• Light-heavyweight

Kovalev wants Hopkins after Cleverly

ESPN staff
July 8, 2013
Bernard Hopkins is yet to set a date for his showdown with Sergey Kovalev © AP

Sergey Kovalev has vowed to renew his pursuit of a showdown with Bernard Hopkins after his bout with Nathan Cleverly at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff on August 17.

Unbeaten Russian Kovalev is the mandatory challenger for Hopkins' IBF light-heavyweight belt, but opted to fight Cleverly for his WBO strap when the American's team stalled on negotiations.

"At first he was silent - he did not respond to our requests," Kovalev told Boxingscene.com. "The IBF ordered us to resolve any issues before July 17.

"If we waited until July 17 to receive word from Hopkins, we would have lost the proposal to face Cleverly. To avoid any uncertainty, we made a more reliable decision - Cleverly."

Kovalev is adamant that he will return to the negotiating table with Hopkins, and intends to turn up with a world title to entice the 48-year-old into the ring.

"Once it became clear that my next opponent would be Cleverly, then Hopkins went on social networks and said he was ready to face me," Kovalev added. "Well, then, we can fight a unification bout."

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