EXCLUSIVE: Adonis Stevenson says Nathan Cleverly lacked guns in loss

Adonis Stevenson

Amanda Kwok

New WBO light-heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev has been welcomed to the elite of the division by WBC king Adonis Stevenson as another spectacular knockout win sparked the beginning of a new reign.

Stevenson, who entered the realms of world title status with his own destructive victory over Chad Dawson in June, watched on as the powerful Russian pummeled Nathan Cleverly in four rounds in Cardiff.

‘Superman’ believes that Cleverly’s lack of ring presence was a major factor in his Saturday night downfall. He saw knockout artist Kovalev’s emergence adding something extra to an already bustling division.

“Kovalev is very aggressive and very strong. Unfortunately for Cleverly, he did not have the guns to be respected. At that level, that’s murderous,” Stevenson exclusively told World Boxing News.

“I am happy for the rise of Kovalev in the light heavyweight scene. He is bringing more depth, visibility, and popularity into an already very talented division.”

Before he clashed with Kovalev, Cleverly had backed former opponent Tony Bellew to defeat Stevenson when the two meet later in the year.

However, the Canadian wasn’t surprised at the Welshman’s stance when speaking on the now-former champion’s views.

“It is normal for him to cheer for his countryman. Especially where Bellew gave him such a tough fight,” said Stevenson.

“Cleverly is an excellent fighter. I would have liked to unify against him. But against Kovalev – the best man won.”

ADONIS STEVENSON DEFENSE

The 35-year-old southpaw is slated to meet ex-IBF title-holder Tavoris Cloud on September 28 before his mandatory defense against Briton Bellew.

However, Stevenson is taking having his next two fights finalized in his stride.

“I plan to fight often, four times per year. So I like to see fights lined up so after each fight I know exactly where I am going,” he explained.

On his plans, Stevenson concluded: “It is very unusual to fight signed before the completion of the first one. But the WBC requested this to have an optional defense granted.

“We complied to this. But you don’t have to worry. My mind is fully focused on Cloud for the time being.”

Phil Jay is the Editor of WBN. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay.