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Cleverly and Klitschko Title Defenses on EPIX in April and May, Respectively



NEW YORK, NY (March 19, 2013) — Live world championship boxing continues its EPIX run in April and May with two more exciting events featuring the kings of the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions.

Undefeated World Boxing Organization (WBO) light heavyweight champion NATHAN CLEVERLY defends his title against No. 1 contender ROBIN KRASNIQI on Saturday, April 20, at London’s Wembley Arena. The following month, World Heavyweight Champion WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO, making his fourth consecutive appearance on EPIX, defends his WBO/International Boxing Federation (IBF)/World Boxing Association (WBA)/International Boxing Organization (IBO)/The Ring world titles against undefeated Top-10 contender FRANCESCO PIANETA on Saturday, May 4, at the SAP-Arena in Mannheim, Germany.

Both fights will be televised live to the U.S. exclusively on EPIX, the premium entertainment network. EPIX will stream the fights live on EpixHD.com and on the EPIX app on Xbox consoles and Roku players as part of a special free trial offer for boxing fans.

These four gladiators boast a combined record of 151-5-1 (92 KOs) — a winning percentage of 96% and a victory by knockout ratio of 61%.

“We’re excited to present another strong slate of compelling world championship battles,” said Travis Pomposello, Chief Creative Officer for EPIX Sports. “The Cleverly-Krasniqi and Klitschko-Pianeta title rumbles are competitive fights with marquee value that our viewers want to see and have come to expect from EPIX.”

Cleverly (25-0, 12 KOs), of Caerphilly, Wales, was British Commonwealth and European light heavyweight champion before he ascended the throne as world champion. After winning the WBO interim light heavyweight title in 2010, winning a close but unanimous decision over Nadjib Mohammedi, he was elevated to world champion a few months later where he has since successfully defended the WBO title four times since 2011 against opponents who had a combined record of 81-6-2 when he battled them. In Cleverly’s last fight, which took place at Staples Center in Los Angeles on November 11, he blasted out Shawn Hawk in the eighth round.

Krasniqi (39-2, 15 KOs), a native of Serbia who fights out of Munich, Germany, is riding a seven-year, 38-bout winning streak. Only once has Krasniqi ever fought outside Germany — in Prague, Czech Republic in 2010. He enters this fight having won his last four fights by knockout. Those victories also earned him the WBO European and WBO International light heavyweight crowns as well and his WBO mandatory challenger position.

Klitschko (59-3, 50 KOs), of Kiev, Ukraine, is a two-time world heavyweight champion. Klitschko began his first title reign in 2000 when he captured the WBO heavyweight title via a unanimous decision over defending champion Chris Byrd. Byrd suffered two knockdowns in that battle. Klitschko’s two-year title reign included five successful defenses – all by knockout – before losing the belt to Corrie Sanders in 2003. Klitschko returned to the world championship throne in 2006, this time as IBF champion, when he dethroned Chris Byrd in a title rematch. This victory was even more emphatic than the first one with Klitschko stopping Byrd in the seventh round. Since that fight, Klitschko has taken on and defeated all comers while unifying the title with victories over WBO champion Sultan Ibragimov, and WBA champion David Haye. He enters this fight riding a nine-year, 16-bout winning streak. Last year he successfully defended his titles three times — a fourth-round knockout of former two-time world champion Jean Marc Mormeck on March 3, and a sixth-round stoppage of mandatory challenger Tony Thompson on July 7. He finished the year with a 12-round unanimous decision victory over previously undefeated Mariusz Wach on November 10. All three title defenses were televised live to the U.S. by EPIX.

Pianeta (28-0-1, 15 KOs), is a native of Italy who fights out of Gelsenkirchen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. An eight-year professional, Pianeta, 28, is an inspiring story having survived a bout of testicular cancer. After surgery in late 2009, the 6’5 southpaw returned to the ring one year later, knocking out Mike Middleton in the first round. His resume boasts a one-year reign as the European Union heavyweight champion, which included three successful title defenses, and victories over former heavyweight champion Oliver McCall and four-time heavyweight title challenger Frans Botha. In his last fight on November 16, Pianeta knocked out Nelson Dario Dominguez (14-1-1) in the first round. He is currently world-rated No. 8 by the WBO.