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Cleverly on Facing Hopkins in Wales, Krasniqi Bout, More

Nathan Cleverly already has his sights set on a "special" unification showdown with legendary veteran Bernard Hopkins this summer as he prepares to get a WBO light-heavyweight title defence against Robin Krasniqi out of the way this month.

The unbeaten Welshman will defend his belt against Kosovan challenger Krasniqi on April 28, barely two months after soundly thrashing American Tommy Karpency in Cardiff.

Cleverly was in the Welsh capital again today to speak about his rapid return to the ring, when he will meet Germany-based Krasniqi at London's historic Royal Albert Hall.

He admits he would normally prefer to take a bit more time out between scraps but wants to rack up another defence before moving onto bigger and better things.

"This next defence has come much earlier than expected," he said.

"I was expecting a nice holiday but obviously, given this opportunity to defend my world title in London, I grabbed it with both hands.

"It's a short training camp - short and sweet - but I'm fit from my last fight anyway so we'll just tick over now until the fight.

"Ideally I'd like much more time off. After a fight I like to leisure around and go on holiday and at least have a couple of months off.

"But this opportunity came up and it was my decision whether I wanted to fight or not so I went for it because it's in London, in the Royal Albert Hall, which is a traditional old venue, and it's a chance to make another defence of my world title."

The Krasniqi fight will be Cleverly's fourth defence of the belt he inherited last year.

And the Cefn Forest fighter, whose record reads 24-0 with 11 knockouts, believes he is ready to make the step up from 'alphabet' title holder to unified champion.

He told Press Association Sport: "It's definitely a case of getting the successful defence done on April 28 and then we can look for a big showdown in the summer in a big unification fight, in Wales, hopefully, against one of the American guys.

"That is the ambition, the goal."

A fight between Cleverly and veteran superstar Hopkins has gradually moved closer to becoming a reality, with the fighters' promoters recently strengthening their working relationship.

It is a fight Cleverly is desperate to secure, with his fight against Krasniqi (37-2, 13KOs) on the same night as WBC champion Hopkins' rematch with Chad Dawson.

"I think Hopkins is the fight that would make the best event," he said.

"I think more of the boxing fans know Bernard Hopkins. He's in the history after becoming the sport's oldest world champion and he's still a great fighter. And I know that would be a great event and a great fight.

"The promoters have got together and most notably, myself and Hopkins has been highly talked off. That would be special, to bring an event like that to Wales.

"So now that the promotional companies are talking, it's basically up and running now and just a matter of putting things together. So it's a great start."

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Enzo Mc is SHIT on 04-05-2012

He should be rematching Bellew or fighting a big name, not begging the WBO for permission to fight nobodies. I think he'll fight Maccarinelli before stepping up to true world level.

Comment by Mr. Philadel on 04-05-2012

Clev is obsessed with B.Hop :lol1:...young chump gotta EARN his right to fight the King....IMO both Chad and Pascal would break his young "come to Wales" heart lol

Comment by yoz on 04-05-2012

All talk. Cleverly's a protected fighter. Hopkins won't come to Wales, unless, of course, he loses to Dawson. I wish they'd drop this talk.

Comment by Drunk Punch on 04-05-2012

He's a world champion he should be fighting elite level fighters now. I don't see how he can jump from Karpency to this latest bum and then suddenly he's ready for Hopkins?!!

Comment by giacomino on 04-05-2012

Yes, Cleverly is so desperate to fight a name that he's once again defending against a no-name no-hoper. Cleverly is emulating Erdei at this point:talk like you want the "A" list, defend against the "C" list.

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