The gamble didn’t pay off for Cefn Fforest’s Nathan Cleverly (26-1, 12KO) who was stopped in the fourth round by Russian wrecker Sergey Kovalev (22-0-1, 20KO) in the sixth defence of his WBO world light-heavyweight title on August  17th at a packed out Motorpoint Arena. The opening rounds of the Frank Warren Promotions ‘Red Mist’ main event were close and Cleverly (12st 6lbs) tucked up behind a tight defence but as Cleverly’s jab began to keep the relaxed Russian on the back foot, he overreached and was made to pay as a straight right/left hook combination put him on his heels. Kovalev’s (12st 5lbs) follow up attack forced the Welshman to the floor and when he rose, Cleverly was soon receiving another count from the referee as he took a knee to recover – only to be hit hard twice on the back of the head. It went unpunished and Cleverly rose too soon, spending the rest of the third round trying to survive and as the bell sounded referee Terry O’Connor was on the brink of stopping the contest. Cleverly responded to his corner and his eyes appeared clear but it was only instinct, his legs still hadn’t recovered and Kovalev forced the stoppage forty seconds in to the fourth round to give the Welshman his first professional loss. 26-year-old Cleverly, Wales’ 11th world champion, is now taking time away from boxing to decide whether or not he’ll continue his career that’s seen Commonwealth, British and European titles.

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