Cleverly keen on US return

Herald Series: Nathan Cleverly stopped Shawn Hawk in the eighth round (AP) Nathan Cleverly stopped Shawn Hawk in the eighth round (AP)

Nathan Cleverly is eager to box in America again soon after fans in Los Angeles warmed to his crowd-pleasing style.

The WBO light-heavyweight champion produced a stylish and dominant display in his fourth defence to send late replacement opponent Shawn Hawk to the canvass three times towards the end of an eight-round technical knockout win at the Staples Center.

"I like to take risks sometimes, so I get caught with punches, but this is boxing," Cleverly told the Daily Telegraph. "It's a combat sport. I enjoyed this, I enjoyed the atmosphere. He was a tough opponent but eventually I broke him down. I'm really looking forward to coming back to the US and fighting here again."

The 25-year-old did not have it all his own way, occasionally shipping meaty right hands from his American foe when in all-out-attacking mode, but the ringside judges would not have required Cleverly's degree in mathematics to identify a wide lead on the scorecards when the stoppage came.

Speaking to BCC Sport Wales afterwards, the Cefn Fforest fighter said: "I got some good exposure on American TV and I think the crowd enjoyed the fight.

"They booed me as I went in but some fans gave me a standing ovation when I left the ring, which shows my exciting style can win people over here."

Winning over the locals has been the name of the game for Cleverly during fight week and he leaves the Sunset Strip with some friends in high places.

Final sparring sessions at Freddie Roach's Wild Card Gym caught the eye of the Hall of Frame trainer, who expressed an interest in working with a boxer who now boasts a perfect 25-bout professional record.

Oscar De La Hoya professed himself to be a member of the Cleverly fan club and the six-weight world champion turned promoter touted an enticing match-up with 47-year-old ring veteran Bernard Hopkins next year.

The other major alphabet champions in Cleverly's division - American duo Chad Dawson and Tavoris Cloud and US-based Kazak Beibut Shumenov - are also potential opponents in 2013, which must surpass a quiet past 12 months for the Welshman.

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