Welshman Cleverly will fight the unbeaten Kovalev at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on August 17th after originally having the fight put on hold following the IBF’s order that Bernard Hopkins defend his title against the Russian.
American Hopkins was initially matched up with mandatory challenger Karo Murat but the German was denied a visa into the US.
Kovalev was the man called up to replace Murat which put any possible bout against Cleverly in jeopardy. However, following a lengthy appeal process, Murat was granted the visa and looks set to meet Hopkins as the mandatory challenger, freeing up the Russian to fight on August 17th.
26-year-old Cleverly, who has a 26-0 record, has expressed his delight at ahead of the match-up.
I'm over the moon that Kovalev has confirmed that he's fighting me," said Cleverly. "I've wanted Kovalev all along and I spoke to my promoter Frank Warren and said that this is the guy I want to fight.
"He's making big waves in America and he's a fighter that people know. His knockouts are frightening to watch and give you a neck mohican, but that's when I perform to my best, when the adrenalin is flowing and the odds are stacked against me.
"This will be Kovalev's thunder against my lightening and he is going to get a serious shock. The viewers in the UK are going to see something special on BoxNation and I'm delighted that the fight will be in America on HBO, the market that I'm looking to conquer next."