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Cleverly eyes 'Premier League' Hopkins bout

ESPN staff
April 10, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Nathan Cleverly is keen to face 'the ultimate warrior' Bernard Hopkins © PA Photos
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Nathan Cleverly is hoping to mark a double celebration this summer by sealing a showdown with boxing legend Bernard Hopkins once Cardiff City have secured promotion to the Premier League.

Bluebirds fan Cleverly, who had trials with the club in his youth, makes the fifth defence of his WBO light-heavyweight crown against mandatory challenger Robin Krasniqi at Wembley Arena on April 20.

The 25-year-old faces another mandatory defence against Germany's Juergen Braehmer after that, but wants to take on IBF champion Hopkins as soon as possible.

"Cardiff City are destined for the Premier League, barring any slip ups, and they'll be facing the elite teams next season," Cleverly said.

"I've got to get through Krasniqi and Braehmer first and then I can face my Premier League of champions, starting with Hopkins.

"It's an exciting time for Welsh sport - Cardiff City entering the top flight, Wales winning the Six Nations and me doing the business on the world scene defending my title, and it can only get better and better."

Hopkins was in prison for armed robbery when Cleverly was born in 1987, but proved that his age was not an issue in the ring by defeating IBF champion Tavoris Cloud in March.

And the 48-year-old has already expressed an interest in fighting Cleverly, describing the Welshman as a threat to any light-heavyweight champion.

"It's great to read what Hopkins has been saying about me, he's the ultimate warrior and doesn't shy from any challenge," Cleverly added. "You saw how he schooled Tavoris Cloud last month to break his own record to become the oldest world champion in history.

"He wants to fight me so I say 'let's get it on', it would be an honour to share the ring with him and I'd love the challenge of beating a legend."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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