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Monday, September 3, 2012
Nathan Cleverly to fight in Wales

By Dan Rafael
ESPN.com

Nathan Cleverly of Wales will make the fourth defense of his light heavyweight world title when he meets former title challenger Vyacheslav Uzelkov of Ukraine, promoter Frank Warren announced Monday.

The fight will take place Oct. 27 at Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales, where Cleverly will be headlining for the second consecutive fight.

The 25-year-old Cleverly (24-0, 11 KOs) rolled to a shutout decision victory against club fighter Tommy Karpency at Motorpoint Arena on Feb. 25, and he is happy to be back.

"I had a brilliant reception at the Motorpoint Arena in February, which was my first fight in Wales (in) over four years," Cleverly said. "The fans came out to support me, so it's great to return again for another big fight night in the capital."

Nicknamed "Steel Power," Uzelkov (27-2, 16 KOs) is an experienced opponent. The 33-year-old owns a sixth-round knockout of top-10 contender and former titleholder Gabriel Campillo, whom he stopped in the sixth round in 2007.

In July 2010, Uzelkov challenged Beibut Shumenov for his version of the light heavyweight title -- a bout that headlined an ESPN2 "Friday Night Fights" card -- and lost a unanimous decision. Uzelkov dropped Shumenov in the first round of the fight but also got knocked down in the third round.

Since the loss to Shumenov, Uzelkov is 5-1, losing a decision to top-10 contender Eduard Gutknecht in a fight for the European title.

"Uzelkov's ranked in the top 10 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 defense for me," Cleverly said. "I've seen some of his fights already, and he looks strong and comes forward, which will be perfect for me.

"Every defense of my title is vital as I build towards a unification fight, so I can't afford to slip up against Uzelkov."

Warren said he hoped to make a bigger fight for Cleverly and had talked about matches with former champion Bernard Hopkins and Shumenov, but talks went nowhere for either bout.

Warren also claimed he made an offer to super middleweight titlist Carl Froch and to Tony Bellew for a rematch. Bellew gave Cleverly a tremendous battle in a majority decision loss in an Oct. 2011 title fight that took place in Bellew's hometown of Liverpool, England.

"Shumenov didn't want to come over here (to the United Kingdom) to fight Cleverly, plus Froch and Bellew didn't want to know," Warren said. "While we look to make these fights, Cleverly has got to keep busy as he hasn't fought since February, and Uzelkov is a tough title defense for him."

England's Froch was not a likely candidate regardless of what Warren said. He won a belt for the third time in May by knocking out Lucian Bute. He has a big-money rematch with Bute scheduled for March 2013 and a Nov. 17 interim bout against Yusaf Mack lined up first.

Cleverly-Uzelkov will be televised in the U.K. on BoxNation, the all-boxing subscription network that Warren is involved with.