Nathan Cleverly lifted the WBA light heavyweight title to become a two-time world champion after Juergen Braehmer pulled out with an injury midway through their fight.A close fight was set for an exciting second half and there were no signs that Braehmer had suffered the injury before the surprising finish at the Jahnsportforum in Neubrandenburg, Germany.Braehmer (48-3, 35 KOs), a two-time world champion, did not look in too much distress when he walked over to Cleverlys corner before the start of the seventh round to tell him he was retiring injured. A rematch now seems likely.?Im just very grateful to be world champion again, I loved being world champion before and I lost my belt and I needed that belt back in my life, said Cleverly.Im very grateful for Juergen Braehmer giving me shot at title, and if he wants a rematch we have a rematch clause. I broke him up the first six rounds and it was inevitable what was going to happen, but if he wants a rematch I will do it.Cleverly (30-3, 16 KOs), 29, had not fought for almost a year since a 12-round brutal brawl with Andrzej Fonfara. That unanimous points defeat to Fonfara was Cleverlys third loss in three years and he climbed through the ropes much in need of a career boost.The Welshman lost his WBO version of the world title when Sergey Kovalev stopped him in 2013 and a year later he stepped up to cruiserweight to lose a split points decision to British rival Tony Bellew.But Cleverly showed his career is very much still alive with a sharp start in what was an absorbing fight that was intriguingly poised until its sudden finish.Braehmer, 38 next week, will want a rematch after ruling as WBA champion since December 2013 with six defences, all at home in Germany.Braehmer, who defeated Cleverlys fellow Welshman Enzo Maccarinelli in 2013, had been due to face Cleverly in 2011 but pulled out with an injury that saw him stripped of the WBO belt that the Welshman would go on to hold for two years.Cleverly began hoping to make Braehmer look his age by setting a high tempo pace, but the champion was the more accurate with his punches.Southpaw Braehmer began getting through with backhands and was not unsettled by the pressure Cleverly was putting on him in the first four rounds.Many of Cleverlys punches were blocked but Braehmer was better at finding the target on the counter.Cleverly had a good fifth round as he maintained a relentless workrate and the fight was close before an unexpected end.Braehmer did not appear injured during the sixth round but before the start of the seventh round he walked over to Cleverlys corner to congratulate him.Braehmer held an ice pack to his right pack as the decision was announced that revives Cleverlys career.Im still maturing and maybe it was too early before, said Cleverly.This is the second phase of my career and it feels the right time. 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PETERSBURG, Fla.The Desert Swing reaches its conclusion this week at the Dubai Desert Classic, where Rory McIlroy is looking to defend his title. Ben Coley looks at those best placed to challenge him. Rory McIlroyBack in 2009, a young man called Rory McIlroy held on for dear life to win the Dubai Desert Classic by a rapidly diminishing margin from Justin Rose, securing his breakthrough success on the European Tour. Seven years on, he returns a four-time winner in the UAE and a four-time major champion.Clearly, this is an event which holds a special place in McIlroys heart and having won it at a canter last year, hes the man to beat once more. There are one or two issues, chiefly that he putted poorly in Abu Dhabi, but his top-five there represents almost exactly the same preparation as 2015 when he had this title wrapped up very early. Rory McIlroy is going for three wins in a row in Dubai and a hat-trick of Desert Classic titles. The other is that hes yet to successfully defend a title, but he does win at the same courses time after time and that really isnt a major concern to me. Some will point to the fact that hes yet to break 70 in round four here, but thats a statistical anomaly too and the fact that it hasnt stopped him winning this twice tells you how far clear he could be after the opening 54 holes, so everything points to a McIlroy win.He knows full well the value of getting some silverware in the bag, is desperate to return to the top of the world rankings and his best golf would leave the remainder of the field playing for second.Henrik StensonGiven that it was his first start after knee surgery and on a course he hadnt played well in years, Henrik Stensons top-five finish in Abu Dhabi very much caught the eye.Now returning to Dubai, where hes won the DP World Tour Championship twice as well as this title once and used to own a home, hes the obvious threat to McIlroy. Stenson missed last weeks Qatar Masters through injury It should be noted that Stenson withdrew from the Qatar Masters last week because he needed time to recuperate further following surgery, but the major issue where Stenson is concerned is that since winning the 2014 season-closer, hes found it impossible to get over the line despite having numerous chances.In fact its now 10 top-five finishes since his last win, including no fewer than six runner-up finishes last year, and how hell cope if presented with a chance to win remains to be seen. In all likelihood hell be fine - Stenson certainly hasnt finished winning tournaments - but if youre betting its enough of a worry to ignore him at 10/1 in a field which includes such a strong favourite.Rafael Cabrera-BelloAlthough short enough in the betting, the strongest candidate in terms of simply playing well beyond the top two is Spains Rafael Cabrera-Bello.Having threatened to win throughout last summer, he then suffered a dip in form but rediscovered his scoring touch towards the end of the campaign and has carried that through to 2016, with second place last week following 14th in Abu Dhabi. Cabrera-Bello features alongside Tyrrell Hatton and Alex Noren Encouragingly, Cabrera-Bellos often shaky short-game was really good last week - the exception being when he took four to get down on the par-three 8th hole in round four - and with his ball-striking as strong as ever that makes for a dangerous combination.Although hes always done well in Abu Dhabi and Qatar, its here in the Dubai Desert Classic where he produced the standout performance of his career to win the title in 2012. That will help boost the confidence levels further and its only an apparent lack of belief which stops this talented 31-year-old from becoming one of the standout performers on the circuit.Martin KaymerFollowing a disappointing 2015 which saw him atypically spurn two glorious opportunities to win, Martin Kaymer will be eager to banish the demons as soon as possible this season and Dubai gives him a good opportunity.Although best known for his Abu Dhabi exploits, four top-five finishes in six starts here confirm that Emirates GC is just as suitable and his top-20 to start the season was perfectly encouraging.Kaymer ranked second for greens here last year, his first start in the event since 2012, and a similar display from tee-to-green would ease pressure on his weak area, chipping and pitching. Certainly if he hits over 80% of his targets as he did in 2015 then I would expect him to figure prominently on Sundays leaderboard. Kaymers last victory came at the 2014 US Open Byeong Hun AnByeong Hun An would have been higher on this list but for the fact he jetted out to Singapore last week. That alone wouldnt have been a major issue but he had to endure several weather delays which cant be described as ideal, while his 77-73 at the weekend is of even greater concern.Otherwise his credentials are really strong. We know thanks to his victory in the BMW PGA Championship that he can beat high-class fields, and his desert record is seriously impressive with top-15 finishes in all six starts including fourth in the DP World Tour Championship and fifth in Abu Dhabi.Last years 13th in this event (66-69 weekend) is really encouraging and with top-10 finishes in six of his last eight starts worldwide, everything but last weekends golf suggests hes going to play well. Unfortunately, scheduling may cost him a chance to properly contend.Andy Sullivan Sullivan was in contention in Abu Dhabi but went 74-73 over the weekend Theres been money for Andy Sullivan already this week and its easy to see why. The Nuneaton man was 12th on his debut in this event three years ago and fourthh in 2015.ddddddddddddHes since added second place in the DP World Tour Championship to his desert résumé and was in front at the halfway stage of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on his first start of 2016. Granted, he played poorly on the weekend - it all unravelled at the difficult par-four ninth with a lost ball on Saturday - but hes got the right attitude and will soon put that behind him.With three European Tour titles in 2015, hes among the most prolific players in this field and to my mind its potentially an advantage that he skipped Qatar last week.Usually, teeing up in Doha is an advantage but given how slow the greens were and how hard the wind blew, it doesnt look like an ideal way to prepare for this calmer test on slick putting surfaces. Fresh and raring to put his last couple of rounds behind him, Sullivan is a big each-way player.Louis Oosthuizen Oosthuizen is without a win since 2014 Louis Oosthuizen made an encouraging return to action last week and is a player in Dubai if building on that top-10 finish. His record here at Emirates GC is patchy but does include third in 2008 and seventh a year later, when he should have been much closer to McIlroy but carded a final-round 74.Oosthuizen also has a very good record in the DP World Tour Championship and has a pair of top-five finishes in four starts in Abu Dhabi to his name, so hes another who goes particularly well with the sun on his back in the desert.With three South African winners in four events this year, including his Presidents Cup partner last week, Oosthuizen seems sure to be spurred on to get back to winning ways and I was particularly encouraged by his short-game in Doha.Danny WillettAlthough down the field in Abu Dhabi on his return, Danny Willett has three top-five finishes in his last five starts worldwide and Im surprised to see him so far down the betting. Willett started the year slowly in Abu Dhabi last week This is the man who almost denied Rory McIlroy the Race To Dubai crown last November and while his record here at Emirates GC may not leap off the page, he opened 67-66 last year and was fourth heading into the final round.It was a similar story in 2014 when a second-round 65 had him bang in contention and theres enough evidence if you look beyond his finishing positions to suggest he can contend at this course.Of course, hell need to step up on Abu Dhabi but Willett is capable of doing just that as he looks to nail down a Ryder Cup debut and hes a better player than his odds suggest.Bernd WiesbergerAnother man looking to force his way into the Ryder Cup reckoning is Austrias Bernd Wiesberger, who gained a deserved third European Tour title in the Open de France last year. Wiesberger started finished in a tie for fourth in last years event Now 30 and with experience of contending in a major behind him, Wiesberger is ready to step up and need only find confidence and consistency with the putter to do so.Theres a feeling that hes not been at his best in recent starts yet hes still been right up there, finishing 26th in Abu Dhabi and 13th in Qatar, so with progressive form figures of 9-4 here in the last two years theres cause for optimism.Given that he doesnt putt brilliantly, Wiesberger may be more likely to win under slightly tougher scoring conditions but so strong is his tee-to-green work that hell have plenty of chances this week. If the putter gets hot, hell be right in the mix. George CoetzeeThe final spot in the Power Rankings goes to George Coetzee, whose seventh place in Qatar last week suggests hes now back in the best of health after injury curtailed his 2015 campaign.The South African was fifth on his debut in this event and with a strong desert record, this is an event which is perfectly suited to his attacking game.One of the best putters on the circuit, Coetzee will love these surfaces and gets the narrow vote over Thomas Pieters to complete the top 10.Sleepers Johnston is looking to build on a solid week in Qatar Andrew Johnston is improving all the time and seriously impressed me on Sunday, controlling his game beautifully under the pressure of contending for a prestigious title. His ball-striking has been top-notch in each of his last three starts and having played well on his first look at this course last year, he will be looking forward to a big week.Renato Paratore is another who is striking it well and having sneaked inside the top 30 last week, the young Italian is one to keep an eye on. He finished 13th as a rookie here last year, falling away a little on the weekend, and has the power to tame the Emirates. Whether hes quite ready to win remains to be seen but he can at least take inspiration from Matteo Manassero, his compatriot who made a huge splash as a teenager.Marcel Siem overhauled his support team and practiced hard throughout winter, and the early signs are that its paid off. He was fifth in Abu Dhabi and played well in Qatar, so given that hes got a strong record here in Dubai theres every reason to think hes in for another top-30 finish at the very least. My BetsUnfortunately, with McIlroy so strong but so short in the outright betting, Im not getting involved here. Sky Bet do have some dual forecasts which are tempting and their 80/1 that McIlroy and Cabrera-Bello finish first and second in any order would be one for my shortlist.McIlroy/Willett is another to consider at 70/1 and splitting stakes on these two is one way to give yourself an interest, with Rory highly likely to keep up his end of the bargain. I am also playing in the first-round leader market, with Nicolas Colsaerts, Max Kieffer and Bryson DeChambeau. Could McIlroy and Willett once again go head-to-head in Dubai Colsaerts almost led here in 2015 and has done so twice in his last 10 starts, while Kieffer is a habitual fast starter who shot 66 on day one last year. DeChambeau led in Abu Dhabi a fortnight ago and won a one-day exhibition on Sunday so he too could threaten the top of the leaderboard on Thursday.Watch the Dubai Desert Classic throughout the week live on Sky Sports 4 - your home of golf. Live coverage gets underway on Thursday from 4am. Also See: Recap: Rorys 2015 victory McIlroys Dubai record Qatar Masters Season Pass Golf live on Sky Sports 4 ' ' '