By Jake Donovan
An injury has forced Nathan Cleverly to pull out of a second straight fight, this time withdrawing from his scheduled February 1 showdown with Illunga Makabu in Monte Carlo.
“(Nathan) has sustained a minor injury and will not be fighting in Monte Carlo on February 1,” Frank Warren, Cleverly's promoter, announced. "[W]e are about to re-schedule a fight for him."
The bout was to serve in supporting capacity to middleweight titlist Gennady "GGG" Golovkin, set to defend versus Osumanu Adama in the evening's headliner. Also still intact is another middleweight bout on tap, with England's Martin Murray facing Jarrod Fletcher of Australia.
The incident marks the second time in less than three months Cleverly was forced to withdraw from a fight.
The former light heavyweight titlist announced his plans to move up to cruiserweight following his one-sided 4th round knockout loss to Sergey Kovalev last August in Wales. His cruiserweight debut was to come on November 30, but an injury scratched his scheduled bout with Daniel Amman.
News of this withdrawal didn't sit well with promoter Rodney Berman, who blew his gasket for the second straight day.
“I knew he’d pull out,” claimed Berman, whose Golden Gloves promotional company hosts the event. “He’s not a true champion, I always felt that. Whatever excuse Cleverly is making, I know he hasn’t been injured. He pulled out because he realized he had no chance against Makabu."
Berman was on the opposite end of a cancelled fight just one day earlier, when unbeaten Thomas Oosthuizen was pulled from his January 18 bout versus Eleider Alvarez. The bout was to air on HBO live from Montreal, but Oosthuizen suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, leaving him with "abrasions, bruises and cellulitis" according to a diagnosis from the doctor in South Africa who treated him.
The revelation of the injuries were apparently the latest in a running list of issues with the unbeaten fringe contender, whom Berman abruptly released from contract. The fight withdrawal cost GYM Promotions a considerable amount in obtained visas, flights and accommodations, as Oosthuizen was scheduled to arrive Tuesday in Canada.
Barely one day later, he takes another promoter to task over inconveniencing his own show.
"Everyone said that when the fight was signed and it obviously dawned on him. I always suspected he was molly-coddled. Frank Warren clearly shot his bolt by doing the deal and now has to accommodate his fighter wanting out.”
A new opponent will be sought for Makabu (15-1, 14KO), whose lone loss came in his pro debut. The February 1 appearance, whomever it may come against, will mark the third time in his last four contests fighting in Monte Carlo.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox