Beibut Shumenov seeks Nathan Cleverly unification bout

By Steffan GarreroBBC Wales Sport
Nathan Cleverly
Cleverly is Wales's 11th world boxing champion

WBA light-heavyweight champion Beibut Shumenov has challenged new WBO champion Nathan Cleverly to an unification bout in the United States.

After his victory over Poland's Aleksy Kuziemski in London, Cleverly stated he was ready for bigger challenges.

And Kazakh fighter Shumenov says he is ready to put his title on the line against the Welshman.

"The question is would Cleverly consider fighting me in United States?" said 27-year-old Shumenov.

"I wouldn't offer advice to Cleverly about anything because he is his own man. However, as I mentioned earlier, the question is would Cleverly come to the US to fight."

Shumenov hails from Shymkent, Kazakhstan, but moved to Las Vegas when he turned professional in 2007. He won the WBA title in January 2010 in only his ninth professional fight.

Cleverly has already fought in the US once before on the undercard of Joe Calzaghe's Las Vegas fight with Bernard Hopkins. He beat Antonio Baker on points, in an eight round contest at the Thomas and Mack Centre.

But Cleverly's reputation, which has grown steadily following British, Commonwealth and European titles, has yet to cross the Atlantic.

"I don't know too much about him other than he recently won the WBO title because [previous champion Jurgen] Braehmer didn't show up again and this time he was stripped of the WBO belts," said Shumenov.

"However, I have respect for all of the light-heavyweight world champions."

The Kazakh fighter says he would like to see all four reigning light-heavyweight champions involved in a winner-takes-all tournament.

Hopkins holds sway in the division having taken the WBC and IBO titles with victory over Jean Pascal, while the IBF title is held by Tavoris Cloud.

"I would love to see a tournament with the four world champions fighting each other," said Shumenov. "Like I said, I've always wanted to unify the titles.

"I don't know if [Cleverly] is ready. You would have to ask him but my goal has always been to unify the 175lbs titles. I tried to make it happen and will continue to do so."

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