Robin Krasniqi labels Nathan Cleverly ‘weak’ world champion
CHALLENGER Robin Krasniqi believes Cefn Fforest world champion Nathan Cleverly is a soft touch and has vowed to take advantage when the pair clash on March 16.
WBO light-heavyweight king Cleverly is undefeated in 25 fights but that isn’t enough to impress Krasniqi who also has a fine record, winning 39 out of 41 and remaining undefeated for seven successive years.
The duo took part in a conference call with the British media yesterday and while Krasniqi was extremely cagey – sparring, training, preparation and tactics were all barred subjects – he did reveal his lack of enthusiasm for Cleverly’s talents.
“Nathan is a world champion but he’s not the best world champion and come fight night I will show you why,” he said (via an interpreter).
“You are going to see a good fight between two fighters who won’t take a backward step. This is the biggest fight of my career and I’m ready to take Nathan’s title.”
Kosovan-born German fighter Krasniqi was supposed to clash with Cleverly in April of last year but believes the postponement of the fight due to an injury to Cleverly has proved to be a blessing.
“When the fight was called off I was disappointed but I accepted it, my dream has always been to be a world champion and I’ve improved a lot in the ten months since then and now.
“It has worked to my advantage.
“Nathan has never faced top opponents before, I will be the best he has faced.”
Cleverly, who will travel to London in the next fortnight to spar with George Groves, is now committed to mandatory defences against both Krasniqi and former champion Jurgen Braehmer, which will fill up the early part of his year.
However, despite the scheduled opponents meaning a unification fight is way into the distance, Cleverly never considered handing back his WBO crown in order to chase the bigger fights.
“I have to be honest and say that I never thought like that, I never gave consideration to giving up the belt, it hasn’t entered my mind,” he explained.
“Sometimes it’s not just about what’s good for you, it’s about doing the right thing and doing what is right for the sport.
“It’s also not the worst thing as at least I know what direction my career is going and who I am fighting next.
“They are both potentially tough fights and provided I get through them it will set me up well.
“I want to fight the biggest fights and move onto the unification stage of my career.
“But first I have to do a good job with the two mandatory challengers, and I’ll be starting with Krasniqi.”