By James Slater: According to The Daily Mail (and the always-reliable Boxrec, who have the fight up on their upcoming U.K schedule page), reigning WBO 175-pound king Nathan Cleverly will make his next defence against Serbian-born German Robin Krasniqi, 37-2(13) on April 28th. The venue looks like being the historic Albert Hall in the heart of London.
25-year-old Cleverly, 24-0(11) is hoping for – and his fans are hoping for – a big, big fight in the summer. In the meantime, as was the case with the Welshman’s last fight against the tough but somewhat limited Tommy Karpency, “Clev” must take care of business against a fighter practically everyone will expect him to defeat with some ease. Fights like this are of course, something of a risk (how many more relative no-names can Cleverly get himself properly motivated to fight?), yet Cleverly is still a young title holder, growing into his championship and he can‘t be expected to fight the absolute elite quite yet.
The 6’1” Krasniqi is both young (24) and durable (never stopped as a pro), yet he is also largely unknown outside of Germany, where he has boxed all but one of his pro bouts. Beaten on points in four-rounders very early in his career, Krasniqi has kept a clean sheet since. But despite the fact that the Munich-based contender has won the WBO European title, he has no instantly recognisable names on his record. Not a big puncher (although Krasniqi has won his last two by stoppage), the April 28th challenger has the distinct look of yet another game points loser to the peaking Cleverly.
That same April night, world king Bernard Hopkins will meet Chad Dawson in a rematch of their unsatisfactory October 2011 meeting. Cleverly is shooting for the winner (or an almost as big fight with Tavoris Cloud or Beibut Shumenov). I can’t see Krasniqi spoiling his plans in any way.
Look for Cleverly to win almost every round once again as he retains his belt for the third time. But how many fans will buy a ticket for this one? Last time out, against Karpency, Cleverly was boxing a “homecoming,” therefore the quality of the opponent didn’t have to be sky-high. Will Cleverly-Krasniqi sell, or will the fans balk at the idea of shelling out cash for a less than stellar match-up?