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Boxing politics confused Cleverly

Nathan Cleverly reckons a politics degree may have served him better as he struggles to negotiate his way into high-profile unification fights.

The WBO light-heavyweight champion, who is a mathematics graduate, has been unable to build much momentum since completing his studies over two years ago and turning to boxing full-time.

Names such as Bernard Hopkins, Chad Dawson, Beibut Shumenov and Tavoris Cloud have all been mentioned but so far, Cleverly has been unable to lure them into the ring.

The Cefn Fforest man takes on mandatory challenger Robin Krasniqi at Wembley Arena on March 16 before another possible defence against former champion Juergen Braehmer.

Once those scraps are out of the way, the 25-year-old is desperate to kick on and elevate himself to the bigger stage after a frustrating 2012 which saw him make just two outings, against uninspiring challengers Tommy Karpency and Shawn Hawk.

"It's been frustrating," said Cleverly. "I could probably do with having a politics degree rather than mathematics.

"It's not always easy making these big fights because there are a lot of politics involved, not only getting the financial side of things right but also it comes down to whether these guys actually want to fight.

"Perhaps they don't want to get in the ring with a young, hungry fighter like myself.

"So the negotiations are a lot of work but I'm sure we'll get there. I just leave all the politics to my promoters to sort out and concentrate on training and turning up on fight night to win and do the business."

He added: "Last year was frustrating because it was quiet and I only had two fights but now we can rebound off that and make 2013 a much better year.

"I want to be more active, have more fights and bit-by-bit push towards those big unification fights.

"At least last year I stayed undefeated, remained a world champion and this is a fresh start."

Serbian Krasniqi (39-2, 15KO wins) has earned his shot by negotiating his way up the WBO rankings but has no notable wins on his statistically creditable record.

Cleverly (25-0, 12KOs) knows relatively little about the Germany-based challenger except for his appetite for battle.

"Krasniqi is a good fighter," said the champion. "He's won his last 38 fights but he hasn't fought anybody like myself so this is going to be a big challenge for him. It's a real step up.

"But he's still going to be a tough opponent for me. He's hungry and he's knocked out his last four opponents, so I've got to be ready.

"It's going to be a really good clash of styles because we're both attacking fighters. It's going to make for an exciting fight."

Cleverly co-headlines the Wembley Arena bill with Scotland's Ricky Burns, who engages in a lightweight unification scrap with Miguel Vazquez.