- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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When light heavyweight titlist Nathan Cleverly of Wales came to Los Angeles and stopped Shawn Hawk in the eighth round of a one-sided title defense on a Nov. 10 Golden Boy Promotions undercard, it was supposed to be an audition for a possible fight with former champ Bernard Hopkins.
However, when Hopkins passed on Cleverly (25-0, 12 KOs) to instead take a likely March 9 fight against titlist Tavoris Cloud, it left Cleverly in a position where he had to make a mandatory defense against Germany's Robin Krasniqi (39-2, 15 KOs) after the WBO ordered a purse bid -- minimum offer $300,000.
Frank Warren, Cleverly's promoter, won the recent purse bid with an offer of $500,000, beating Ulf Steinforth of SES Boxing, Krasniqi's promoter, who bid $431,650 at the ceremony in Budapest, Hungary.
Warren said the date of the fight would be March 16 in either London or Liverpool, England, or in Cardiff, Wales.
Cleverly, 25, will be making his fifth title defense. Krasniqi, 25, lost two of his first three pro bouts -- both four-round decisions -- but has been perfect since. He wil be taking a significant step up in competition against Cleverly.