IBF champion Bernard Hopkins due to defend his title against former Clev victim Karo Murat in July, there are preliminary plans for Cleverly to feature on the undercard and against WBA champion Beibut Shumenov.



Photos:  Boxingscene/Boxing Photos

Nathan Cleverly has declared 2013 as the year he will unify the light-heavyweight division after polishing away the ring-rust against outclassed Robin Krasniqi at Wembley Arena on Saturday night.

Cleverly defended his WBO title for the fifth time with a landslide points decision against the tough but limited mandatory challenger, winning every round on two scorecards and all but one on the third.

It was only his fifth appearance in nearly two and a half years, but the 26-year-old hopes it is the beginning of a busy and triumphant chapter of his career that will see him acquire two more belts.

First in the crosshairs is WBA champion Beibut Shumenov with victory in that contest setting up his dream showdown with IBF king Bernard Hopkins.

“This is the year to stay active and push for the big fights. It’s very important for me to get back in the ring as soon as possible,” the Welshman said.

“I need to stay active and keep the rust away and try to unify the light-heavyweight division. 2013 could be the year to do that.

“I want fights that test me and that’s the elite fights now – Hopkins and those guys.

“They’re technically brilliant and will tell me if I’m an elite level fighter or just a world champion. I’m looking forward to finding out.

“Fighting back in Wales is a possibility at the back end of 2013, but next will be a fight in America in July.”

The plan could yet be derailed by Juergen Braehmer, another mandatory challenger to the WBO belt, although unification fights take precedence over defences ordered by governing bodies.

With that in mind, promoter Frank Warren will be keen to nail down meetings with Shumenov and then Hopkins and hope that Cleverly’s belief that Braehmer is not genuinely interested proves correct.

A slight tinge of disappointment laced Cleverly’s words as he reflected on his performance against Krasniqi, although he could have done little more against the Kosovan.

The 120-108 119-109 120-108 decision was entirely justified and on two occasions it seemed as though Krasniqi was on the verge of being stopped, indeed he was saved by the bell in the 10th.

“I’m still learning, but I’m winning and winning quite well now,” said Cleverly, who extended his unbeaten record to 26 fights.

“Maybe I was a little bit rusty. There were times when my lungs felt a little bit heavy.

“It’s been a good few months since I was in the ring, so maybe that was a factor.”


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By:  Scott Christ –

Nathan Cleverly easily defended his WBO title today in London, scoring a wide decision win over Robin Krasniqi.

Nathan Cleverly dominated Robin Krasniqi today in a mandatory WBO light heavyweight title defense, winning on scores of 120-108, 120-108, and 119-109.

To be totally clear, due to the Fury-Cunningham fight, I did not see the first five rounds. But Krasniqi, while tough and staying in there the whole was, just wasn’t good enough to deal with Cleverly’s activity and speed. Cleverly (26-0, 12 KO) looked sharp from what I saw, and though there could fairly be criticism that he didn’t finish the fight, that’s short-sighed, I believe, and I’m a Cleverly critic in some ways. He outclassed Krasniqi (39-3, 15 KO) and won the fight handily.

Cleverly did address the one thing most likely to be noted as a con about his performance.

“The only thing missing was the finish. I thought he was going to go a few times, but he dug deep, and he stayed the full 12 in there,” Cleverly said after the fight.

Cleverly will be back in July, according to promoter Frank Warren, and it appears he will fight another mandatory challenger, Juergen Braehmer. It remains a hope that he will unify with Bernard Hopkins later this year.


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Nathan Cleverly was taken the distance by Robin Krasniqi but always looked a class apart as he retained his WBO light-heavyweight title at Wembley. A confident start by the 26-year-old Welshman suggested an early stoppage but Krasniqi rallied as Cleverly dropped his work-rate. The champion was caught by unnecessary shots in the mid-rounds but Krasniqi lacked the power to cause any damage. Two of the judges scored it 120-108 to Cleverly, with the other 119-109. The fifth title defence extended Cleverly’s unbeaten record to 26 fights, but the performance lacked dynamism against a durable yet limited opponent.



Photos: Eroll Popova / SES Boxing –

WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly (25-0, 12 KOs) and Robin Krasniqi (39-2, 15 KOs) faced off at the pre-fight press conference for Saturday night at Wembley Arena in London. Referencing the three times the fight was postponed by the Cleverly Camp, Krasniqi presented Cleverly with a skirt with “Princess” written on it.

Nathan Cleverly: When I’m prepared mentally 100% and physically ready, there’s no way this guy can beat me. I’ll make sure of that on Saturday night. I’m going to take this guy out and move on to bigger and better things,

Robin Krasniqi: I’m not coming to London for a holiday, I’m coming to win the title….I will be flying back to Germany with the belt and the title.



WBO World Light-Heavyweight Champion Nathan Cleverly weighed-in just under the limit at 12st 6 1/2lbs (174lbs) and mandatory challenger Robin Krasniqi came lighter at 12st 5lbs (173lbs) for their big fight tomorrow night at Wembley Arena.

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WBO European Lightweight Champion Liam Walsh hit the scales at 9st 8 1/2lbs (134 1/2lbs) with challenger and former two-time WBO World Featherweight Champion Scott Harrison coming in at 9st 8 1/2lbs (134 1/2lbs).

Dereck Chisora weighed in at 18st (252lbs) with his opponent in the ten-round international contest, Hector Alfredo Avila at 15st 8lbs (218lbs) .

Paul Butler was 8st 2 1/2lbs (114 1/2lbs) for his Commonwealth Super-Flyweight title challenge against the champion Yaqub Kareem who came in at 8st 2lbs (114lbs).

Cleverly v Krasniqi headlines a massive fight card, live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546) with coverage starting at 7pm.