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Nathan Cleverly Withdraws, Billy Joe Saunders Tops Royal Albert Hall Bill on April 28

Billy Joe Saunders will now headline Royal Albert Hall on April 28. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Billy Joe Saunders will now headline Royal Albert Hall on April 28. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
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Nathan Cleverly withdrew from his April 28 fight with Robin Krasniqi a few days ago due to a viral infection, in a bit of news I just completely missed somehow, but the show at Royal Albert Hall will go on, with top prospect Billy Joe Saunders now in the main event.

Cleverly (24-0, 11 KO) was set to make another of his ridiculously easy title defenses against Krasniqi (37-2, 13 KO), but instead will be on the sidelines rooting for Bernard Hopkins to defeat Chad Dawson later in the night in Atlantic City. Golden Boy is at least paying lip service to the idea of a Hopkins vs Cleverly fight this summer, possibly in Cardiff, but Dawson has pretty much blew off the notion of the fight.

"I’ve never seen him," said a dismissive Dawson. "I’ve heard his name a few times. But the only person on my radar is Bernard Hopkins."

Cleverly may now have to move on to a mandatory title defense against Dmitry Sukhotsky (18-1, 13 KO), which really should have been the fight he took next week if he was really looking to land a big shot against Hopkins, but then that's probably giving everyone too much credit, to believe that Cleverly and Warren are actually targeting Hopkins and not just coasting on his name to get attention. Hey, it works, look at all the headlines about it.

The new bill features Saunders (12-0, 8 KO) taking on Tony Hill (8-2, 4 KO) in a ten round middleweight (or thereabouts) fight. But given that Saunders' bout is just another step, the best fight of the night is probably a 154-pound British title eliminator between Sam Webb (17-2, 5 KO) and Matthew Hall (24-4, 16 KO).

Also in action will be welterweight Bradley Skeete (7-0, 2 KO); welterweight Dean Byrne (15-1, 6 KO) vs Terry Holmes (5-0, 1 KO); super middleweight Frank Buglioni (3-0, 2 KO); junior welterweight Bradley Saunders (1-0, 1 KO); and welterweight Freddie Turner (5-0, 0 KO) vs Jay Morris (15-24-3, 4 KO).

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