By James Slater
25-year-old Kosovo-born German Robin Krasniqi is convinced he will defeat reigning WBO light-heavyweight champ Nathan Cleverly when the two meet at Wembley Arena on March 16th, thus making his career-long dream a reality. At 6’1,” a half inch shorter than the unbeaten Welshman, Krasniqi has an impressive 39-2(15) record, during which he has never been stopped. However, the Cleverly fight will be Krasniqi’s biggest fight yet – as well as his first (aside from one bout in The Czech Republic) outside of Germany. Despite this, Krasniqi is utterly confident he will take “Clev’s” title.
“I’ve seen some of his fights on You-Tube and some on DVD,” Krasniqi says of Cleverly, as translated by Christof Hawerkamp. “He’s the champion and he also has a very intense and offensive style. I like that in a fighter. My own style? I too am very offensive. In fact, I’d say I’m offensive with no compromises! There is no doubt, this fight will be a very intensive, exciting fight. It has to be; we are both offensive fighters. This is what I will be prepared for physically. We should have fought a year ago (April of 2012) and I have only got stronger since then.”
Having had no amateur career in boxing – “I started Karate in my homeland of Kosovo at age 15, then I turned pro in boxing at age 18” – Robin first fought for pay in October of 2005, losing two of his first three, before putting his “greenhorn phase” behind him.
“Since my very first fight it has been my dream to become world champion. Forget my early losses. Today I am experienced and ready to make my dream come true. So far, my January 2012 fight with Hakim Zoulikah was my toughest, a great fight for me. He was small but tough. I was behind on points but knocked him out in the 12th-round (winning the WBO European title). My best KO was the one I scored against Serdar Sahin (KO4 in August of last year, for the WBO International belt).That was also in front of a big crowd, 12,000 in Berlin. That was a great feeling. Now I am using my experience and I am focused on Cleverly. This is the moment. My future starts after London!”
Krasniqi, the WBO number-one contender, may not be regarded as a huge puncher, yet he feels he will either stop Cleverly or beat him so convincingly the judges will simply have to award him the victory next month.
“The judges will see me as a good, attractive fighter. As long as they are objective, they will not be able to go against me. But if I have the chance to stop Cleverly, I will do so. Coming to England is all part of the challenge. I will impress the fans, and the judges, with my style. I know the British fans are known as experts of boxing. This will be a very good fight. I will definitely surprise Cleverly on the night.”