Nathan Cleverly returns August 17, Warren targeting Kovalev

Scott Heavey

Nathan Cleverly will be back on August 17 in Cardiff, and Frank Warren says that Sergey Kovalev could be the opponent.

Nathan Cleverly will make his return to the ring on August 17 at Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales, defending his WBO light heavyweight title, and promoter Frank Warren says that Sergey Kovalev is a potential opponent.

"Everything is done my side with HBO, it's now down to Kathy Duva and Main Events if they are serious and want Kovalev to fight Cleverly. The date, venue and tickets are all confirmed, so the ball is now in their court and if they are confident in their man's ability. This is the fight that will make Cleverly's name against the big-punching Russian, but I see Cleverly's great chin and fantastic work-rate taking him to victory. It reminds me a lot of Joe Calzaghe's fight against Jeff Lacy when Lacy was the next big thing in America and was knocking everybody out until he met Calzaghe. We'll find out later today if he wants the fight."

Cleverly (26-0, 12 KO) is excited about the potential for the Kovalev fight:

"It's fantastic to come back to Cardiff in front of my home fans and defend my title. The atmosphere was electric last time against Karpency and I gave the fans a great show, but it will be even better against Kovalev if he agrees to fight me. I want Kovalev because he's very dangerous, he can bang and the Americans are excited by him. I want challenges in my career and Kovalev will give me that, I'd be excited to go in against a huge puncher and test my chin and heart. But we'll see if he fancies his chances or not."

Kovalev (21-0-1, 19 KO) was recently named mandatory challenger to Bernard Hopkins' IBF light heavyweight title, so this might not be the fight for him. But it's good press to say they want the fight and all that, and it makes them look good if Kovalev and Main Events opt not to fight in Cardiff against Cleverly. I'm not saying that this would be a bad fight for Kovalev -- it's not like he fights to win decisions or anything, so home field shouldn't matter, and Cleverly can actually bring in fans there, which Kovalev cannot without an A-side opponent. So it's a good fight, but they seem to be putting a short deadline on the idea here, too. We'll see. If it's not Kovalev, don't be surprised to see Doudou Ngumbu or Vyacheslav Uzelkov get the call.

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