• Light-heavyweight

Cleverly stands by promoter Warren

ESPN staff
April 15, 2013

Nathan Cleverly has vowed to stick with Frank Warren despite a recent stream of fighters leaving the promoter to join Eddie Hearn's Matchroom stable.

Cleverly makes the fifth defence of his WBO light-heavyweight title when he meets Robin Krasniqi at Wembley Arena on Saturday. A win will move him closer to a potential bout with Bernard Hopkins.

The Welsh fighter had originally been scheduled to appear on March 16 on the same bill as WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns and British super-middleweight George Groves.

However, that pair left Warren to join Hearn at Matchroom, creating question marks over whether Cleverly would follow suit. The 26-year-old, though, retains belief that Warren will lead him to the mega-money bouts.

"It has been testing times but I think Frank will deliver the big fights," Cleverly was quoted as saying by WalesOnline. "There is light at the end of the tunnel and I am backing him to provide me with the opportunities.

"Hopkins is the big fight for me and the one I want. Despite his age he is still exceptional and he won the fight comfortably against [Tavoris] Cloud and looked good doing so.

"It would be massive to get a fight at the Millennium Stadium with the roof closed. That would generate such a good atmosphere. The Millennium Stadium or the Cardiff City Stadium would be a dream. It's an atmosphere that can really inspire you and help raise your game."

Cleverly must first beat Krasniqi to get to Hopkins, who appears to have his own challenge ahead of him in mandatory challenger Karo Murat. The time has arrived, says Cleverly, for him to make the Hopkins showdown unavoidable.

"I have only just turned 26 which is quite young to be a world champion and defend your title four times," he said. "But I feel as if I am ready to be unleashed onto the big stage with big fights and deal with the pressure.

"There is a lot more to come and I have not reached my peak. I am still learning things and want to improve. My style allows me to get involved in exciting fights and I am sure there are a lot more to come."

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