Nathan Cleverly
Nathan Cleverly wants to face Carl Froch after defeating Sergey Kovalev. [Reuters]

Nathan Cleverly believes that Carl Froch knows that he would not be able to defeat the Welshman and that is why he is refusing to step up to light-heavyweight.

Froch is currently seeking a new opponent after avenging his loss to Mikkel Kessler and in the process adding the WBA strap to his IBF super-middleweight world title.

The 36 year old has been linked with a possible rematch with Andre Ward but the American has shown little interest in making the fight happen.

George Groves has been instilled as mandatory challenger for the IBF title but Cleverly has taunted Froch in the hope that the Nottingham fighter would move up a division in order to become a two weight world champion.

Cleverly, who holds the WBO title and boasts an undefeated record, is desperate to secure a massive domestic clash with Froch and has now questioned the fighting spirit of the three-time world champion.

"Carl's been disrespectful to past British champions," Cleverly told The Sun. "He's also been disrespectful to me by saying I'm not a worthy challenger. But he's only interested in staying at super-middleweight and fighting smaller guys coming up to his weight.

"I'd beat Carl Froch. He knows that and that's why he's gone as quiet as a mouse about the fight."

Cleverly may be thinking of a potential bout with Froch but he has a difficult assignment next up in the form of the dangerous American-based Russian Sergey Kovalev.

The 30 year old has gained 19 of his 21 wins by stoppage and Cleverly is looking forward to the chance to show exactly why he is considered one of the very best fighters in Britain.

"August 17 can't come quick enough for me," Cleverly told Sky Sports. "Kovalev has built this reputation of fear for his devastating knockouts, which to anybody looks pretty impressive. When I saw the KOs it excited me and I said 'I've got to have this guy'.

"I'm actually looking forward to getting in the ring with him and seeing what he's got. He'll be looking to take my head clean off and I love that feeling of having the adrenalin surging around my body."