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Cleverly Eyes The Big Guns

Welshman has his sights set on Hopkins

Posted May 25, 2011 by Chris White

Cardiff boy Cleverly wants his next fight in his home town

Having defended his newly acquired WBO light-heavyweight title against Aleksy Kuziemski at the weekend, Nathan Cleverly is now eyeing up the big names for his next fight.

The Welshman, who was awarded the belt after Juergen Braehmer was stripped of the title having pulled out of the Cleverly fight, stopped the Polish fighter in the fourth round, who was the third opponent arranged that week after Braehmer’s replacement Tony Bellew failed to make the weight.

Now Cleverly and his manager Frank Warren are eyeing up some of the biggest names on the world stage for his next fight, with Bernard Hopkins top of the wish list. The 46-year old became the oldest World Champion in boxing history at the weekend, having beaten Jean Pascal on points.

Cleverly said in his post-fight press conference that he is looking at Hopkins, Pascal and Tavoris Cloud as his next opponents for a fight that Warren wants to take place at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

Although there is one challenger for Cleverly that apparently isn’t on his radar, in fellow Welshman Enzo Maccarinelli who was at the O2 Arena on Saturday night.

Maccarinelli has said he would love to take on Cleverly, but the WBO light-heavyweight Champion has cooled talk of an all-Welsh fight saying “I’ve got bigger names on my radar at the moment.”

There is no doubt that a Cleverly-Maccarinelli fight would draw the crowds in, especially if it was to be staged at the Millennium Stadium. Both are household names in British boxing and the fight would definitely get the audience in and the television viewing figures.

You can understand Cleverly wanting to take on the likes of Hopkins – who is almost twice his age – but that could be a non-contest with Cleverly’s speed against the ageing American. If I had to choose which one to arrange, I’d get Maccarinelli’s manager on the phone straight away.

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