WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly of Wales will be defending his title against Robin Krasniqi of Germany in London, England on Saturday night.
Cleverly is undefeated up to now with a record of 25-0 with 12 KOs while Krasniqi is 39-2 with 15 KOs. It will be Cleverly’s sixth defense of the title.
The 26-year-old Cleverly has beaten a couple of good European opponents already in Karo Murat and Tony Bellew. He’s got good boxing skills and head movement with average power, but a superb jab. He doesn’t mind the infighting and is good from long range as well.
The 26-year-old Krasniqi boxes quite similarly to Cleverly, but he’s not quite at the same level at this point in his career. His hand speed is good and he’s also got average power. He’s on quite the winning streak, as he’s won 38 consecutive bouts; but they’ve all basically been against mediocre opposition, such as Serdar Sahin. Cleverly is a sharper boxer overall, as he’s better defensively and technically.
These two were scheduled to meet a year ago, but it was postponed after Cleverly pulled out with an illness. It was then scheduled for March, but postponed again. Cleverly would like to unify a couple of the light heavyweight titles and he’s been talking up a fight with WBC champion Bernard Hopkins. However, he needs to deal with Krasniqi first.
Cleverly has the skills to succeed in the division, but he hasn’t been tested as of yet by an elite opponent. While Krasniqi isn’t bad, he’s not really a top contender. Some of his other opponents have been Shawn Hawk, Aleksy Kuziemski and Tommy Karpency.
He was actually handed the WBO title after the organization stripped it from Juergen Braehmer, who pulled out of a bout at the last minute against Cleverly. His best performance to date has been against Bellew. His last fight was a step backward, though, when he stopped Hawk in the eighth round.
Krasniqi lost twice in his first three outings as a pro, but stuck with it. He’s originally from Kosovo, and it’s debatable whether he deserves a title shot or not. 20 of his wins have come against boxers who had just one victory or none at all. To say that he’s stepping up in class could be the understatement of the year. Still, nobody knows how good they are until they’re tested.
Cleverly should be able to take control here and if he punches in volume, it’s going to be tough for Krasniqi to keep up with him. If the challenger fails to match him punch-for-punch, he’s going to fall behind on the scorecards and will need a knockout to win. This is unlikely to happen, though, even if he will have his moments.
Look for Cleverly to retain his title by a unanimous decision or a stoppage in the second half of the 12-rounder.
For the latest odds on the bout visit http://sports.visitorium.com/bet365/.
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