It’s a busy year ahead for world champion Nathan Cleverly
WORLD light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly is gearing up for a busy year in the ring and he’s looking forward to putting his rivals in their place.
The Cefn Fforest star first defends his title against German Robin Krasniqi at Wembley Arena on March 16 and, if successful, he then faces another mandatory defence against former world champion Juergen Braehmer.
After that Cleverly hopes to finally land a big unification bout against WBA champion Beibut Shumenov or IBF champ Tavoris Cloud, or even a glamour bout against veteran showman Bernard Hopkins.
But for the time being it’s the prospect of finally getting to grips with Braehmer that is exciting him.
The 34-year-old, who beat fellow German Eduard Gutknecht to win the European title last week, was WBA champ before Cleverly and was due to take on the Gwent star back in 2010 only to pull out of the bout at the last minute.
Braehmer was stripped of the belt and spent time in jail and Cleverly is looking forward to finally getting him in the ring.
“He looked good in winning his last fight and I’m glad he won because I want to put the record straight with him,” said Cleverly.
“I’d like to beat this guy, if he turns up! Two years ago he didn’t fancy the fight and he pulled out.
“Now we’re two years on and I’m stronger and better so we’ll see who’s the world champion.
“Once I get the mandatory fights out of the way then we’re looking at a unification fight before the end of the year,” he added.
Cleverly stepped up his preparations for the Krasniqi fight with a sparring session at Steve Sims’ Alway gym this week with fighters on Sims’ Newport Centre show on February 23.
“I’ve been out to Spain for warm weather training and then I got home and I was running in the snow like Rocky so I’m ready for anything now,” said Cleverly.
“Krasniqi has won his last 38 fights but I’ve got to beat this guy and push my career on and I’m confident that I will.”