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  1. ITV Report

Nathan Cleverly pulls out of world title defence

Welsh boxer Nathan Cleverly has been forced to pull out of his WBO light-heavyweight world title defence next weekend after contracting a viral infection.

The Welshman had been due to face German fighter Robin Krasniqi next month at London's Royal Albert Hall, but his management company Frank Warren Promotions confirmed his preparations have been hampered by the illness.

Cleverly said: "I've been unable to train because I've been laid up in bed with a viral infection and there's not enough time to make up what I've missed in training to make sure I'm fully fit."

"I've taken the advice of my doctor and been told to fully rest before attempting to start training again."

"I'm really disappointed because I was looking forward to being the first fighter to bring boxing back to the Royal Albert Hall in over a decade and the first of the century."

The unbeaten 25 year old caused a storm at governing body the WBO when he announced the match up with Krasniqi. This caused the WBO to initially release a statement declaring they would not allow it to go ahead as Krasniqi was not the opponent they stipulated when Cleverly beat American Tommy Karpency in February.

This was however overturned after talks between the WBO and the Welshman's promoter Frank Warren.

There is still hope that despite the delay Cleverly will finalise plans to fight American boxing legend Bernard Hopkins later this year.

Speaking on his website Cleverly said: It was a big night for me as Hopkins was facing Dawson on the same night and I was looking to do a good job on Krasniqi to get a fight with the winner"

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