Boxing: Calzaghe moves up division to join élite

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Joe Calzaghe, the World Boxing Organisation super-middleweight champion, is set to move up to the light-heavyweight division.

The Welsh fighter will step up if he beats his next opponent, Mger Mkrtchyan, on 21 February in Cardiff. Calzaghe's promoter, Frank Warren, said: "If he comes through, he will go up a weight. Mainly because no one at super-middleweight will fight him."

Calzaghe has made 12 title defences since 1997. But the lack of big-name opponents on his record has hindered his chances of joining boxing's élite.

At a press conference in London yesterday, Calzaghe said: "I'm looking to fight Julio Gonzalez [the WBO light-heavyweight champion], and then fight in America against Americans."

Gonzalez is scheduled to take a mandatory challenge in April, but Warren said May was more likely. Calzaghe qualifies as the WBO's No 1 challenger at light-heavyweight because he is a 10-time defending champion at the division below.

Calzaghe said: "Fighting at 12st 7lb [the light-heavyweight limit] will be better for me. The extra pounds will add to my punching power."

Warren added that future opponents could include Antonio Tarver and Roy Jones Jr.