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Page last updated at 09:02 GMT, Saturday, 16 August 2008 10:02 UK

Cleverly denied Francis challenge

Nathan Cleverly
Nathan Cleverly is now set to face former British champ Tony Oakey

Unbeaten light-heavyweight hope Nathan Cleverly will have to wait for a British title shot after champion Dean Francis withdrew from their bout.

Instead the 21-year-old is set to fight Tony Oakey for the Commonwealth belt on 10 October at the Everton Park Sports Centre in Liverpool.

Blackwood boxer Cleverly has won all 12 of his fights but this month left the renowned Calzaghe stable.

Oakey had his British title taken by Francis when they fought last June.

Francis also holds the Commonwealth title but it is thought that he will relinquish that belt, subject to commission approval.

Havant-based 32-year-old Oakey was stopped by Francis in the ninth round to relinquish the British crown, but has still won 25 of his 29 pro fights (seven by knock-out), with three defeats and one draw since his debut in 1998.

Even though Francis was first choice, Oakey still represents a significant step up in class of opponent for Cleverly, who has been tipped for a world title by former stablemate Joe Calzaghe.

Cleverly's last outing was against Antonio Baker in April when he became the first Welshman to fight in Las Vegas for 25 years.

He left the Calzaghe stable because he does not want to risk his career being affected by the legal feud between the Calzaghe camp and his promoter Frank Warren.

Warren's company Sports Network and Joe Calzaghe have begun a High Court legal battle.

Sports Network claims unbeaten world champion Calzaghe, who ended his 12-year association with Warren and Sports Network in June, broke a verbal contract with the company to promote his further fights.

But Calzaghe's defence denies that and alleges Calzaghe is owed at least 2.43m ($4.55m) by Sports Network for his defeat of American great Bernard Hopkins in April.

see also
Cleverly leaves Calzaghe stable
05 Sep 08 |  Boxing
BBC Sport Wales coverage
23 Mar 08 |  Wales

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