Cleverly continues Welsh celebrations after beating Karpency on points to retain crown
Nathan Cleverly celebrated his long-awaited homecoming with a unanimous points victory over Tommy Karpency at Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena.
The WBO light-heavyweight champion was fighting in Wales for the first time since 2007 and he ensured the boisterous home crowd's euphoric celebrations could continue after England were earlier beaten at Twickenham in the Six Nations.
Cleverly was awarded every round during a comfortable night's work and will now set his sights on a summer showdown in the Welsh capital against American legend and WBC title holder Bernard Hopkins.
On the attack: Cleverly lands a body shot on his opponent
The 25-year-old, clearly buoyed on by the passionate crowd, was quickly out of the blocks as he took the first round, but not without being caught by Karpency.
After the disgraceful scenes involving Dereck Chisora and David Haye in Munich last weekend, Cleverly had the chance to restore some of British boxing's reputation and he moved downstairs in the second session as he stepped up the pressure.
Karpency's body began to show signs of distress and the champion continued his assault in the third round, controlling the centre of the ring and pinning the American to the ropes.
Breaching the defence: Cleverly scythes through Karpency to land a left jab
Cleverly remained dominant as the durable but limited Karpency struggled to find a way through the Welshman's guard. The challenger, who is also a trained nurse, seemed content merely to survive and had little answer to the champion's furious flurry of punches.
As the fight reached it's halfway stage, Cleverly began to find more success with his stinging left hook against the southpaw from Adah who responded with the occasional right jab. The challenger had his best round of the fight in the seventh stanza however, as he frustrated his unbeaten opponent.
But Cleverly's superior work rate saw him return to his dominant ways in rounds eight and nine with Karpency happy to stand with his back to the ropes and endure several sustained attacks. A brief delay in round 10 to allow the American's glove to be taped saw Cleverly salute the home crowd as the noise levels rocketed.
Close combat: Karpency and Cleverly get stuck in
The final two rounds followed a similar pattern to the rest of the bout with the Welsh favourite letting his hands go only for his opponent to withstand the barrage. The visiting corner felt they had cause for complaint in the final session however when the referee again paused the bout due a flailing piece of tape, just as Karpency was in the ascendancy.
Although the fight went to the scorecards, the result was never in doubt and Cleverly was declared the winner by a huge margin on 120-108 on each of the three scorecards.
Dodging a bullet: Karpency narrowly avoids Cleverly's uppercut
Earlier, former WBO cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli continued on the comeback trail when he stopped Ciaran Healy in the second round. The Swansea fighter twice had his opponent on the canvas in before the Northern Irishman's corner threw in the towel. Maccarinelli, who lost his father Mario last month, has struggled since his crushing defeat to David Haye in 2008, losing three of his subsequent six fights.
Birmingham welterweight Frankie Gavin made his first appearance since a split-decision victory over Curtis Woodhouse last July. The 26-year-old has been beset by personal problems but Britain's only world amateur champion returned with a third-round stoppage over Scotland's Kevin McIntyre. A crashing right hand to the Paisley man's body brought the fight to a premature end.
Victory: Enzo Maccarinelli looks on as Ciaran Healy is given a count
Elsewhere on a packed undercard, Liverpool's Liam Smith enjoyed a routine win over Paul Morby over eight rounds while the first fight of the evening saw the highly-rated Liam Williams outpoint Tommy Tolan in his second professional fight.