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Nathan Cleverly has European title bid rearranged

Nathan Cleverly
Nathan Cleverly is looking to join an elite group of Welsh champions

Nathan Cleverly's fight with Antonio Brancalion for the vacant European light-heavyweight title has been rearranged for Wembley Arena.

The 22-year-old undefeated British and Commonwealth light-heavyweight champion from Cefn Fforest will now box in London on 13 February.

The original 29 January bout was postponed after the Italian's promotional team could not stage it.

Cleverly is up to third in the IBF light-heavyweight rankings.

The numbers one and two rankings are vacant, meaning that the Welshman could soon be in the position of mandatory challenger to champion Tavoris Cloud.

606: DEBATE

Cleverly is bidding to become just the seventh Welshman to hold the British, Commonwealth and European crowns.

If he achieves that aim, he would follow Jim Driscoll, Freddie Welsh, Eddie Thomas, Dai Dower, Johnny Owen and Colin Jones.

Of those only Welsh went on to claim a world title, something Cleverly hopes to achieve in 2010 after he completes his maths degree at Cardiff University.

Only six other Welshmen have held the European crown, Percy Jones, Jimmy Wilde, Dick Richardson, Howard Winstone, Steve Robinson and Jason Cook.

Cleverly, who is promoted by Frank Warren, had hoped to go for the European belt on the undercard of Amir Khan v Dmitriy Salita in Newcastle on 5 December.

But the purse bid for the clash with ex-holder Brancalion was won by the Italian's promoters, OPI 2000.

It looked like the fight would be taken to Brancalion's home town of Rovigo, but will now be part of the Night of the Champions bill at Wembley.

Brancalion has 32 wins (eight by knock-out), seven defeats and two draws from a 13-year career.

His only stoppage loss was against Germany's Juergen Braehmer in the 12th round of his last fight in June.

Brancalion lost his European title in that fight, Braehmer then vacating the belt as he awaits a shot at the WBO world crown.

I'm doing it the hard way and I'm getting a lot more respect for that

Nathan Cleverly

Brancalion lost to former Joe Calzaghe victim Mario Veit back in 2003.

Cleverly won the Commonwealth crown in Liverpool last year and has had title fights in Widnes, Swindon and London.

He then added the British title to his Commonwealth crown with a thrilling seven-round win over Danny McIntosh at the York Hall in July, defending it against Courtney Fry at the same venue earlier this month.

That took his record to 18 victories, with eight knock-outs, in as many fights, the last five ending in impressive stoppages that have convinced the likes of Barry McGuigan that the Welshman can reach the top.

"My ultimate aim is to win a world title, but I've always wanted to go the traditional route of winning British, Commonwealth and European titles before I get there," said Cleverly.

"A lot of British fighters avoid this route because it is difficult.

"You have to win every domestic belt along the way and you're beating every top-ranked domestic fighter, which is a tough call.

"I'm doing it the hard way and I'm getting a lot more respect for that."



see also
Williams pulls out of title fight
28 Jan 10 |  Boxing
Cleverly has European title date
19 Nov 09 |  Boxing
Cleverly targets unlikely double
10 Oct 09 |  Boxing
Cleverly sees off Fry challenge
09 Oct 09 |  Boxing
Cleverly targeting European belt
04 Oct 09 |  Boxing
Cleverly beaten to award by Brook
25 Sep 09 |  Boxing
Is Cleverly the new Calzaghe?
22 Jul 09 |  Boxing
Cleverly targets world title tilt
20 Jul 09 |  Boxing
Cleverly stops McIntosh for title
18 Jul 09 |  Boxing
Wales' boxing world champions
25 Mar 08 |  Boxing
Wales' pugilist princes
15 May 09 |  Boxing
Wales' boxing history in photos
24 May 09 |  Boxing
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales


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