World Champion Nathan Cleverly has been forced to withdraw from his World Boxing Organization (WBO) Light-Heavyweight title defence against Robin Krasniqi due to a viral infection.

The unbeaten Welsh star was scheduled to face Kosovan Krasniqi on Saturday 28th April at the Royal Albert Hall in London, but has been unable to train for his fourth title defence.

Hatfield’s Olympic star Billy Joe Saunders, who was chief support on the card, will now replace Cleverly and headline the first night of professional championship boxing to be held at the world famous venue in nearly 13 years when he takes on Tony Hill for the Vacant English Middleweight title.

Joint top of the bill on the show will see Chislehurst’s Sam Webb in a final eliminator for the British Light-Middleweight Championship against Manchester’s hard-hitting Matthew Hall.

A devastated Cleverly said, “I’ve been unable to train because I’ve been laid up in bed with a viral infection and there’s not enough time to make up what I’ve missed in training to make sure I’m fully fit,”

“I’ve taken the advice of my doctor and been told to fully rest before attempting to start training again,”

“I’m really disappointed because I was looking forward to being the first fighter to bring boxing back to the Royal Albert Hall in over a decade and the first of the century,”

“It was a big night for me as Hopkins was facing Dawson on the same night and I was looking to do a good job on Krasniqi to get a fight with the winner,”

“I’m sorry for my fans, but I’m happy that the show will go on and a great talent like Billy Joe Saunders will now be topping the card along with Sam Webb and Matthew Hall which looks like a cracking fight.”

Saunders, the Southern Area Middleweight champion, said, “This is a great chance for me to shine on the show and show my potential,”

“I’m Britain’s next star in the making and to now headline the Royal Albert Hall is dream come true for me and I will put on a fight to remember against Hill.”

Promoter Frank Warren added, “It’s such a shame that Cleverly has been hit with a viral infection and at a crucial time in his training and career,”

“He is unable to fight and he now needs to have a good rest, get himself healthy and resume training before we look to reschedule his title defence,”

“However, Billy Joe Saunders, who is one of the best young talents in Britain right now, is hungry and ready to prove that he is next big thing and this is the perfect occasion for him to do this.”

The rest of the card features some of the best talent in Britain including unbeaten welterweight Bradley Skeete; hard-hitting super-middleweight Frank Buglioni, light-welterweight Bradley Saunders; welterweights Freddie Turner and Dean Byrne.

Nathan Cleverly is set to defend his WBO light heavyweight title in just over eight weeks’ time prior to a summer unification bout, potentially with Bernard Hopkins.

Welshman Cleverly successfully protected his WBO crown on Saturday in Cardiff, taking a unanimous decision over American Tommy Karpency, and the 25-year-old’s promoter Frank Warren is eager for his man to fight again on April 28.

Warren has the Royal Albert Hall booked and wants Cleverly to top the bill on the same evening that Hopkins faces Chad Dawson in Atlantic City for the WBC crown, and if everything goes to plan a unification this summer could be on the cards.

“I have the date booked for April 28th, the same night that Bernard Hopkins defends the WBC title in his rematch with Chad Dawson,” confirmed Warren.

Cleverly meanwhile is desperate to face ‘The Executioner’, and would love to do so on home soil.

“I don’t just think it would be a great fight, it would be a great event,” said Cleverly.

“Obviously it depends how the fight between Dawson and Hopkins goes on April 28th.

“If Hopkins gets badly beaten up, he may well retire. But if he loses it could still be a viable defence to have here in Wales.

“He’s the oldest champion in history, and an icon in the sport, and I’d love to have the ‘W’ against him on my record.”

Warren added: “It would put boxing back on the map in Wales again.”


WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly (24-0, 11 KOs) scored a one-sided, but uninspired twelve round unanimous decision over heavy underdog Tommy Karpency (21-3-1, 14 KOs) on Saturday night at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales. Cleverly was in command all the way, but was never able to sufficiently break through the cover of the defensive-minded Karpency to get the stoppage. Scores were 120-108 on all cards. It was Cleverly’s first fight in his native Wales in almost four years.

“Tommy is very tough,” said Cleverly afterward. “Out of every fighter I’ve fought, he’s punched the hardest so far. And I’ve fought some big punchers…It was a nice performance, a good workout. It was exciting and there’s plenty more to come from me.”

Former WBO cruiserweight champion, now fighting as a light heavyweight, Enzo Maccarinelli (34-5, 27 KOs) dropped journeyman Ciaran Healy (13-18-1, 4 KOs) with a body shot in round two and Healy’s corner threw in the towel moments later.

Unbeaten welterweight prospect and 2008 Olympian Frankie Gavin (12-0, 9 KOs) scored a third round KO over Kevin McIntyre (30-9, 9 KOs). A body shot finished it.


After a four year drought, WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly (23-0, 11 KOs) receives a well earned homecoming this Saturday when he defends his WBO belt for a third time against Pennsylvania’s Tommy Karpency (21-2-1, 14 KOs) at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales. An impressive victory will leave Cleverly primely placed for a huge outdoor blockbuster in the summer that could elevate him into an elite level earner.

Cleverly’s assessment top light heavyweights Bernard Hopkins, Chad Dawson, Jean Pascal, Beibut Shumenov and Tavoris Cloud:

For me, Hopkins is number one in our division. He’s the oldest world champion in the record books, a legend, but, with my youth and enthusiasm, I’d definitely fancy it.

I view (WBC king) Dawson as the most dangerous in the division. He’s big at the weight, southpaw, heavy handed and technically good as well. The timing would have to be right for that one, maybe a few more fights down the line.

Pascal is a fight that definitely interests me. I think our styles would really blend well. He’s a big name and a huge draw in his home country. I’d be prepared to go to Canada, if needed. He’s big, strong, powerful, pumped up, explosive but I’d back my speed and stamina to wear him down over the 12 rounds.

Shumenov (the WBA champion) is more inexperienced and that would be a good unification fight, a good stepping stone. He’s young and hungry and he’d definitely give me a tough fight but, from what I saw of him against (Gabriel) Campillo, it’s a fight I should definitely win.

Cloud (IBF boss) is a very vicious fighter; a big puncher who likes to come forward and stamp his authority. He’s an American who’s been given the Jeff Lacy style hype. He’s also quite busy and fit. Like Pascal, I think our styles would mesh well. We all like to fight on the front foot and get involved. It could be very entertaining.

If I could choose, I’d go with unification against either Shumenov or Cloud. Both would be progressive moves towards getting to the very top guys in the division, Hopkins and Dawson.

On former champ Juergen Braehmer, who handed over the title to Cleverly by pulling out of three straight defenses late and getting stripped.

He did make a comeback recently but didn’t look too sharp. He’s too temperamental, too unreliable to line up a fight with.

On a possible fight with former WBC super-middleweight boss Carl Froch, whom Cleverly recently called out:

I just think it makes sense. Two top British fighters, just one weight class apart. It would generate a lot of interest. Carl’s mentioned stepping up before and he’s mentioned my name in the past. We’ve both displayed our heart and guts, both like to stand and trade so it’d sure to be entertaining. If that was offered for this summer, I’d definitely take it. Carl’s tough, has a granite chin so it’d likely be a distance fight but I just think I’d have too much speed and movement.

On looking past Karpency:

The way I train, I don’t need an opponent to get up for. My main focus is always to improve myself; to be sharper, fitter, more technically sound. I’ve just opened a new gym in Aberbargoed and training there, plus the opportunity to fight in Wales again and deliver a spectacular performance for the Welsh fans, provide me with all the motivation I need.


Training camp is close to coming to a finish and WBO world light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly has taken time to reflect on his preparation for The Homecoming at the Motorpoint Arena on February 25th.

Cleverly opened with, “Preparation has been excellent and I’m very, very satisfied with the way it’s gone. Mentally I feel focused and just so excited to go now.”

“I feel as though this is one of the better camps that I’ve done, it’s the best I’ve been in terms of mental focus. I’ve had the right preparation and the right length of time to train for the fight, I was given good notice. It’s been a good camp and one of the best I’ve done.”

Predominantly training at the new facility of the Planet Fitness gym in Aberbargoed has provided Cleverly with a larger ring and it’ll be put to good use one last time before fight night.

“I’ll have another good hard spar, one more before the fight and then I think that will be the final hard session before the fight and before we start tapering it down.” he explained.

The opponent will be American southpaw Tommy Karpency whose stance presents an added element to adjust to but Cleverly’s confident of enforcing himself on Karpency.

He said, “As always, I’m focusing on more what I can do in the fight, what I can improve on and I’ve been learning some things myself.”

“Obviously I’ve had a little look at Karpency to get an idea of what he’s about – his stance, style, the way he fights but I’m more concentrating on my technique and taking that into the ring.”



Nathan Cleverly insists it would be a “recipe for disaster” to underestimate Tommy Karpency at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on February 25.

WBO light-heavyweight champion Cleverly has been matched against the little-known American for his homecoming fight.

While the unbeaten 24-year-old from Cefn Fforest hopes to treat the expected sell-out 5,000 crowd to a fine spectacle, he has ruled out complacency creeping into his preparations.

“It would be absolutely stupid and naive to underestimate any opponent in boxing, especially in a world title fight,” he said.

“It would be recipe for disaster. A lot of people have written Tommy off, but they’re not the ones who are stepping into the ring.

“When you face another trained fighter, you must be on your game, especially at this level.

“I’ve prepared even better than I have for any other fight.

“Tommy’s got nothing to lose and can give it everything knowing there’s a big prize at the end of the line.

“It’s my ambition to remain unbeaten and prevent that from happening.

“I want to enjoy the performance and put on a good display of boxing.

“It could go the distance and the most important thing is that physically and mentally I’m prepared to go 12 rounds.”

The unheralded Karpency has lost two of his 24 fights and had most people scratching their heads when he was unveiled as Cleverly’s next opponent.

But the 26-year-old from Pennsylvania insists he is capable of causing a major upset.

“I’m not sure who Nathan was in negotiations with for this fight, but for me this is the pinnacle of the sport, a world championship bout,” he said.

“The reason I was chosen as an opponent doesn’t affect my drive to win whatsoever.

“I’ve gone through my whole career without a promoter, my father’s my trainer and manager.

“I’ve been written off and that doesn’t really bother me, but I imagine Nathan’s camp haven’t written me off.

“I believe I can beat any light-heavyweight in the world. If I didn’t, I shouldn’t be in sport.”

World Boxing Organization (WBO) world light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly expects the Welsh and British boxing fans to be at their very best when he makes his long awaited homecoming on February 25th.

Cleverly will face American Tommy Karpency in the 3rd defence of his world title as he headlines the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff. He’ll be fighting in front of his own Welsh fans for the first time in 4 years and there are just a few hundred tickets left before the show sells out.

“The atmosphere is going to be awesome on the night. It’s going to be a sold out arena and such a good atmosphere. It’s going to give me a great buzz and there’s a good buzz around the fight. I’m excited to come out to an atmosphere like this, it’s going to be electric”, Cleverly commented.

Despite it being the first time that Cleverly will have headlined a show in his homeland, he’s aware that he mustn’t fall for the pitfalls of fighting at home.

“It would be very easy to get carried away once I hear the atmosphere. It would be easy to slip off my plan and go all guns blazing. But I know I can deal with the occasion and the pressure and I’m looking forward to going out and enjoying myself.” said Cleverly.

In the opposition corner will be Karpency and Cleverly is sure that he’ll have not seen any crowd like it before.

He said, “When Karpency hears the atmosphere from the crowd and then he has to deal with me putting it on him in the ring when the first bell goes then he knows he’s in the deep and it’s going to be a very difficult night for Karpency all round.”

Nathan Cleverly is hoping to help “bring the glory days back to Wales” when he takes on the “dangerous” Tommy Karpency at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on February 25.

The WBO light-heavyweight champion is busy preparing for his title defence, which will be his first fight in Wales since 2007, and is looking forward to having the eyes of the sporting world on Cardiff and Wales that weekend.

Hours before his clash with American Karpency, Wales collide with England at Twickenham, while Cardiff meet Liverpool in the Carling Cup final on Sunday at Wembley.

“It’s a great weekend of sport and it’s great to be involved,” the 24-year-old told the Daily Mail. “I can see why there could be potential pressure on me but I’m just enjoying the occasion, which I think will enhance my performance.

“It’s a big deal for myself, and for Welsh boxing; hopefully we can bring the glory days back to Wales. To come home as world champion is a special occasion.

“Training is going well, everything is on track. It’s just a case of focusing for the last three weeks.”

Many are tipping Cleverly to make light work of his opponent, but Karpency has never been stopped in 24 fights.

“He is tough,” said Cleverly. “He has operated at cruiserweight so he’s a strong fighter. He’s got not nothing to lose and there’s no pressure on him, so he’s potentially dangerous. He’s a trained fighter so he’s capable of causing an upset just like anyone else.”

Should Cleverly manage to safely negotiate his way past the challenge in front of him, bigger fights await the Welshman.

“After this fight we’ll be looking to get straight on the case and have a unification fight in the summer. Bernard Hopkins is regarded as No. 1 in the division and I know he’s got a big fight with Chad Dawson coming up. These guys are the ones you target to become the best you can.”

WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly (23-0, 11 KO’s) is supposedly going to be stepping it up a couple levels after his mismatch with Tommy Karpency (21-2-1, 14 KO’s) next month on February 25th and start facing some good fighters for a change.

From what I’m hearing is that the 24-year-old Cleverly is hoping to bag 47-year-old WBC light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins next for a fight that Cleverly hopes will be taking place in Wales. Cleverly’s already been soundly rejected by Carl Froch, who’s only interested in fighting well known guys rather than an unknown guy like Cleverly who is doing it wrong in terms of building his popularity with his soft matchmaking.

Karpency isn’t someone that will make it easy for Cleverly to look good against. If you’ve seen any of Karpency’s fights, and I’ve had the displeasure of seeing several of them, he usually tries to punch a little at first, but then begins to fall in for clinch after clinch.

We saw this in fights against Karo Murat, Chuck Mussachio and Erik Howard. If he’s got a weak opponent in front of him, Karpency can take them out fairly quickly. Feed a C level guy and Karpency is a terror. But you put in with a B level fighter like Murat and Cleverly, and you’ll see Karpency stall out.

This isn’t going to be the kind of fight that will raise Cleverly’s stature among boxing fans. He needs someone better than this that can at least test him a little. I don’t what the disconnect is with Cleverly’s soft matchmaking. I mean he was put in with a number #13 fighter in his last bout against Tony Bellew and now he’s being matched against Karpency, who isn’t even ranked at all by the WBO. What happened to champions fighting top five opposition? Is that not good enough for Cleverly or what? So he’s going to go from a non-top 15 opponent into a unification bout with Hopkins or Beibut Shumenov? If I was those guys I would completely ignore Cleverly until he starts facing top five opponents and proving he can beat them instead of being matched against the bottom of the division over and over again.


By Scott Gilfoid:

WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly (23-0, 11KOs) is wondering why super middleweight Carl Froch (28-2, 20KOs) is refusing to fight him. Cleverly feels Froch is possibly being arrogant in his refusal of a fight, especially one that would generate a lot of money with the British market. In a recent interview, Froch said he wasn’t too impressed with Cleverly and didn’t consider him as a hard opponent. If the fight is that easy, then Cleverly wonders why Froch is not signing a contract.

“Yes, possible [Froch is being arrogant]. I just think business wise it would make clear sense and it would be a great fight. I know he would have to step up a weight division but like I said it would [give him a chance] to become a two-weight champion. And if its going to such an easy fight for him, then why not do it,” Cleverly told Sky Sports.


By Edward Chaykovsky

WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly (23-0, 11 KO’s) didn’t look at all good in his last fight against Tony Bellew and looked about as bad in his fight before that against Aleksy Kuziemski. So this time, Cleverly is facing an arguably even weaker opponent in Tommy Karpency (21-2-1, 14 KO’s) on February 25th, at the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, Wales.

This time Cleverly is certain he’ll look good. It’s just too bad that he had to be matched up against a guy that’s not even ranked in the top 15 by the World Boxing Organization for him to shine. Cleverly got a win over Bellew last time out in October and few boxing fans saw Cleverly winning that fight. A lot of boxing fans, this writer included, saw it as a draw.

Cleverly is still moving forward rather than taking a big risk and fighting the #13 WBO ranked Bellew again and possibly losing this time. So instead of a dangerous fighter or someone at least ranked in the top five, Karpency has been found for Cleverly and that’s who he’ll be facing in front of his home fans in Wales.

I don’t know how Cleverly can do this. I mean when you fight a bottom #13 opponent like Bellew, aren’t you supposed to fight your mandatory next? How is it Cleverly is now able to fight a guy like Karpency who isn’t even ranked in the top 15 by the WBO? If they’re going to suddenly rank Karpency near the top, they’re really lagging because he’s still not even ranked in the top 15 by the WBO. I see him at #10 by the WBA, but that’s not the WBO.

Cleverly told “It’s a fight I should and will win because I’ll break him down and look good doing it.”

You think? Yeah, I think Cleverly will look good but look at who he had to fight for that to happen. If a champion has to dig up non-top 15 ranked contenders just to look good then boxing is in pretty bad shape.

Cleverly expects to fight 47-year-old Bernard Hopkins or Beibut Shumenov in the summer in Wales. Let me be the first to say this: It’s not going to happen, at least not in Wales. Those guys aren’t going to go to Wales and risk losing by a hometown decision. I’m sure they would love to fight Cleverly because they see what I see him in him – a vulnerable fighter that just went life and death with a fighter ranked #13. But Hopkins and Shumenov sure as heck won’t go to Wales and make it easy for Cleverly to win a controversial decision. That isn’t going to happen even if they get a good payday by agreeing to fight Cleverly there.


By Scott Gilfoid:

I was brought up in an area called Phillipstown, New Tredegar in South Wales UK, or commonly known by the locals as, Monkey’s Island. There were few facilities and even fewer opportunities, however my upbringing was good with a strong family behind me and good set of values that kept me out of trouble, most of the time!

I have a strong competitive nature which was evident in my primary school days which continued onto secondary at Blackwood Comprehensive. Sport came first, especially football then cross country running. I also maintained my desire to do well academically, which I am happy I stuck with.

But being competitive brought its own problems and I found I needed to prove myself all the time, and so, I unwittingly started getting involved in fighting after school on street corners. Eventually realising that this was going to get me nowhere, I decided to “put my money where my mouth is” and after talking things through with my parents I decided to go and join the nearest boxing gym.

Although I still maintained my interest in football and cross country running, even becoming under 15 Welsh Champion, boxing took its hold, firstly in the amateur rankings, where I started at 39kg going onto 69kg. I won 6 consecutive titles in a row in a 6 year period, and then went on to win bronze, silver and gold at 4 nation championships (competing against the best of England, Scotland and Republic of Ireland).

My amateur record consists of 36 fights, winning 32 of the 36, undefeated in my own country, and only loosing to an Italian, 2 English, and a Norwegian boxer.

While my amateur boxing career was allowing me to develop, my school studies weren’t doing too badly either, I found the more competitive I became in boxing the more competitive I became in school. I passed my GCSE’s, 10 (4 A*, 4 A’s, 1 B and 1 C) then passed ‘A’ levels, 3 (2 A’s 1 B).

Then I decided to push myself a little bit harder, and made the decision to turn to professional boxing after my 18th birthday. My style of boxing and training was more suited to the professional game and I also realised I had achieved what I wanted to in the amateur sport. I thrive on a challenge, whether it is in sport or studies, and as much as I sometimes think “what am I doing!”, I know the decisions I make to push myself makes me work harder. So after my “A” level results I decided on University. But which “Uni”, it had to be a university that allowed me to continue my training, so the decision was made easily; I enrolled in Cardiff to study a Mathematics Degree. I got my degree in August 2010.

My “Pro” career has gone from strength to strength, of my 19 fights, I have had 19 wins, with 9 knockouts. I have been classed as the fastest rising ranking boxer in my weight division, and I was also nominated for Young Boxer of the Year Award, coming first runner up.

For the Future, I want to prove myself to be a worthy contender for the World Champion at Light Heavy Weight, and to go as far as I can in my professional boxing career, however it is very important to me that I “earn” my way, and certainly learn from my mistakes, taking nothing for granted. You only achieve what you truly believe.