Jurgen Brahmer-Nathan Cleverly set
Light heavyweight titlist Jurgen Brahmer of Germany will face interim beltholder Nathan Cleverly of Wales on April 2 at Wembley Arena in London, promoter Frank Warren announced Thursday.
"I'm delighted that I've been able to secure home advantage for Nathan," Warren said. "It wasn't cheap to get Brahmer over here, but it will be worth it because I really believe in Nathan and he has a big future ahead of him. It looked like the fight was going to go to purse bids, but we made a substantial offer the night before and it was enough to persuade Brahmer to say yes."
The fight will be Brahmer's first since he was scheduled to face fellow titleholder Beibut Shumenov in a unification fight in January in Shumenov's native Kazakhstan. However, just a few days before the fight, Brahmer, claiming illness, left town without telling organizers. That forced them to shuffle the show on short notice and Shumenov wound up instead fighting William Joppy, who was originally on the undercard.
The 23-year-old Cleverly (21-0, 10 KOs), one of Great Britain's rising talents, claimed a vacant interim belt in December with a decision win against Nadjib Mohammedi.
Brahmer (36-2, 29 KOs) represents a significant step up in the level of opposition Cleverly has faced.
"Nathan has worked incredibly hard for this opportunity, and waited patiently to get his shot," Warren said. "He's getting this fight at exactly the right time, and it could be a massive moment in his career. This is a huge fight. Brahmer is a proven champion and belongs at elite level, while Cleverly is young and hungry and could be the next big thing in the UK. Don't forget that light-heavyweight is a very sexy division right now.
"You've got Chad Dawson, Bernard Hopkins, Tavoris Cloud and Jean Pascal out there, and Nathan has the chance to make a name for himself both here and in the [United] States."
Cleverly had agreed to step aside so Brahmer could face Shumenov. When that fight was canceled, he was hopeful he would be the next opponent for Brahmer, which he now is.
"I always thought that I would get my shot at Brahmer," 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. I'm going to take the fight to Brahmer, walk through him and give him some serious punishment. I feel that this fight has come at the perfect time for me and I want to make a big statement.
"You only have to take a look at Brahmer'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 armory to beat him. Before my last fight I was only sparring amateurs, but this time around I've got some big professional cruiserweights in and I've been knocking them out. I'm going to significantly better against Braehmer than I was against Mohammedi, and I'm predicting a spectacular performance."
Brahmer, 32, has made two title defenses, both in Germany. He outpointed previously undefeated Dmitry Sukhotsky (14-0) in December 2009 followed by a fifth-round knockout of Mariano Nicolas Plotinsky last April.
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.