Cleverly's Aug 17 opponent unlikely to be Kovalev or Hopkins

Nathan Cleverly will make the sixth defence of his WBO light heavyweight title on August 17 at the Cardiff Arena against an as yet unnamed opponent. Although news of the Cefn Forest champion's next challenge didn't come today as expected, it is unlikely to be Russian star Sergey Kovalev after the IBF ordered its light heavyweight titleholder Bernard Hopkins to begin negotiations with mandatory challenger Kovalev immediately.

Kovalev fought on Saturday, knocking down American Cornelius White three times in the third round. After the fight, he called out Bernard Hopkins, who was due to defend against his mandatory challenger and former Cleverly opponent Karo Murat on July 13. This was abandoned after Murat was unable to obtain a visa to enter the US.

Kovalev's promoter Main Events are reportedly in discussions for their man to challenge WBO champion Cleverly -  a fight that would be broadcast in America on HBO. According to Cleverly's promoter Frank Warren, he is awaiting confirmation from the network, after only discovering late on Monday night that the deal had not been finalised.

Yesterday, the IBF ordered Hopkins to begin negotiations with mandatory challenger Kovalev. According to Sports Illustrated (, a letter from IBF chairman Lindsey Tucker said neither fighter could take an interim fight.

Cleverly is due to make a mandatory defence of his WBO title against the German challenger Jüergen Bräehmer, but the Cefn Forest star said after his last fight:

“Although I’m due to face Bräehmer I don’t think he really wants to fight me.”

This would appear to be the case, as Bräehmer is scheduled to fight Italian Stefano Abatangelo on August 24, a week after Cleverly's Cardiff Arena outing announced today.

Who Cleverly eventually ends up fighting is anyone's guess at this point, but promoter Frank Warren is still hopeful of concluding a deal with dangerous Russian Kovalev.He stated: "We want this fight and for Nathan, it will be like Jeff Lacy was for Joe Calzaghe."


Crolla V Murray

A lot of people consider the lightweight bout taking place in Manchester this weekend between Anthony Crolla (27-4-1) and John Murray (32-2) to be a very close call indeed. The contest, in UK's second biggest city on Easter Weekend, is for the WBO lightweight Inter-continental title, but the significance of the result means more than the marginal title as it will put them a step closer to a world title fight. Even if this isn't immediately forthcoming, the division is stacked in Britain, and can throw up some massive domestic scraps.

Fight Reports

Crag Whyatt v Ben Moorish, Camden Centre, 11th April

Last Friday at the Camden Centre, Morden super featherweight Craig Whyatt (7-1) liquidated Plymouth’s Ben Morrish (3-8-2) in the first round to bag the Masters Bronze super featherweight belt. This was scheduled for eight, but when Morrish tried to turn it into a brawl he quickly came off second best after Jeff Hinds halted proceedings following his third knockdown.