Nathan Cleverly In Negotiations To Take On WBA Champion Beibut Shumenov

WBO champ Cleverly prepared to fight in Las Vegas to win second world title

WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly is close to announcing a unification fight with WBA title holder Beibut Shumenov of Kazakhstan in early 2012. Welshman Cleverly, speaking on BBC Sport Wales, said:

"Beibut Shumenov, the WBA world champion, he's next in my sights, so whether that's going to be in Wales or in Las Vegas, where he's based, we're yet to find out but wherever the fight takes place I'm really looking forward to that one."

28-year-old Shumenov (12-1, 8 KOs) has had relatively few professional fights but had an extensive amateur career, winning a gold medal in the 2004 Asian Amateur Boxing Championships and representing Kazakhstan in the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Shumenov turned professional in the United States in November 2007 with a first round knockout over Walter Edwards. His progress was rapid, and in only his sixth professional fight he defeated former WBC light heavyweight champion Montell Griffin, conqueror of both Roy Jones Jr and James Toney (twice) during his career.

In his eighth fight in April 2009, Shumenov stopped former two-time WBA super middleweight champion Byron ''Pinky'' Mitchell in four rounds.

Shumenov boxed for the WBA light heavyweight title in August 2009, losing a majority decision to Spain's Gabriel Campillo. In a rematch with Campillo in Las Vegas three months later, Shumenov won the WBA title by a split decision.

He has subsequently defended his title three times; outpointing the previously unbeaten Viacheslav Uzelkov of the Ukraine in July 2010, knocking out veteran American William Joppy, a former three-time WBA middleweight champion in six rounds in January 2011, and TKO'ing Danny Santiago of the US in nine rounds in July.

Clearly, despite his lack of professional experience, the 6'2" Shumenov is not a man to be taken lightly, and he is certainly not lacking in confidence. In a prior interview with the BBC Shumenov declared:

"I want to fight the best to be considered the best 175-pounder in the world. All of these guys talking about unifying. Well, if they really want to make it happen all they have to do is contact us.'' said Shumenov.
"I told (former WBC champion) Jean Pascal that I'm from Kazakhstan, he lives in Canada; so, we should fight in the capital of boxing, Las Vegas. Same goes for Cleverly, who is from the United Kingdom. I'm getting ready and looking forward to a fresh New Year. Hopefully, one of the other light-heavyweight world champions will put his title belt on the line against mine in a unification fight in 2012."

There had been speculation that Cleverly would face Tony Bellew in a rematch of their 12 round thriller in Liverpool last month. Other names linked with 24-year-old Cleverly (23-0, 11 KOs) included WBC light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins, Chad Dawson, Glen Johnson and former WBO cruiserweight champion and fellow Welshman Enzo Maccarinelli, now competing as a light heavyweight.

Cleverly v Maccarinelli would be a huge domestic fight and would sell out Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. Cleverly himself is looking forward to fighting in Wales again soon:

"Preferably I'd love a homecoming now in Wales, it has been a long time." said Cleverly "Most of my fights have been all over the country but a nice homecoming in Wales, that would be another dream of mine - to come to Wales as world champion, defending my title. So that would be my number-one venue, otherwise if we've got to travel to Las Vegas (to face Shumenov) then so be it. We'll go out there and do the business."

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Nathan Cleverly In Negotiations To Take On WBA Champion Beibut Shumenov

WBO champ Cleverly prepared to fight in Las Vegas to win second world title

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