• Light-heavyweight

Cleverly suffers shock defeat

ESPN staff
August 17, 2013
Nathan Cleverly hit the canvas twice in the third round © PA Photos

Nathan Cleverly has lost his WBO light-heavyweight title after being defeated by Russian Sergey Kovalev in the fourth round at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff.

In front of his home crowd, Cleverly was attempting to make a sixth defence of his WBO crown, but after tumbling twice in the third round after landing some heavy punches from Kovalev, he was finished off in the fourth round by hitting the canvas for a third time, and at that point the referee brought an end to the fight, reducing Cleverly to his first defeat of his career.

For Kovalev he takes the 22nd win of his career, with 19 of them being not requiring the full 12 rounds.

Cleverly had hopes of having unification fights in the United States, but in front of American pay-per-view television instead he was left shell-shocked along with the partisan crowd in Cardiff.

Cleverly fended off several Kovalev hits in the opening round, and it was evident the title holder was going to be in for a tough defence of his belt.

Kovalev then had a cut above his right eye, but the problem did not stop him from firing more powerful punches, and in the third round Cleverly after falling for a second time came close to being stopped by referee Terry O'Connor.

But with Cleverly making it to the end of the round, the fourth turned out to be the telling one as he fell for a third time to bring an end to the fight.

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