New date and opponent for Nathan Cleverly's ring return

6:32pm Friday 27th December 2013

By Andrew Penman

FORMER WBO world light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly’s comeback has been moved to February 1 next year.

Cleverly, who lost his world title after a knockout defeat to Sergey Kovalev in Cardiff in August, has now stepped up to cruiderweight and was due to return to action in November but had to withdraw after sustaining a back injury.

It was announced earlier this month that he would go straight back into championship action against rugged Australian Daniel Ammann for the vacant Commonwealth title on February 8.

But now the Cefn Fforest star has replaced Pawel Kolodziej as the opponent for big-hitting cruiserweight Junior Makabu on the undercard of Gennady Golovkin’s championship fight at the Monte Carlo Boxing Bonanza on February 1 instead.

The tournament is presented by Africa’s promotional giant, Golden Gloves of South Africa.

Cleverly (26-1, 12 KOs) stepped in after Kolodziej had second thoughts about facing the brutal puncher from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Makabu (15-0, 14 KOs) is arguably the most devastating puncher in the cruiserweight division with all but one of his wins having come by knockout.

The pair will meet in a 10-round non-title bout.

“I’m very happy about the change,” enthused promoter Rodney Berman. “Cleverly is a bigger name by far and has been in with outstanding boxers.

“The UK has a great heritage of producing top cruiserweights and Cleverly is another in this long line. I expect the fight against Makabu will be explosive.”

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