• Nathan Cleverly v Tommy Karpency

Cleverly handed Karpency defence in Cardiff

ESPN staff
January 4, 2012
Both fighters have a mutual opponent in Karo Murat: Nathan Cleverly beat him, Tommy Karpency didn't

WBO light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly will take the next step on the road to Bernard Hopkins when he defends his title against American Tommy Karpency next month.

The bout will take place at Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena on Saturday, February 25, and Cleverly will hope it is the precursor to a unification showdown with WBC king Hopkins later in the year. Hopkins said on Tuesday that he would like to face "the WBO guy [Cleverly]".

Southpaw Karpency, 25, has won 21 of his 24 bouts, with one of his two defeats coming against Karo Murat, who Cleverly has already beaten in his career. Karpency's most recent two fights were against opponents with a combined 23 losses, and just 13 wins between them.

He is not listed in the top 15 of the light-heavyweight rankings on the WBO website, which were last updated in December. Cleverly will be making the third defence of the title he claimed in May 2011 when Jurgen Braehmer was forced to vacate.

"This is my first fight in Cardiff for a long time and I'm looking forward to putting on a good show for my fans against Karpency," said Cleverly. "I've trained over Christmas and I'm in great shape already and we're still over seven weeks away from the fight so I'll be spot on come fight night.

"Karpency looks like a tough fighter and he took Murat the distance and Murat gave me a hard fight."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.