WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly has been forced to withdraw from his WBO title defense against Robin Krasniqi due to a viral infection. The unbeaten Welsh star was scheduled to face Krasniqi on April 28 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, but has been unable to train for his fourth title defence. Olympian Billy Joe Saunders, who was chief support on the card, will now replace Cleverly and headline the first night of professional championship boxing to be held at the world famous venue in nearly 13 years when he takes on Tony Hill for the vacant English middleweight title.
A devastated Cleverly said, “I’ve been unable to train because I’ve been laid up in bed with a viral infection and there’s not enough time to make up what I’ve missed in training to make sure I’m fully fit. I’ve taken the advice of my doctor and been told to fully rest before attempting to start training again. I’m really disappointed because I was looking forward to being the first fighter to bring boxing back to the Royal Albert Hall in over a decade and the first of the century. It was a big night for me as Hopkins was facing Dawson on the same night and I was looking to do a good job on Krasniqi to get a fight with the winner.”