WBO clears Robin Krasniqi for Nathan Cleverly defence

Welshman Nathan Cleverly

Nathan Cleverly is cleared to fight Robin Krasniqi in the fourth defence of his WBO light-heavyweight title, the World Boxing Organisation confirms.

The WBO initially refused to sanction Cleverly's proposed defence against Kosovan Krasniqi in London on 28 April.

The WBO only gave Cleverly permission to fight Tommy Karpency in February as long as his next defence was against mandatory challenger Dmitry Sukhotsky.

But the winner of Cleverly v Krasniqi must fight the mandatory challenger.

The WBO initially insisted Cleverly's Krasniqi bout "cannot and would not be sanctioned".

But promoter Frank Warren and the WBO resolved their "situation" to allow the unbeaten Welshman to take on Krasniqi, unbeaten since January 2006, as long as the winner faces 30-year-old Russian Sukhotsky within 120 days.

The 28 April clash is the first world championship boxing show the London's iconic Royal Albert Hall for the first time in over a decade.

"I'm glad it's all sorted out and I can now fully focus on Krasniqi for my title defence," said Cleverly.

"I wasn't worried about it as I've faced and dealt with bigger problems in the past when I faced Aleksy Kuziemski at 48 hours notice when Juergen Braehmer pulled out so this was no trouble in comparison.

"This is a hard test for me, he's had 39 fights with only two early points losses and hasn't been stopped before so I'm preparing for the hard twelve rounds, unless he goes early. I need to win this fight in style as I want Hopkins in Wales."

Cleverly is already in training for the WBO number four ranked German-based challenger, who has never been stopped in 39 fights, and is on the same night as Bernard Hopkins's WBC world light-heavyweight title rematch with Chad Dawsonexternal-link in Atlantic City.

The 25-year-old Welshman has the added incentive of a possible summer showdown with American legend Hopkins as Warren has confirmed he is in talks with Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer.

"Krasniqi is a tough fight for Cleverly and it's easy to look ahead to a potential Hopkins fight," said Warren.

"But Cleverly has to look good and do the business against Krasniqi first.

"Hopkins is in action against Dawson on the same night and Richard and I have had discussions about the winners, which hopefully should be Hopkins and Cleverly, fighting each other next."

Cleverly is to be the first Welshman to appear in a world title fight at the Albert Hall since Howard Winstone beat Mitsunori Seki to win the WBC featherweight crown in January 1968.