London / Johannesburg / Monte Carlo - Former WBO light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly has replaced Pawel Kolodziej as an opponent for big-hitting cruiserweight Junior Makabu on the undercard of Gennady Golovkin’s championship fight at the Monte Carlo Boxing Bonanza on February 1, 2014.
The tournament is presented by Africa’s promotional giant, Golden Gloves of South Africa.
Cleverly (26-1, 12 KOs) stepped in after Kolodziej had second thoughts about facing the brutal puncher from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The pair will meet in a 10-round non-title bout.
“I’m very happy about the change,” enthused Berman. “Cleverly is a bigger name by far and has been in with outstanding boxers. The UK has a great heritage of producing top cruiserweights and Cleverly is another in this long line. I expect the fight against Makabu will be explosive.”
Makabu (15-1, 14 KOs) is arguably the most devastating puncher in the cruiserweight division with all but one of his wins having come by knockout.
Having recently surrendered his WBO title, Cleverly has decided to campaign at cruiserweight where he anticipates more success after an outstanding reign in which he ran up 26 straight wins.
A former European, British and Commonwealth light-heavyweight champion, the Welshman cleaned up in Britain before capturing the interim WBO title against Nabjib Mohammedi in 2010. He then beat Aleksy Kuziemski for the WBO title outright in his next fight, in 2011.
Four successful title defences followed, the best of them a stoppage defeat of Shawn Hawk in Los Angeles in 2012.
In Cleverly's most recent fight, he lost in four rounds to undefeated Sergey Kovalev in Cardiff, Wales in August, prompting his move up a division where he meets thedangerous Makabu.
Cleverly is excited to get the opportunity to regain a world title and end the year as world champion after losing his WBO crown.