Nathan Cleverly probably didn't fight his smartest bout tonight, but he got his best win, and showed new sides to his game. Cleverly stopped Karo Murat after nine rounds on the advice of the ringside doctor to earn a shot at the WBO light heavyweight title.
Cleverly (20-0, 10 KO) gave up his massive height advantage during the fight, but was in constant motion, throwing a ton of punches and just having too much firepower for the tentative Murat (22-1, 13 KO). Murat won a couple of rounds and threw back plenty of heavy shots himself, but Cleverly's overall ability was more than he could handle. Murat's nose was bloodied in the fight, and he just didn't have the speed to keep up with Cleverly.
It was a good showing for both fighters, I thought. Murat did exactly what he's always done, but it was a poor tactic against Cleverly, even with Cleverly being more reckless than he needed to be.
Cleverly is now firmly entrenched as one of the best young fighters in the world, regardless of weight class, and has taken his spot among the world's best at 175 pounds for sure. That's a weight class getting younger and better pretty rapidly. It was the second straight all-action fight on the Magnificent Seven card, which has gotten off to a very fast and entertaining start through three fights.
Our live coverage will continue here, and next up is the welterweight clash between Kell Brook and Michael Jennings.