Nathan Cleverly to fight Feb. 25 in Wales

Light heavyweight titlist Nathan Cleverly will make his third title defense on Feb. 25 at home in Cardiff, Wales, against American Tommy Karpency, promoter Frank Warren announced Tuesday.

Cleverly has not fought in Wales since 2007 and is looking forward to defending his title in his homecoming fight at the Motorpoint Arena.

"This is my first fight in Cardiff for a long time, and I'm looking forward to putting on a good show for my fans against Karpency," Cleverly said. "My return has created a big interest in Wales and it's going to be a fantastic welcome home.

"I've trained over Christmas and I'm in great shape already, and we're still over seven weeks away from the fight, so I'll be spot on come fight night."

Karpency (21-2-1, 14 KOs), of Adah, Pa., is a bit of a surprise challenger. He has never beaten a top opponent, and the only time he stepped up to face a world-class opponent he was knocked down and lost a clear decision to Karo Murat in Germany in May 2010.

The 25-year-old Karpency has won two fights in a row since the loss to Murat, whose only defeat was a 10th-round knockout to Cleverly in a September 2010 title elimination bout.

"Karpency looks like a tough fighter and he took Murat the distance last year, and Murat gave me a hard fight," Cleverly said. "I've got big plans for this year that I hope will include a unification fight, so I've got to keep busy and beat Karpency in style."

The 24-year-old Cleverly is coming off a majority decision win against rival Tony Bellew on Oct. 15 in Bellew's hometown of Liverpool, England. It was one of Great Britain's most action-packed fights of 2011.

Warren said an offer was made to titlist Beibut Shumenov to meet Cleverly in a unification fight. However, according to Warren, Shumenov said he would not be ready in time to fight on Feb. 25. Warren left open the possibility of the fight taking place later this year. Shumenov has also said he is interested in fighting Cleverly.

Cleverly also has said he is interested in fighting champion Bernard Hopkins, but that it would be more complicated fight to make, plus Hopkins is still recovering from the shoulder injury he suffered in his October fight with Chad Dawson.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.