• Light-heavyweight

Cleverly camp would accept Froch challenge

ESPN staff
May 29, 2013
Nathan Cleverly has successfully defended his world title four times © PA Photos

WBO light-heavyweight titlist Nathan Cleverly will do anything to step into the ring with newly unified super-middleweight champion Carl Froch, according to the Welshman's father.

Froch, who gained revenge on long-time rival Mikkel Kessler in their rematch at London's O2 Arena on Saturday, recently stated the only way a potential super clash would happen was if Cleverly dropped to the 168lb mark.

However, the Cefn Fforest fighter's trainer and father Vince insisted his son is up for the challenge and, with Froch issuing he would "end" Cleverly's career if they ever met on the canvas, aimed criticism towards the Nottingham fighter's attitude.

"Firstly I think it's totally unnecessary for Froch to talk about Nathan [Cleverly] the way he has," Cleverly Sr told the South Wales Argus. "He's the biggest name in British boxing and he should be above that kind of thing.

"But if that's the way he looks at it, that he'd only fight Nathan at super-middleweight, then our response is done, he's got himself a deal and we'll very happily accept that challenge.

"It would be a one-time thing, Nathan would bully Carl at super-middleweight and for one fight we'd be happy to step down a weight.

"People throw all sorts of accusations at Nathan about not taking the big fights, but we don't make the fights. Nathan is desperate for the biggest names out there. We even contacted Frank Warren (Cleverly's promoter) about challenging Andre Ward. So if Carl thinks we wouldn't consider a fight at 168, he's dead wrong."

Cleverly Jr, 26, recently defended his WBO title against Robin Krasniqi at Wembley Arena, extending his record to 26 professional fights without loss. Having successfully negotiated four title defences to date, Cleverly Sr believes his son has done more than enough to earn a shot at 35-year-old Froch.

"I hear Carl is a good guy but his comments about Nathan are constantly negative and ignorant and I don't understand why," Cleverly Sr said. "What is the need to keep hammering a fellow world champion from the UK?

"Why is he so affronted that Nathan wants to fight the biggest names possible in the biggest fights? It's a compliment to Carl that he's clearly one of the biggest names around at the moment.

"Nathan is willing to fight absolutely anyone and in his mid-20s he's already defended a world title four times and is undefeated. What had Carl Froch achieved by his mid-20s? He used to call Joe Calzaghe out all the time, but apparently he's forgotten all about that.

"What's he going to do? Fight toe-to-toe and make it a war, it's his only tactic. Can you hurt Froch? Of course, because his defence is incredibly loose for someone at that level. Froch says Nathan hasn't earned a fight with him, but that's rubbish.

"Karo Murat, a guy Nathan destroyed, is fighting Bernard Hopkins, so fair doesn't even seem to come into it."

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