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Nathan Cleverly to return in Monaco against Ilunga Makabu

Nathan Cleverly has his next fight set, as the former light heavyweight titlist will take on dangerous cruiserweight puncher Ilunga Makabu on February 1 in Monaco.

Scott Heavey
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

With Pawel Kolodziej dropping out as the opponent for Ilunga Makabu on February 1 in Monaco, when Gennady Golovkin headlines against Osumanu Adama, Nathan Cleverly has stepped in for what is a very dangerous fight as he looks to make his mark as a cruiserweight following August's brutal loss to Sergey Kovalev in Cleverly's final fight at light heavyweight.

Cleverly (26-1, 12 KO) hasn't fought since he was overpowered by Kovalev and lost his WBO light heavyweight title, a bubble-bursting reality check that was followed by the fighter giving himself and his performance an honest look-over, considering his future in the sport, and deciding to return at cruiserweight for another go at a world title. Against Makabu, he'll look to secure the interim WBA belt, which would put him right in line for such an opportunity.

Makabu (15-1, 14 KO) is no joke, though, and this is an ambitious first fight at the new weight for Cleverly. After losing his pro debut back in 2008, Makabu has gone 15-0. He's shown some real ability in recent fights against Dmytro Kucher and Eric Fields, and though he has a fairly empty record overall, he passes the eye test, at least.

Is Cleverly taking too big a risk as he moves up?

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