Munich's own Robin Krasniqi has finally got the world title shot he has dreamed about for so long. Originally arranged for last April, WBO world light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly pulled out citing a virus infection as the reason he was unable to prepare in time.
The WBO sanctioned Cleverly's last outing against unranked Shawn Hawk in the United States on condition that he face his mandatory challenger within 90 days. Cleverly stopped Hawk and cannot run or take 'easy' fights any longer. Purse bids were submitted in Budpest on Wednesday by Frank Warren and SES-Boxing, who promote the two fighters. Warren won the bid and now the clash will happen on March 16th 2013.
25-year old Krasniqi moved to Germany as a teenager from Junik, Kosovo and immediately took up combat sports, following in the footsteps of his hero and namesake Luan Krasniqi, a successful boxer who once fought Lamon Brewster for the world heavyweight title.
He has climbed steadily up world rankings since 2005 and has contested 41 professional fights, winning his last 38 consecutively and since stepping up to the 12 round format, Krasniqi has won all four by knockout. He is trained by Dirk Djemski and Alfred Segerer who have got him in exceptional physical condition. Make no mistake, Cleverly will have a tough night because Krasniqi has the tools and the hunger to fulfil his dream and become a world champion.
Welshman Cleverly has been competing at the full 12 round format since 2008 and is unbeaten in 25 professional bouts. He won the world title last year beating Aleksy Kuziemski in London and has since defended it a further three times. His toughest fight and also his closest win was a majority decision over Liverpool's Tony Bellew who himself is on a path to a world title and the defeat by Cleverly is Bellew's only loss.
The champion will do well not to underestimate the threat Krasniqi will bring. He's a big puncher who can absorb a shot. Cleverly has speed on his side, good movement and a calm head. If Cleverly is patient he'll find a gap on the counter where Krasniqi often looks vulnerable when throwing his big shots. If the challenger can land a few hard shots early and keep up a good pace, it could unnerve the champion and Krasniqi might steal a points win if he can keep busy. It really is a fantastic match-up and one that is likely to have fans on the edge of their seats.
No venue has been decided for this intriguing fight as of yet but it's likely to be in either Cardiff or London. Staging it in Germany has also not been ruled out.