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European title win for Welshman Nathan Cleverly

Antonio Brancalion and Nathan Cleverly
Cleverly now adds the European belt to his British and Commonwealth titles

Welshman Nathan Cleverly claimed the vacant European light-heavyweight title with an impressive stoppage of Italian Antonio Brancalion.

The 22-year-old floored the former European champion with two fierce right hooks at the end of the fourth round but Brancalion was saved by the bell.

Cleverly continued to do damage with the right in the fifth and the fight was stopped midway through the round.

It was Cleverly's sixth successive knockout from his 19 career victories.

"I think it was mature performance, I decided to take my time and pick my shots and it was quite a quick finish as Brancalion is a tough guy," said the Welshman.

"I need a bit more patience before I move up to world level and this is a good platform for me.

"My power is increasing and I'm developing all the time thanks to my step up in weight."

The first round at the Wembley Arena was relatively even with Cleverly firing out rapid jabs and landing the right hand twice in the opening three minutes as well as shipping a left hook himself.

Cleverly started to exert his control in the second round as he upped the tempo, hurting Brancalion with a left hook.

Two straight rights in the third rocked the Italian as Cleverly exploited chinks in his opponent's defence, notably a low left hand.


Brancalion wobbled again in the fourth with Cleverly's straight right hand and powerful left again doing the damage, but the Welshman also varied his attacks by utilising the uppercut, a shot that has proved so successful for him in the past.

Two fierce looping rights at the end of the round floored Brancalion, who received a mandatory eight count but was ultimately saved by the bell.

More punishment followed in the fifth, with two rights over the top again wobbling Brancalion, and with nothing coming back from the 34-year-old the fight was rightly stopped by referee Jean-Louis Legland one minute and 15 seconds into the round.

Cleverly can now add the European belt to his British and Commonwealth titles as he moves closer to a world title shot.

The Cefn Forest man added: "It's a long time coming to be honest.

"I've been waiting for this moment since 5 December when the fight was originally supposed to happen.

"The Italians messed us about a little bit but [promoter] Frank [Warren] delivered tonight and I did too, so I'm delighted.

"I had a plan going into the fight because British fighters are rough and tough and like a brawl but this guy is a European operator and stood off.

"So I had to pick my shots and in the end it was a comfortable night. I didn't pick up the pace because I didn't need to - I just counter-punched."

A former student at Enzo Calzaghe's world-renowned gym, Cleverly becomes only the seventh Welshman to hold all three belts.

see also
Sport Wales: The TV Programme
15 Mar 11 |  Wales
Cleverly's Italian job rearranged
20 Jan 10 |  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 leaves Calzaghe stable
05 Sep 08 |  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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