Nathan Cleverly will attempt to become a world champion for the second time in his career on Saturday night (1 October) as he finally takes on Juergen Braehmer for the WBA (regular) light-heavyweight belt at the the Jahnsportforum in Neubrandenburg, Germany.
How to watch
Boxing fans in the United Kingdom can watch Braehmer vs Cleverly live on Sky Sports 2 HD, with coverage set to begin at 20.00 BST. The broadcast will also feature Joseph Parker, the mandatory challenger for Anthony Joshua's IBF heavyweight title, in action against Alexander Dimitrenko. That bout takes place in New Zealand.
Arguably one of the forgotten men during this most recent golden era of British boxing, Cleverly has dropped off the mainstream radar since his famous rivalry with Tony Bellew ended with 'Bomber' avenging his defeat from three years earlier with a hard fought split decision cruiserweight victory at Echo Arena in November 2014.
The Caerphilly native subsequently returned to light-heavyweight with the aim of finally taking on Braehmer and dismantled Tomas Man inside 25 seconds on the undercard of Kell Brook's successful second IBF welterweight defence against Frankie Gavin last May. His hopes of earning another world title shot then looked to be majorly damaged by a gruelling defeat to Andrzej Fonfara in Chicago during which the 29-year-old sustained a painful broken nose and later had to have blood drained from his ear.
That 12-round war went down as a genuine Fight of the Year contender, however, with such a battling if ultimately unsuccessful performance finally sealing a date with 37-year-old Braehmer. The two men were initially due to meet back in May 2011, only for the German to no-show as a result of a cut eye in training that failed to heal in time. The World Boxing Organisation (WBO) were evidently unsatisfied with that explanation and stripped him of his belt before installing mandatory challenger and interim title-holder Cleverly as the full-time champion.
He went on to hold that strap for more than two years, making five successful defences - including that original points defeat of Bellew - before suffering his first career knockdown en route to a punishing four-round loss at the hands of unbeaten Russian powerhouse Sergey Kovalev in August 2013 that left his ambitions of sealing lucrative unification fights stateside in tatters. It is worth noting that Kovalev has gone from strength to strength since then, becoming the unified light-heavyweight champion with victory over Bernard Hopkins. He faces Andre Ward in November.
A win for Matchroom's Cleverly this weekend against a tough and experienced but ageing southpaw champion would certainly go a long way to catapulting him back into national and indeed global relevance.
What the boxers have said
Juergen Braehmer: "This is a special fight for me. It's a fight I've wanted for a long time, and a fight the fans are excited to see. I will enter the ring, as I always do, with just one goal in my mind – to win, no matter what, and with the support of crowd in Neubrandenburg, I know I will.''
Nathan Cleverly: "It's great that this fight is finally happening. It's been five years in the making, and finally Braehmer is stepping up to the plate. It's a going to be a difficult fight for me, but it has come at the wrong time for him. He's 37 years old and reaching the end of his career, and I'm 29 and just hitting my peak. Juergen is a great fighter, but he's not ready for what I'm bringing. I want this too much and I will be bringing the belt home with me.''
Braehmer: 50 fights, 48 wins (35 knockouts)
- (W) Eduard Gutknecht - unanimous decision - March 2016
- (W) Konni Konrad - retirement - September 2015
- (W) Robin Krasniqi - retirement - March 2015
Cleverly: 32 fights, 29 wins (15 knockouts)
- (L) Andrzej Fonfara - unanimous decision - October 2015
- (W) Tomas Man - knockout - May 2015
- (L) Tony Bellew - split decision - November 2014
Braehmer to retain his belt via a narrow decision.
Odds (via Betfair)
Juergen Braehmer 1/2
Nathan Cleverly 13/8
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