Britain’s undefeated light heavyweight sensation Nathan Cleverly will meet Germany’s Bad Boy of Boxing Juergen Braehmer for the WBO version of the world title, Frank Warren announced earlier this week.
The fight will take place at the Wembley Arena in London on April the 2nd.
Although 23 year old Welshman Cleverly (21-0, 10 ko’s), the current British, European and Commonwealth champion, is Braemer’s mandatory challenger, there was some doubt the fight would take place as the German is currently awaiting a court decision on an appeal lodged by his lawyers against a sixteen month prison sentence for assault handed down last year. It is Braehmer’s third conviction for violence since 1998.
Cleverly, who earned a degree in mathematics last year from Cardiff University, was pleased to hear that the fight had finally been confirmed.
“I always thought that I would get my shot at Braehmer,” Cleverly said at press conference to announce the fight. ”You only have to take a look at Braehmer’s record to realize just how dangerous he will be. He’s a genuine champion and a genuine talent, but I think I have enough in my armoury to beat him.”
Regarding the threat of jail hanging over Braehmer, Cleverly said:
“There was talk that he might be stripped or would vacate the title, but I never wanted that to happen. He’s the champion and the only way I would consider myself a true champion is if I took the belt from him, rather than picking up the vacant title.”
32 year old Breahmer (36-2, 29 ko’s) has a fearsome reputation both in and out of the ring in Germany. An outstanding amateur, Braehmer won the Junior World Championships in 1996, and won 95 bouts out of 100, including victories over Ricky Hatton (twice, including a first round win) and current world champions Carl Froch and Felix Sturm.
A pro since 1999, Braehmer was a highly effective super middleweight, losing only once in his first 28 fights to former Joe Calzaghe victim Mario Veit in 2006. In a rematch the following year Braemer knocked out Veidt in four rounds.
He stepped up to light heavyweight in 2008 and soon landed a shot at the WBA title, but lost a decision to Hugo Garay of Argentina. Braehmer won the interim WBO light heavyweight title in 2009 with an eleventh round knockout of Aleksy Kuziemski. When the WBO’s world champion Zsolt Erdei moved up to cruiserweight, Braehmer was awarded the full version of the title, and has defended it twice since, outpointing Dmitri Sukhotsky in December 2009, and knocking out Mariano Plotinsky in five rounds last April.
The German shares a common opponent with Cleverly in Italian Antonio Brancalion. Braehmer demolished the Italian in one round in 2009, while Cleverly stopped Brancalion in five rounds last year to win the European title.
Outside the ring, Braehmer is second only to Germany’s former WBC light heavyweight champion Graciano Rocchigiani in terms of notoriety. In 1998, Braehmer was sentenced to four years youth detention for aggravated assault and robbery. In 2002 he was convicted of aggravated assault and hit-and-run after causing a car accident while driving without a license. As a result he was incarcerated between 2002-2005. He was released from prison on September 2005 and resumed his boxing career.
In his 2010 court case he was found guilty of two separate incidents; punching a man in May 2008 and breaking a woman’s nose in September 2008. According to some reports both the man and woman who were assaulted were prepared to settle out of court but the public prosecutor refused to drop the charges, citing public interest. Worse still for Braehmer – he was already on probation for previous charges at the time of these latest incidents.
On Braehmer’s ‘Tough Guy’ reputation, Cleverly said;
“This fight is the one that I want and it helps that Braehmer is a tough and experienced boxer and a good champion. He likes to play the hard character, the man who has been there and done it, that suits me. In Germany they think about him as some nutcase. Well, I’m not going to be Mr Nice on the night!”
If Cleverly is successful in April, he will become only the 11th Welshman to win a world title and will follow in the footsteps of –
Percy Jones: world flyweight champion, 1914
Freddie Welsh: world lightweight champion, 1914-17
Jimmy Wilde: world flyweight champion, 1916-23
Howard Winstone: WBC featherweight champion, 1968
Steve Robinson: WBO featherweight champion, 1993-95
Robbie Regan: WBO bantamweight champion, 1996
Barry Jones: WBO super-featherweight champion, 1997
Joe Calzaghe: WBO super-middleweight champion, 1997-2008, IBF super-middleweight champion, 2006, WBA & WBC super-middleweight champion, 2007-8
Enzo Maccarinelli: WBO cruiserweight champion, 2006-8
Gavin Rees: WBA light-welterweight champion 2007-8