Nathan Cleverly finally gets his chance to stage another defence of his WBO World Light-Heavyweight title against his mandatory opponent Robin Krasniqi, exclusively live on BoxNation.
The time has come for the WBO title holder to finally stake his claim as the world’s leading light-heavyweight headlines Frank Warren’s bumper ‘Rule Britannia’ promotion at London’s Wembley Arena.
The whole card, which also features the comeback of Dereck Chisora, as well as Paul Butler plus Liam Walsh against Scott Harrison will be shown live on BoxNation from 7.00pm on Saturday, April 20.
After weeks of postponements and delays beyond his control, Cleverly returns to ring for the first time since November after his win in the United States over Shawn Hawk.
The 26-year-old Welshman is aware that an impressive victory over Krasniqi could vault him into a Transatlantic superfight with IBF counterpart Bernard Hopkins later this year.
Cleverly was originally due to face Krasniqi, his WBO mandatory opponent from Albania, last year at the Royal Albert Hall, but withdrew from the fight due to an illness that affected his preparation for the contest.
The Caerphilly-born light-heavyweight then agreed a deal to fight legendary brawler Bernard “B-Hop” Hopkins, until the WBO ordered him to take on his Serbian mandatory opponent or lose his world title.
Instead he went on to fight a profile-raising bout on a Golden Boy Promotions card in the United States against Shawn Hawk.
Cleverly took a confident eighth round knockdown and announced himself to an American audience, but now he returns home to put away his mandatory before looking to the heavyweights of the division, including Tavoris Clouds, Beibut Shumenovs and Bernard Hopkins.
Frank Warren’s delayed ‘Rule Britannia’ bill will be headlined by the Cleverly/Krasniqi contest, but there is plenty more to enjoy on a packed undercard of top class fights.
Dereck ‘Del Boy’ Chisora returns to ring after a highly eventful and controversial year in 2012.
Last February, he failed in his unlikely bid to beat Vitali Klitschko and win the WBC World Heavyweight title in a weekend that became known as ‘Mayhem in Munich’ after he became involved in a disgraceful brawl with rival David Haye at a post-fight press conference.
Then in July, Chisora and Haye moved their hostility into the ring and settled their dispute in a show billed as Licensed to Thrill.
Haye prevailed with a fifth round knockout, but the two Brits left the Upton Park ring with mutual respect.
Now the Zimbabwe-born London-based heavyweight will reintroduce himself to the fight game with a 10-round contest against the tough Hector Alfredo Avila, who was 20 wins to his name.
Also in action is Liam Walsh, who is set for the biggest test of his career so far against former two-time World Champion Scott Harrison.
Walsh had been due to challenge WBO Lightweight supremo Ricky Burns on December 15, but a serious car crash forced him to withdraw from that bout.
Walsh, the current Commonwealth Super-Featherweight champion, plans to stay at lightweight for the time being, and a highly testing fight against the experienced Scotsman Scott Harrison awaits him.
For the troubled Harrison, 35, a first title bout in seven-and-a-half years is a stepping stone towards getting both his fight career and his life back on track.
The Glasgow resident became a Scottish boxing hero in the early 2000s as he surged to a WBO Featherweight title.
Fighting under the name ‘The Real McCoy’, Harrison enjoyed a three-year spell as champion, interrupted for four months by a defeat against Manuel Medina which he swiftly avenged with a knockdown in 2003.
Harrison’s final defence of the WBO World Featherweight crown came in November 2005 against Nedal Hussein, but depression and alcohol issues plagued the troubled boxer.
In May 2006, he withdrew from a planned title defence just days before the fight and checked into the Priory rehabilitation centre.
In December of that year Harrison was stripped of the title and his boxing license after failing to make the weight for a planned defence against Nicky Cook.
He didn’t fight again until a win over the inexperienced Gyorgy Miszei Jr. last June, following a seven-year absence littered with legal issues.
A win against Joe Elfidh followed, and now Harrison is set for his biggest test since his return to the ring against the 26-year-old unbeaten Walsh.
Also on the night, Ellesmere Port’s Paul Butler will take on Commonwealth Super-Flyweight champion Yaqub Kareem
Butler’s devastating first round knockout over John Donnelly to secure the Lonsdale belt and this top British prospect looks to move to 10-0.
His nine career wins include four knockouts, and none of those stoppages was more impactful than his first round body-shot KO of Donnelly after just 69 seconds.
Now the 24-year-old is looking to cement his place in the division and add the Commonwealth belt to his collection against an unknown entity in Yaqub Kareem.
Kareem, a Nigerian fighter with a 10-2-1 record (7 KO), has never fought outside of Africa with 11 of his fights held in Ghanaian capital city Accra.
In August 2011, the Nigerian won the Commonwealth title in Lebanon House, Accra, with a seventh round TKO of Cobinna Johnson, and he’s now looking to make a first defence of the belt.
Finally, one of British boxing’s most popular and charismatic young fighters Frank Buglioni will try to move to 8-0 when he takes on Surrey fighter Darren McKenna.
Buglioni, 24, has enjoyed an unblemished start to his career, winning five of his seven fights by stoppage against some very durable opponents.
The Enfield super-middleweight had a busy 2012, winning in front of BoxNation cameras on five separate occasions and turning heads on the way.
In a recent interview with the BoxNation website, presenter Jim Rosenthal tipped Buglioni as his one to watch for 2013, and with a loyal and vocal fan base already growing, Buglioni is a very bright young prospect indeed.
All five bouts plus a further two undercard contests will be broadcast exclusively live on BoxNation, the UK’s only fully dedicated boxing channel.
Jim Rosenthal introduces live coverage from Wembley Arena with analysis from ringside provided by Billy Joe Saunders and BoxNation regular Steve Lillis.
Big fight commentary comes from John Rawling and Barry Jones, with ringside interviews and reports from Alex Steedman.
Saturday 20th April ‘Rule Britannia’ – Feat. Cleverly v Krasniqi LIVE: 7.00pm-12.30am – BoxNation (free-to-view from 7pm-9pm) BoxNation is available on Sky 437 and Virgin Media 546 For details on how to subscribe to BoxNation – CLICK HERE
Fight 7 – 7.00pm approx Joey Taylor v Sid Razak Super-Featherweight Contest (4 x 3-min) Fight 8 Liam Walsh v Scott Harrison WBO European Lightweight Title (10 x 3-min) Fight 9 Mitchell Smith v Gavin Reid Super-Featherweight Contest (6 x 3-min) Fight 10 – 8.40pm approx Paul Butler v Yaqub Kareem Commonwealth Super-Flyweight Title (12 x 3-min) Fight 11 Steve O’Meara v Chas Symonds Light-Middleweight Contest (6 x 3-min) Fight 12 – 10.15pm approx NATHAN CLEVERLY v ROBIN KRASNIQI WBO World Light-Heavyweight Title (12 x 3-min) Fight 13 Frank Buglioni v Darren McKenna Super-Middleweight Contest (8 x 3-min) Fight 14 Dereck Chisora v Hector Alfredo Avila International Heavyweight Contest (10 x 3-min) CLICK HERE for full Wembley fight night schedule Fights subject to change. Published running order is based on approximate times only.