By Terence Dooley
Frank Warren reacted furiously to news of Juergen Braehmer’s withdrawal after learning that the German would not travel to London to defend his WBO light-heavyweight title against Welshman Nathan Cleverly at the O2 Arena on Saturday night.
Braehmer suffered an eye injury ten days ago; the 36-2 (29) titleholder hoped the wound would heal in time only to cancel the defense at the eleventh hour on Wednesday. Cleverly is now expected to become the full WBO incumbent due to Juergen’s erratic one-fight-per-year schedule and unreliability. Warren is now searching for an opponent for his charge; the promoter reacted furiously to news that the southpaw titlist would not fulfill his title obligations.
“He is completely unprofessional, and the WBO should impose the ultimate sanction which is to strip him of his title. It's one of the most unprofessional things I have seen in my time in boxing. It's a complete joke,” fumed Warren.
“Braehmer was due to fly into the UK on Tuesday. We got a call saying that he had missed his flight but would land in the UK on Wednesday at 12pm. We sent a car to pick him up from the airport. He didn't show up,” added Warren.
As interim title holder, Cleverly can expect positive news from the WBO, the likelihood is that he will still contest the title come the night. The 24-year-old told Sky Sports that he half-expected his 32-year-old foe to pull a no show.
“I knew he didn't want the fight with me so I was a bit anxious, I knew he was a temperamental character and had a feeling he wouldn't turn up,” insisted Cleverly, 21-0 (10).
The search is now on for a replacement opponent. British rival Tony Bellew is no doubt willing, but with two months left until his 16th July meeting with Ovill McKenzie it is unlikely that the big Liverpudlian would be able to make the 175lb division limit by Friday.
Number four ranked WBO contender Eduard Gutknecht is coming off a May 7th EBU win over Danny McIntosh and is a top ten fighter who is not months from a fight or inactive, could the 21-1 (9) German step into his countryman’s slot? Only time will tell as the search begins for a late replacement.
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