• Light-heavyweight

Cleverly remains confident bigger fights await him

ESPN staff
July 26, 2013
Nathan © AP

WBO light-heavyweight world champion Nathan Cleverly has assured fans that bigger fights are on the horizon for him.

Cleverly, 26, is currently preparing to fight Sergey Kovalev on August 17 in Cardiff - the latest in a line of somewhat underwhelming fights for the champ, against opponents with some boxing pedigree but little commercial pull.

A unification fight against Bernard Hopkins - or even a domestic meeting against the likes of Carl Froch - would give Cleverly the blockbuster bout he craves. The Welshman insists those fights are waiting for him, as long as he continues on his current path.

"Those fights will happen, I can assure you of that," Cleverly said. "It can be a little bit frustrating but ultimately you just remain patient, get on with your business and keep winning.

"It takes time. It doesn't happen overnight and when it happens it's going to be big.

"It's going to be one big fight after another so patience, keep winning and that's what I'll do."

Cleverly's promoter, Frank Warren, has previously complained that high calibre opponents have been running scared from his charge, but it is hoped this latest fight will raise Cleverly's profile in the United States.

"Sergey Kovalev is a technically good boxer and a massive puncher, heavy handed in both hands," Cleverly added. "Win this fight and win in style, that's certainly going to open the doors for me in the States."

He added: "I believe if I win this fight, that fight [with Bernard Hopkins] could certainly happen.

"Kovalev was actually mandatory challenger for Bernard Hopkins's world title belt. Hopefully by beating Kovalev that leaves the door open for me to step in and eventually take on that fight."

On Thursday, Cleverly's rival Tony Bellew agreed a deal in principle to fight WBC champion Adonis Stevenson in November.

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