WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly (24-0, 11 KO’s) will be defending his title on October 27th against Ukraine’s Vyacheslav Uzelkov (27-2, 16 KO’s) at the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, Wales, UK. This should be one of Cleverly’s easier fights, as 33-year-old Uzelkov has already exposed in losses to Beibut Shumenov and Eduard Gutknecht in the past two years.

#9 WBO, Uzelkov basically has little more than a puncher’s chance of winning this fight at beat. He’s got decent power, but he doesn’t throw too many combinations. It’s either a big right hand or nothing from Uzelkov. His stamina is also a problem area for him, as we saw in his fights agaisnt Gutknecht and Shumenov where he gassed out after six rounds and was pretty much working on fumes the rest of the fight.

I see this fight a step down from Tony Bellew for Cleverly, because Bellew is a better puncher than Uzelkov with better stamina and workrate. I’m not excited about this fight at all. I’d much rather see Cleverly fight someone like Jurgen Brahmer, Cornelius White, Isaac Chilemba, or Gutknecht. To be honest, there’s not a lot to choose from in the top 15 for the WBO. The competition is god awful and at this rate, Cleverly could hold onto his World Boxing Organization 175 pound title for many years without ever facing anyone that is a real threat to him.

Cleverly is incredibly beatable, but the competition is so awful. There’s only like four or five halfway decent fighters in the entire division, and that makes it easy for a flawed guy like Cleverly to hold down one of the world title straps in this watered down and weak division.

As far as the fight goes, Uzelkov has a puncher’s chance just like Bellew did. If he can land one of his big right hands right on Cleverly’s grill, he could knock him out. Most of Uzelkov’s knockouts have come early on, so if he’s going to get to Cleverly it will have to be early before he gasses out.

By Scott Gilfoid


Nathan Cleverly will make the fourth defence of his WBO light-heavyweight championship against Vyacheslav Uzelkov at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on October 27.

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.”