In a move that realistically should surprise absolutely nobody, Juergen Braehmer has withdrawn from his Saturday fight with Nathan Cleverly, citing an eye injury.
Percentage of boxing audience familiar with Braehmer likely to buy this story: 2-5%. Braehmer also claimed an injury when he left Beibut Shumenov hanging in January. He gave three days' notice in January to Shumenov, which I remember saying when that fight was signed, set your watches and try to pick the day Braehmer pulls out. I was mostly waiting for the same thing to happen this time, but assumed maybe the money was too good.
Braehmer has largely been more noted for his out of the ring troubles during his career, including last January being sentenced to 16 months in prison for a couple of assault charges. He's had a long history of trouble with the law, and I've wondered in the past if he's even allowed, legally, to leave Germany.
Frank Warren, of course, is furious, as this gouges his Sky Box Office event. Warren only found out through the internet reports from Germany:
"It's disgraceful, what's happened here. It really is the bad side of the sport. Something needs to be done about it and I'll obviously be complaining to the WBO but because of the time difference we have not managed to speak to anybody there."
Warren added: "What's even more disgusting is reading about it on the internet.
"At the moment all I want is the WBO to do what they have said they would do and strip this guy, because it's not the first time he's done this. He has a track record for it. He's a let-down."
One possible replacement opponent for Cleverly, who intends to fight, could be Liverpool's Tony Bellew (15-0, 10 KO). Bellew is ranked in the WBO top 20 and apparently wants the fight. Bellew, 28, is still a bit raw and isn't quite world level, and has had trouble in his past two fights with Bob Ajisafe and Ovill McKenzie. Currently, Bellew is slated to face McKenzie in a rematch on July 16.
We'll have more if and when a replacement opponent is named. And hopefully, this is the last time anyone bothers booking Braehmer for a major fight.