Saturday night at Jahnsportforum in Neubrandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany, former WBO World light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly (29-3, 15 KOs), from Cefn Fforest, Wales, United Kingdom, upset reigning and defending WBA World light heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer (48-2, 35 KOs), from Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany, forcing the stoppage when Braehmer injured his arm at the end of the sixth round and could not continue.
Braehmer was ahead on all three scorecards 58-56 at the time of the stoppage.
He reportedly broke his elbow.
Braehmer hadn’t lost a fight since 2008 and the defeat came as a shock. It was the seventh defense of the title he won in 2013 and he was the favorite going in.
But Cleverly was busier. He was also younger. He was comfortable fighting at his natural weight again. He was comfortable bouncing punches off a man eight years his senior.
“Something like this is irritating when you know you’re ahead,” said Braehmer after the fight. “I couldn’t throw the right hook anymore. I decided to stop before anything else happened. I’m 37, this isn’t the end for me.
“Cleverly told me in the ring and it’s also contractually agreed.”
“I am very grateful to be world champion for a second time,” said Cleverly. “I won the world title when I was 24 and was living the dream in the sport that I loved. I lost my belt in my sixth defense and lost it in devastating fashion. We have ups and downs in this sport and I have had them all. Maybe it was a bit too early and I was learning boxing and still maturing. Since then I have become wiser, more mature and stronger physically and mentally.
“When one door closes, another one opens and it’s time for a new champion.
“It’s just good to be back.”
Cleverly praised Braehmer and his performance.
“I’m very grateful to Juergen Braehmer for giving me a shot at the title,” said Cleverly. “He has been a great champion but he is 37 years of age now. It’s time for a younger lion to come through.
“Ultimately I broke him up in the first six rounds and knew I was going to dominate the second half. We knew it was going to be a tough fight early on because Brahemer is 37 and very experienced.
“It was a matter of keeping it tight and letting him work with me because he has heavy hands and would punch himself out.
“The plan was get up tall and set up the second half of the fight. As you saw in the last round before he pulled out, I had started to get my range. I took the steam out of him and he folded a little bit earlier than I expected.
“But the writing was on the wall and I was too much for him.”
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.