Harry Pratt

WBO refuses to sanction Cleverly versus Krasniqi

Frank Warren is facing a battle to persuade the WBO to sanction light heavyweight titleholder Nathan Cleverly’s proposed next defense, against Serbian-born German Robin Krasniqi, at the Royal Albert Hall, London, on April 28.

Details of the fight between 24-year-old Cleverly and Krasniqi (37-2, 13 knockouts) were announced Tuesday but the WBO is unimpressed and immediately confirmed the undefeated Welshman must face a mandatory challenger instead — as agreed before his recent victory over Tommy Karpency in Cardiff.

Francisco Valcarcel (WBO president) commented that the bout between Nathan Cleverly and Robin Krasniqi can’t and won’t be sanctioned,” read a statement. “Nathan Cleverly’s fight with Karpency was sanctioned with the provision that the winner meet his mandatory opponent 120 days from the day of the bout.”

Promoter Warren is now locked in talks with the organisation in an attempt to find a solution. Cleverly, meanwhile, admits he is relishing the idea of assuming center stage at the world-famous Albert Hall venue, which has not been used for professional boxing in more than a decade.

“It’s great to be the first boxer in over ten years to open up the doors to the Royal Albert Hall again, ” said Cleverly (24-0,11 KOs). “It’s a who’s who of boxing who have fought at the Albert Hall and to add my name, alongside greats like Lennox Lewis, Naseem Hamed, Nigel Benn and Joe Calzaghe, is a real honor and dream.”

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