Boxing - Cleverly v Krasniqi set for March

Nathan Cleverly will finally defend his WBO light heavyweight championship against Robin Krasniqi on March 16.

Welshman Cleverly (25-0, 12 KOs) was set to fight mandatory challenger Krasniqi this past April at London’s Royal Albert Hall, but withdrew due to illness.

The WBO ordered a re-scheduling of the bout or else they would strip the 25-year-old of his title, and Cleverly’s promoter Frank Warren has won the purse bid to stage it.

Krasniqi, also 25, is a Kosovo-born fighter now living in Munich. His professional record reads 39-2 with 15 knockouts to his name.

His last fight was a third-round stoppage of Max Heyman in Magdeburg, while Cleverly recently defeated Shawn Hawk in eight at Los Angeles’ Staples Center.

No venue has been confirmed as of yet for the card which Cleverly and Krasniqi will headline, but while the champion’s camp would prefer a home crowd in Cardiff, the unbeaten Brit is not against heading to Germany.

"I think if the fight is in Germany, where it is notorious that the fighters get home decisions, I feel I'll really have to go out there and perform and put this guy to the sword," said Cleverly.

"I've got to perform and impress against this guy and that's going to set up the rest of 2013 then for the big unification fights. Everything will fall into place after this fight.

"If it all goes well with the Krasniqi fight, Beibut Shumenov is definitely in my sights and I would definitely like to fight the winner of Bernard Hopkins and Tavoris Cloud."