8th January 2012
Nathan Cleverly has been offered the chance of a light-heavyweight unification fight in Las Vegas by WBA world champion Beibut Shumenov.
Shumenov, 28, is from Kazakhstan, but is now based and fights out of Las Vegas.
He was a 2004 Olympian in Athens, and is now a recognised world title belt holder after having only 13 professional fights (12-1, 8KO’s)
Shumenov won the WBA title in only his 10th bout. He also went onto avenged his only career defeat to Spain’s Gabriel Campillo in January 2010.
Since then Shumenov has defended his title three times against Viacheslav Uzelkov, William Joppy and Danny Santiago, and now says he is ready and willing to meet the Welshman in 2012.
Cleverly and I are both world champions and I want to fight the best.” – Beibut Shumenov, WBA world light-heavyweight champion.
“Trying to unify with the WBO champion has proven difficult, first with Juergen Braehmer, and now with Cleverly,” Shumenov told Wales on Sunday.
“I was informed that Cleverly told the press that he would come to Las Vegas to unify, if that’s what it took.
“I am from Kazakhstan, he is from the UK. We are both world champions and I can respect that.
“We offered him a fight in Las Vegas, the capital of boxing where all great champions aspire to fight.”
“Cleverly and I are both world champions and I want to fight the best,” said Shumenov.
“I’m sure we would both come prepared and it would be an exciting fight. – Unifying is definitely a goal I have and it would be a dream come true. – I can’t control what others say or do but I am a man of my word and I will keep pursuing my goals in and out of boxing.
“I remain positive, determined, focused and look forward to an exciting new year in 2012,” he added.
Unbeaten WBO light-heavyweight champion Cleverly said before Christmas that his team had offered the fight to Shumenov already ‘but he had turned it down.’
Unbeaten Cleverly, 24, must first though, defend his WBO belt against Pennsylvanian southpaw challenger Tommy Karpency, at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, on February 25th. But a fight with Shumenov in Las Vegas in the spring could be a good option for the Cefn Fforest born Cleverly and could eventually set a fight up against other top division fighters like Bernard Hopkins and Tavoris Cloud somewhere down the line.
The light-heavyweight division is looking interesting and Cleverly (23-0,11KO’s) is British boxing’s only fully recognised current world title holder, is at the top of the tree, and the higher branches of success, are now within arms reach as he enters an interesting chapter of his career and 2012.
By Chris Maylett