• Light-heavyweight

Cleverly: I need more desire than Krasniqi

ESPN staff
January 29, 2013 « Etim: Renee Forte gets punished at Wembley Arena | Chartbeat test »

Nathan Cleverly believes nothing counts like hunger when fighting for world titles and admits he will have to be at his most voracious to successfully defend his belt against Robin Krasniqi.

Serbian-born Krasniqi, 25, lost two of his first three professional fights when he was 18 but has since been undefeated in 38 bouts and Cleverly believes he will be a real test.

The fight is slated for March 16 at Wembley Arena and in preparation for his WBO light-heavyweight title defence, Cleverly is relying on simple training techniques.

"Training is going really well," he told ESPN's Steve Bunce in his new boxing podcast. "We've stuck to basics, running in the snow, like in Rocky! I've got a sparring partner over from Ireland. I feel ahead of schedule at this stage, but I've got to be for this fight as this guy is hungry and unbeaten in his last 38 fights. I've got to be on my game for this one."

While the Welshman is focused on his next fight he cannot help but plan his route to a unification bout with either Tavoris Cloud, Chad Dawson or Beibut Shumenov. But before he gets his shot at another world title he must also dispatch the winner of Juergen Braehmer and Eduard Gutknecht who fight on February 2 - a clash he believes will also come down to who wants it more.

"I'm divided on this," Cleverly added. "I'd like to see Braehmer win as I was meant to fight him before for the world title before he pulled out. But part of me thinks that Gutknecht will have more hunger and just edge it. I think it'll be decided on points. Quite soon after March 16th I'll be prepared to fight the winner and keep my momentum going.

"It's a massive year for me. These two mandatory fights will set up a unification fight and will decide whether I'm No. 1 or not."

Nathan Cleverly was speaking to Steve Bunce in his new ESPN podcast, out every Monday. Click here to listen to the latest episode.

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