WBO Light-Heavyweight Champion Nathan Cleverly says his clash against Serbian Robin Krasniqi will be like Andy Murray facing Novak Djokovic - only he will come out the winner.
Unbeaten Cleverly, 25, puts his title and record on the line at the Wembley Arena in London on Saturday 16th March jointly-headlined with Ricky Burns’ WBO/IBF Lightweight Unification fight against Miguel Vazquez, plus George Groves challenging for the Vacant European Super-Middleweight title, Heavyweight Dereck Chisora* and Commonwealth Super-Featherweight Champion Liam Walsh will also be in action.
Cleverly, who stopped Shawn Hawk in eight rounds last November on his US debut, is looking forward to a shootout with the heavy-handed Serb who won his last four fights by knockout.
And with British tennis star Murray being blasted out by Krasniqi’s countryman and world number one Djokovic in the Australian Open final last month to crush Murray’s hope of a second major win, Cleverly says he won’t let Krasniqi end his dream of going on to unify the titles.
"I watched Murray in the Australian open against Djokovic and that was a great battle over nearly four hours. He held his own, taking some big shots from the Serbian and giving it back, but despite a brave fight and battling back a couple of times, he was out-gunned by Djokovic and also the blisters on his feet couldn’t have helped. Murray a great British talent, though, and he’s my call to win Wimbledon this year,” Said Cleverly.
“Krasniqi is on a roll at the moment, he’s stopped his last four opponents, three of them inside four rounds and one in the last round. He’s never been stopped in 41 fights with only two early points losses in his career. I’ve got twelve rounds or 36 minutes to stop Krasniqi in, this won’t be going the distance, it’s going to be a real fire-fight between us,”
"Facing a big puncher doesn’t bother me, it excites me. People were making Tony Bellew out to be some big puncher but when we got in the ring and I took one of his shots it surprised me by how soft he hits, so reputations don’t always count,”
Cleverly added, "While a tennis player can come back and win in his next match, for a boxer a loss is a massive set back. I’m so close to a big unification fight and a slip-up against Krasniqi will be a massive blow to me facing one of the world champions next so it’s crucial that I win this fight.”
February 12, 2013