Nathan Cleverly wiped out Antonio Brancalion to claim the European light heavyweight title. (Photo via dailymail.co.uk)
Unbeaten Welshman Nathan Cleverly dominated Italy's Antonio Brancalion today in London, winning the vacant European light heavyweight title with a fifth round stoppage.
Cleverly (19-0, 9 KO) used his speed to great effect, pounding Brancalion early with some good body work and a left hook, then switching things around in the second part of the fight by destroying Brancalion at will with a right hand lead in the final two rounds especially. Brancalion (32-8-2, 8 KO) went down right before the bell in the fourth, and as he was really putting up no fight and getting tagged repeatedly in the fifth, the fight was stopped.
Cleverly may well already be top 10 in the world at 175, and if not, he's just barely outside the rankings. He's really a very promising fighter who has much more than domestic or European ability -- he's got the tools to be a major player on the world stage, and could be a big part of the future at 175 pounds.
On the undercard, Kevin Mitchell (31-0, 23 KO) stayed unbeaten with an easy second round knockout of Ignacio Mendoza (27-6-2, 18 KO). Mitchell floored Mendoza about halfway into the second round after a tentative and tactical opening frame from both, and Mendoza couldn't beat the count.
Also featured on the Sky broadcast were British prospects Frankie Gavin and James DeGale, who both won big. Gavin won a six-round shutout decision over veteran Peter McDonagh, while DeGale flattened Matthew Barr in the second round with three knockdowns.
Heavyweight Derek Chisora also made a statement with a second round knockout of Carl Baker, and lightweight prospect Liam Walsh improved to 7-0 (6 KO) with a fourth round stoppage of Sid Razak (4-41, 1 KO, and yes that's a real record).