Boxing: Homecoming is first step to greatness for Cleverly if he boxes clever

 

The last time Nathan Cleverly fought in Wales, in 2007, the best part of 50,000 people were still wandering the Cardiff streets making their way to the Millennium stadium to watch a Joe Calzaghe masterclass.

The crowd will finally be there for Cleverly tonight when he returns to Wales and this time he is the main attraction at the Motorpoint Arena for his third defence of his WBO light-heavyweight title against American Tommy Karpency.

"It's been a long and winding journey to get the world title and to get back to Wales for this fight," said Cleverly, who has topped the bill in nearly a dozen cities since he last fought in Cardiff. "This is the start of what will be a great year for me in Wales."

It is an ideal selection for a homecoming because Karpency, who has lost twice in 24 fights, has enough form to not fall over and enough pride to make it entertaining until about round nine.

There is a convoluted form line that suggests Karpency is a bit tougher than I think: he lost on points to a guy who narrowly beat a guy who in turn easily beat but never got the decision over Tavoris Cloud, another of the world champions at Cleverly's weight. During the last three years Karpency has supplemented his ring earnings by touring America and being hired as a sparring partner for different world champions.

"Could I have been in world-title contention before now?" wondered Karpency. "Absolutely, but I had to make a few bucks and keep busy. Waiting for the phone to ring never made anybody rich."

Cleverly will need to keep the pace high tonight and not let Karpency get comfortable because a natural pre-requisite of sparring for a living is the ability to survive; Cleverly needs Karpency to fight, take a risk and leave himself exposed.

There is bold talk of a return to Cardiff and a fight at the Millennium Stadium for Cleverly at some point this year and there is, it has to be said, no shortage of opponents in America. There are even one or two on the domestic front.

Frank Warren, who promotes Cleverly and put on that Calzaghe fight in 2007, said:"Right now Nathan is in a very good position. A quality win will move him closer to the type of fights that all champions want."

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies