Obscure opponent Karpency aligned with WBO champ Cleverly but Welshman’s level of competition has to be stepped up

3 Jan

Ibrahim Harb – Birmingham

Obscure American light heavyweight Tommy Karpency, a 25-year-old from Pennsylvania, has been selected to challenge for Nathan Cleverly‘s WBO championship title at 175lbs on Saturday, February 25 at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales. Thus far, Cleverly’s championship reign has consisted of defences against two opponents not ranked within the top ten of the sanctioning body he represents. Karpency will be the third…

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Credit: Demonic Genocide

Cleverly (pictured left) enjoyed a breakout 2010 as he collected the vacant European championship due to his fifth round knockout of Antonio Brancalion, prior to sealing one of his most impressive victories to date, a referee’s stoppage of the previously undefeated and well-thought of prizefighter; Karo Murat, in September. He completed the year by out-pointing French spoiler Nadjib Mohammedi.

The Murat win maneuvered Cleverly (23-0-0, 11ko) into the mandatory position to challenge for the WBO title, then held by Juergen Braehmer, while the Mohammedi triumph ensured he picked up the ‘Interim’ belt. Mathematics graduate Clev had played it smart by doing all he could to get the world title shot – something that was booked last year, in May, yet a late withdrawal from Braehmer saw the WBO strip the German of their championship belt and the organisation duly sent Cleverly and promoter Frank Warren an email explaining he was their new titlist.

Due to Braehmer’s unreliability, the addition of fringe contender Aleksy Kuziemski to the May card at London’s 02 Arena with less than half a week’s notice is not something that Cleverly – nor Warren – should receive criticism for, however, a startling motif is now emerging where Cleverly’s subsequent defences of the crown he worked so hard to claim are made against opponents not even recognised as genuine contenders.

The hostile domestic rivalry with Tony Bellew was brought to the fore in October and the two engaged in a crowd-pleasing, made-for-TV, testosterone-clad clash but, like Kuziemski (ranked 11 at the time of the fight), Bellew (ranked 13) was not inside the WBO’s top ten list of contenders.

There was much talk about light heavyweight unification contests to start this year, with the conversation even initiated by Cleverly’s camp as WBA champion Beibut Shumenov and WBC belt holder Bernard Hopkins were both contacted, yet a deal was not struck and so Karpency – who is not even in the WBO’s top 15 and has not boxed since February, last year – was drafted in.

“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 explained. “My return has created a big interest in Wales and it’s going to be a fantastic welcome home on February 25. I’ve trained over Christmas and I’m in great shapealready and we’re still over seven weeks’ away from the fight so I’ll be spot on come fight night.”

He continued: “Karpency looks like a tough fighter and he took Murat the distance last year and Murat gave me a hard fight. 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.”

Cleverly is a fighter and will aim to take down whomever is in front of him, but considering Karpency’s lack of experience at elite level and his fringe status with the WBO, it would have been fairer to have awarded the shot to one of the attractive candidates currently residing in the top ten.

Fighters like rising contender Eduard Gutknecht (ranked third) and respected prospect Dustin Dirks (ten) would have represented competitive match-ups but already have bouts lined-up, however, heavy-hitting Russian; Dmitry Sukhotsky (one) is without an opponent.

Cleverly is a fan’s fighter, a man’s man, an undefeated champion and potentially a star-in-the-making but to make any unification bout more sellable to international audiences, his level of competition should have increased after Bellew but now must after Karpency (21-2-1, 14ko).

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2 Responses to “Obscure opponent Karpency aligned with WBO champ Cleverly but Welshman’s level of competition has to be stepped up”


  1. Shumenov promoter Chargin responds to Warren and Cleverly: Their statements are false « On The Beak - January 3, 2012

    […] Obscure opponent Karpency aligned with WBO champ Cleverly but Welshman’s level of competition … […]

  2. News: Jan – June « On The Beak - November 18, 2012

    […] Obscure opponent Karpency aligned with WBO champ Cleverly but Welshman’s level of competition has … […]

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