Boxing: Cleverly sticks to basics in another win for Wales
Sunday 26 February 2012
No slapping, spitting or unscheduled scuffling. Just a decent, back-to-basics boxing exhibition from the WBO light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly in a shut-out victory over American challenger Tommy Karpency at Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena last night.
It was a fight which 25-year-old Cleverly dominated, the only disappointment being that he could not stop a contender who was by no means a A-list opponent, being ranked only 10th in the world. Yet there was no doubting Cleverly's superior skills, all three judges scoring 120-108, giving him every round.
Fighting in his Celtic homeland for the first time in four years, the undefeated Cleverly was clearly delighted at acquiring the second leg of Wales's hoped-for sporting triple crown, following the rugby win over England. Cleverly himself will be at Wembley today supporting Cardiff City in their Carling Cup quest against Liverpool.
It was a successful third defence of his title by the maths graduate. Karpency, a qualified psychiatric nurse from Pennsylvania, was given little chance but Cleverly admitted: "A lot of people said he did not deserve to be in the same ring, but believe me, he was one of the hardest punchers I've fought."
Cleverly made a sharp start against the fragile-looking southpaw and it was soon apparent that Karpency had little to offer save a bit of spirit, a tight defence and the occasional sneaking left-hand counter. The Welshman proceeded to give a clinical display of neatly angled punches, forcing Karpency on to the back foot. But his attacks, while varied and constant, lacked power. They did, however, take their toll, particularly on Karpency's body, bringing a reddening around the ribcage.
The advice from the American's corner was "back him up". But Karpency replied: "I'm too tired." Even so, he continued to frustrate the ever advancing Cleverly, who won round after round but could not bring the sort of finish that we might have seen from his predecessor as the boxing idol of Wales, Joe Calzaghe.
By the end Karpency had been out-worked and out-fought but he was still on his feet, a situation which no doubt satisfied someone who clearly came to survive.
After a seven-month "sabbatical" Frankie Gavin, the former world amateur champion whose progress as a pro has been beset by weight and personal problems, showed he has got himself back into shape mentally and physically by knocking out the former British welterweight champion Kevin McIntyre with a crippling body shot in the third round. It was one of the most composed performances of the 26-year-old's career.
Former WBO cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli, another with a reputation in need of restoration, continued his comeback with a two-round stoppage of Belfast's Ciaran Healy, also inflicting the damage with a body attack which twice floored the veteran. It was an emotional night for Maccarinelli, whose father died recently and who now challenges for the British title again next month.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal transfer news: Karim Benzema, Edinson Cavani and Gregorz Krychowiak were all linked but Wenger and Gunners fail on deadline day
Arsenal transfer news: Gunners fans devastated as they become only team in top 5 European leagues not to sign outfield player
David De Gea: Manchester United in bitter war of words with Real Madrid over failed transfer
David De Gea, Peter Odemwingie and the 18 weirdest transfer deadline day stories
Anthony Martial fee: 'Add-on' includes Manchester United signing winning the Ballon d'Or
- 2 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 3 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...
£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...