• Light-heavyweight

Cleverly wants Hopkins next year

ESPN staff
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Nathan Cleverly knocked Shawn Hawk down twice before the referee ended the contest in round eight © Getty Images
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Nathan Cleverly cannot wait to get back in the ring in America after an impressive display in his WBO light-heavyweight title defence against Shawn Hawk in Los Angeles.

Welshman Cleverly did not have it all his own way against the American in just his second fight on US soil, but a switch in focus from head shots to body blows proved decisive as Hawk fell to a TKO after a barrage of crushing blows to the kidneys in round eight.

And Cleverly, who is rumoured to be lining up a fight on home soil with US veteran Bernard Hopkins, is keen for more Stateside bouts, even if it means fielding more blows than he was used to against Hawk.

"I like to take risks sometimes, so I get caught with punches, but this is boxing," Cleverly said. "It's a combat sport.

"I enjoyed this, I enjoyed the atmosphere. He was a tough opponent but eventually I broke him down.

"I'm really looking forward to coming back to the US and fighting here again."

Commenting on a potential bout with Hopkins, he said: "I'd love to defend against Hopkins next year. That is the kind of fight we are working to all the time. I'm now established at world level and that sort of big match is definitely on the cards for me."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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