Welsh star Nathan Cleverly will make the fourth defence of his WBO World Light-Heavyweight title against the world ranked Ukrainian Vyacheslav Uzelkov. Undefeated Cleverly returns to Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on Saturday 27th October where he last defended his title against Tommy Karpency in February for his Welsh homecoming with a dominating performance.
Vyacheslav, who’s nickname is Steel Power, is based in Vinitza and is currently ranked number nine by the WBO, four by the WBA and seven by the IBF. As a professional he’s amassed a record of 27 wins from 29 fights with 16 stoppages – ten going inside the first three rounds – and is the current WBO Intercontinental champion.
He challenged current WBA World Champion Beibut Shumenov for his title in July 2010, flooring him in the second round with a big left hook, although Shumenov recovered to beat Uzelkov on points. As a stand-out amateur he faced David Haye at the 2001 World Championships in Belfast, taking the future world heavyweight champion the distance in the semi-final to lose on points.
Cleverly is looking to put on sparkling performance against Uzelkov to make up for lost time after he had to withdraw from a title defence in April because of illness. The 25-year-old from Cefn Forrest, who’s made title defences against Aleksy Kuziemski, Tony Bellew and Karpency, said: "I had a brilliant reception at the Motorpoint Arena in February which was my first fight in Wales for over four years and the fans came out to support me so it’s great to return again for another big fight night in the capital. Uzelkov’s ranked in the top ten of three of the major governing bodies and has already mixed it with Shumenov for the world title so I know he’ll be a hard defence for me. I’ve seen some of his fights already and he looks strong and come forward which will be perfect for me." He continued: "Every defence of my title is vital as I build towards a unification fight so I can’t afford to slip up against Uzelkov."
Promoter Frank Warren agreed terms with Golden Boy Promotions for Bernard Hopkins to face Cleverly, but the American later withdrew and he’s unlikely to fight again this year. Warren also offered the fight to Shumenov to put his WBA title on the line against Cleverly’s WBO belt in a unification contest in Las Vegas, but his team could not get a date on Showtime until next year. A further offer was made for Shumenov to come to the UK which he declined as he refused to travel here.
A huge purse was also put to IBF World Super-Middleweight Champion Carl Froch to move up a weight division which he turned down, as did Tony Bellew who rejected the offer of a rematch. Warren said:
"It’s proved frustrating as we had Hopkins lined up and then he pulled out and Shumenov didn’t want to come over here to fight Cleverly, plus Froch and Bellew didn’t want to know. While we look to make these fights Cleverly has got to keep busy as he hasn’t fought since February and Ulezkov is a tough title defence for him."
Tickets are on sale now, priced at £40, £50, £75, £100 and £150 and are available from the Motorpoint Arena Box Office on 02920 224488 and www.motorpointarena.co.uk
You can visit the official Nathan Cleverly website here: http://www.nathancleverly.co.uk/
The Racing Horse will be visiting Team Cleverly later this week to gather all the very latest news meanwhile we will leave you with this question: What does Bernard Hopkins, Beibut Shumenov, Carl Froch and Tony Bellew have in common? Answer: None of them wants to fight Nathan Cleverly!