On August 17th at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales, Nathan Cleverly (26-0 12 KOs) will make the 6th defence of his WBO Light Heavyweight title against the hard hitting, Sergey Kovalev (21-0 19 KOs). Cleverly has made a good name for himself in Europe, outclassing his opponents with superior boxing ability. Kovalev has fought on NBC Sports, winning over fans, and making quick work of his opponents in dramatic finishes. Both Cleverly and Kovalev were in the conversation to be the next to face current IBF Light Heavyweight champion Bernard “ The Executioner ” Hopkins.
Hopkins was originally set to fight Karo Murat but the fight fell through because of issues with Murat’s visa, leaving Kovalev the number #1 contender for Hopkin’s belt. Kovalev then had to choose between Hopkins and Cleverly. He choose to fight Cleverly — either way Kovalev, would have his title shot. It looks like all the visa issues have been cleared up as the fight between Hopkins and Murat may be back on.
Nathan Cleverly in his last bout dismantled Robin Krasniqi. Cleverly only has fought once in the US since ‘08, it was against Shawn Hawk on the Mares vs Moreno undercard at the Staples Center. Most notably Cleverly, in September of 2010, TKO’d the current challenger for Hopkin’s IBF Title Karo Murat.
Kovalev is coming off an impressive 3rd round stoppage of Cornelius White on a NBC Sports. The Russian born fighter has proven in the past that he can compete at the highest level. In January of this year, to the surprise of fans, Kovalev stopped Gabriel Campillo in just three rounds. His heavy hands and punching power has fans talking about what Kovalev brings to the Light Heavyweight division.
Cleverly and Kovalev will be making their HBO debuts on Saturday, August 17th as part of a split site tripleheader. In this classic battle between The Boxer (Cleverly) and The Puncher (Kovalev), there’s much at stake. Both want to remain undefeated. Both want to be considered top fighters. I have no doubt that Cleverly and Kovalev will have to leave it all in the ring, as the winner will be positioned to unify the titles against either WBA Titlist Adonis Stevenson or IBF Titlist Bernard Hopkins.