Nathan Cleverly to face cruiserweight puncher on Golovkin undercard


Former WBO light heavyweight titleholder Nathan Cleverly will face hard-punching cruiserweight contender Ilunga “Junior” Makabu on the undercard of the Gennady Golovkin-Osumanu Adama WBA middleweight title bout in Monte Carlo on Feb. 1, it was announced by the card’s promoter, Golden Gloves of South Africa, on Friday.

Cleverly (26-1, 12 knockouts), THE RING’s No. 3-rated light heavyweight, will be making his debut in the cruiserweight division, where Makabu (15-1, 14 KOs) is rated No. 6 by the magazine. The two contenders will meet in a 10-round non-title bout, according to the Golden Gloves press release, but has listed the fight as a 12-round bout for the WBA “interim” title.

Cleverly, of Wales, is coming off a fourth-round stoppage to Sergey Kovalev in August. The 26-year-old Welshman made four defenses of the WBO title before losing the Russian KO artist. In Makabu, a 25-year-old southpaw from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cleverly is once again facing a puncher.

“The UK has a great heritage of producing top cruiserweights and Cleverly is another in this long line,” said Rodeny Berman, president of Golden Gloves. “I expect the fight against Makabu will be explosive.”