• Light-heavyweight

Nathan Cleverly to face Krasniqi in March

ESPN staff
December 20, 2012
Nathan Cleverly views Robin Krasniqi as a stepping stone © Getty Images

Robin Krasniqi has been confirmed as Nathan Cleverly's next opponent for a March 16 WBO light-heavyweight title bout.

Cleverly faced the risk of having his world title stripped if he had chosen to ignore mandatory challenger Krasniqi, whom he has already side-stepped once when he fell ill in April.

A venue for the encounter is yet to be announced, with Cleverly preferring to fight in front of his home fans in Wales. Krasniqi is based in Germany, so that would be a likely venue if Cleverly takes the bout abroad.

"I think if the fight is in Germany, where it is notorious that the fighters get home decisions, I feel I'll really have to go out there and perform and put this guy to the sword," Cleverly said.

"I've got to perform and impress against this guy and that's going to set up the rest of 2013 then for the big unification fights... Everything will fall into place after this fight."

Krasniqi has been beaten twice in his career and will be viewed by Cleverly as a stepping stone to bigger fights, namely WBA champion Beibut Shumenov. The Welshman has also expressed his wish to face Bernard Hopkins.

"If it all goes well with the Krasniqi fight, Shumenov is definitely in my sights and I would definitely like to fight the winner of Hopkins and Tavoris Cloud."

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