• Light-heavyweight

Cleverly sets sights on Hopkins

ESPN staff
January 1, 2013
Nathan Cleverly wants to pick up the pace in 2013 © PA Photos

A blockbuster fight with Bernard Hopkins is Nathan Cleverly's priority for 2013, should the WBO light-heavyweight world champion successfully come through his impending defence against Robin Krasniqi.

Cleverly's promoter Frank Warren revealed last week that WBA champion Beibut Shumenov, WBC king Chad Dawson and the victor of the forthcoming IBF showdown between Tavoris Cloud and Bernard Hopkins were the names he will be looking to book to fight his Welsh charge over the next 12 months.

But Cleverly is adamant there is just one name among those - 47-year-old Hopkins - that he wants to meet inside the ring more than any of the others.

That is assuming he deals with Krasniqi on March 16, of course.

"Hopkins has jumped to the top of the list, he's the fight I want," Cleverly said. "I've got to perform and impress against this guy [Krasniqi] and that's going to set up the rest of 2013 then for the big unification fights.

"Everything will fall into place after this fight. If it all goes well with the Krasniqi fight, I would definitely like to fight the winner of Hopkins and Tavoris Cloud."

Hopkins is expected to fight Cloud on March 9, although the bout is still to be officially finalised.

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