Press Releases – Sauerland
There is exciting news for Robert Helenius (18-0-0, 11ko) and Kubrat Pulev (17-0-0, 9ko) as both top heavyweight contenders currently hold the number one spot in their respective rankings. After beating former world champions Lamon Brewster, Samuel Peter and Siarhei Liakhovich, the WBO already instated Helenius as their number one fighter in September, last year. However, after the fight for the European Championship against Dereck Chisora in December 2011, the Finn had to take a longer break due to a serious shoulder injury.
On November 10, Helenius gave his successful comeback in Helsinki. After ten rounds, the “Nordic Nightmare” won a unanimous points decision against Sherman “The Tank” Williams – the WBO’s previous number ten. In their latest Rankings, 28-year-old Helenius is back as the number one ranked boxer.
Kubrat Pulev has also been enjoying some very successful months. The prodigy of coach Otto Ramin first laced his gloves as a professional in September, 2009. In his debut fight as a pro, he beat Romanian Florian Benche on points. Since then, the 31-year-old has won every single one of his 17 fights and boasts a perfect record.
The big break came this year after beating Alexander Dimitrenko to claim the European Championship on May 5 in Erfurt, Germany. Another victory followed on September 29, when the Bulgarian took on the 140-Kilo colossus Alexander Ustinov in Hamburg. Hence, the move up to first place of the official IBF (International Boxing Federation) rankings was just a matter of time.
The current WBO and IBF Champion is Wladimir Klitschko. The Ukrainian also holds the WBA Super Champion status. The regular WBA Champion is Alexander Povetkin (25-0-0, 17ko and pictured below), who is signed to Team Sauerland just like Helenius and Pulev.
“The hunt for Wladimir Klitschko is on. First, he will have to face mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin. Once that fight has happened, we will see if Klitschko is still the champion,” said a confident Kalle Sauerland.
“We already have one heavyweight world champion in Povetkin. With Robert Helenius and Kubrat Pulev we have two more fighters who [are] capable of taking the belts [from] Klitschko. Added to that, we also have 24-year-old heavyweight hopeful Edmund Gerber in our ranks. But before we can start thinking of anything else, Klitschko has to face Povetkin.”
In boxing terms the year for Team Sauerland ends with Arthur Abraham’s title defense against Mehdi Bouadla on December 15. However, the planning for 2013 has already begun and it will start off with a bang. The legendary Max-Schmeling-Halle in Berlin, Germany will host the all-German affair between current European Champion Eduard Gutknecht (24-1-0, 9ko) and his compatriot and stablemate Juergen Braehmer (38-2-0, 30ko) on February 2.
Gutknecht clinched the EBU title in May, 2011 by a TKO victory in round eight over Britain’s Danny McIntosh. Since then, he successfully defended the championship against Lorenzo DiGiacomo, Vyacheslav Uzelkov and Tony Averlant. The big four governing bodies of boxing all rank the prodigy of coach Ulli Wegner in their top ten.
“It is going to be a great fight,” said 30-year-old Gutknecht. “I am highly motivated for this bout. First of all, it is an all-German affair. Added to that, the winner will get a crack at a world championship. Juergen Braehmer is one of the big names in the world of boxing. I am really looking forward to be facing him inside the ring.”
Former WBO titlist Juergen Braehmer is also full of confidence when he is thinking ahead to the fight. ”I am just excited about getting back into the ring and fighting for my new team for the first time. I know what it feels like to be a European and world champion. My goal is to get back to that level. I have the chance to prove to everybody what I am capable of on
February 2. I want to get back to the top,“ said the 34-year-old, coached by Karsten Roewer.
Chris Meyer, managing director of Sauerland Event: “We are happy to kick off the new year in Berlin. This will be a very exciting fight. Eduard Gutknecht is the current WBC number two, Juergen Braehmer is listed as the number two
by the WBO. February 2 is not just about the highly regarded EBU Light Heavyweight Championship but also the position as the mandatory challenger for the WBO Crown.”
Tickets for the show at the Max-Schmeling-Halle in Berlin, Germany will be available next week at www.eventim.de.
On The Beak – Admin
Tony Bellew sent a chilling warning to current European (EBU) champion at light heavyweight Eduard Gutknecht after a stunning fifth round knockout of Danny McIntosh in his British title defence at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. The hometown star delivered an overhand right at the start of the fifth that was a fitting finish to The Big Bang billing, and there was only one winner from the start as Bellew bossed proceedings in front of his raucous army of fans.
Bellew rocked McIntosh in every round, finally flooring the Norwich fighter at the very end of the fourth round. McIntosh had a minute to recover, but it was not enough as Tony put the icing on a dominant performance with his devastating knockout blow.
McIntosh came into the fight brimful of confidence knowing he’s prospered in tough waters before after winning the European title in France against Thierry Karl. But he was unable to silence the partisan crowd this time around as Tony jumped all over the challenger from the off and is looking to face Gutknecht for the European strap after running out of patience over a rematch with Nathan Cleverly.
“I needed to make a big statement tonight and that’s exactly what I did,” said Bellew. “It was a calculated performance and my game plan was all about speed. Danny wasn’t in France tonight, he was in Scouseland and he couldn’t handle me or stop me. I’m humbled that people spend their hard earned cash on coming to see me fight. I’m no different from the fans; I just punch people in the face for a living that’s all.
“I don’t need Nathan Cleverly to make a name for myself. He’s fighting number 83 in the world, which says it all. I just want to fight someone who will challenge me. I’m not interested in anything less than that. I would fight him anywhere but he doesn’t want to know, so let’s move on.
“Who is there in this country to fight? I want to fight the best. I don’t want to train for 12 weeks and fight someone who I can blow over. To be European champion would be a dream and I would love a fight in Germany with Gutknecht, what an experience that would be.”
Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen
Eduard Gutknecht overcame the challenge of his mandatory EBU opponent Vyacheslav Uzelkov at the Fraport Arena in Frankfurt, Germany on Saturday, February 4 due to a superior boxing ability that was ever so slight. Uzelkov had the far greater power, demonstrated by the marks on Gutknecht’s face, and the Ukrainian fought well in the middle stages but it was not enough to take possession of Eduard’s European light heavyweight belt.
Official verdict: Gutknecht wins a unanimous decision (115-114, 116-112, 117-111).
Uzelkov and Gutknecht opened their argument by fighting to a good tempo, with lots of shots fired, however, the most common – short-range hooking punches aimed at mid-level – were easily thwarted by the defending party’s elbows. Both 175lb campaigners demonstrated a good defence but, in the second round, openings began to be found, particularly be reigning EBU light heavyweight king, Gutknecht, who located Uzelkov’s jawline with a thudding right cross.
Both men boxed with that classic European upright stance yet Uzelkov showed minor head swaying head movement which occasionally confounded Gutknecht’s jab. For the main part, though, when one-two combinations were fired, Uzelkov – instead of head movement – raised his forearms to block shots rather than evade. With this shield, though, Gutknecht figured out it was easier to hook around the guard rather than attempt to punch through it with straight punches.
Gutknecht became more of a moving target in the third round, perhaps due to Uzelkov’s attempt to up his punch output and determination having been implored by his corner to be more aggressive as he was not assertive enough in the opening six minutes. Uzelkov loaded up on power, yet Gutknecht was the ring general in the final 60 seconds through the use of his jab. As a result of Uzelkov’s strength and sheer force, Gutknecht was found on his stool between rounds receiving treatment for a bloodied nose.
In round four, Uzelkov was forced onto the backfoot by Gutknecht but, in round five, Uzelkov played his part in the back-and-forth encounter by relying on work-rate instead of power, however, Gutknecht was still the fighter connecting with the cleaner shots.
In the sixth, Uzelkov, who had taken full control of the pace of combat, scored the round’s first meaningful punch with a heavy right hand hooked around Gutknecht’s guard. The defending EBU titlist, a 29-year-old born in Kazakhstan but – for boxing purposes – a legitimate German having adopted the country as his own, began reddening and swelling by the fight’s midway stage. Gutknecht, pre-fight, was regarded to be the finer technician of the two and, judging from the exchange, this was an accurate assessment, however, his face was unmistakeable… he was in the ring with a man with genuine power.
In round seven, it was Uzelkov who was chasing Gutknecht around the ring… a contrast to the fight slipping away from the latter who could, in the championship rounds, be forced to chase the actual fight. Gutknecht returned to the stool again with a marked nose and fierce reddening over his right eye.
The one area, Gutknecht appeared genuinely superior in for the majority of the bout was in jabbing yet in rounds eight and nine, it was Uzelkov who was beating Eduard to the lead shot. Gutknecht, though, would have won favour with the ringside judges as it was he who panicked his opponent by hounding and harrassing him with a pressured attack (led in by swift footwork) which provided the catalyst for a slip and awkward fall, thus allowing Uzelkov a momentary respite.
In round ten, Gutknecht forced a strong body attack and boxed on the front-foot. Uzelkov, in the final stages, clubbed a right hand over the top but it was the champion who took the ten score because of his effective pressure. In the penultimate stanza, Gutknecht, like he did in the round prior, backed Uzelkov into retreat, particularly when he threw the combination of a jab and right hand, or double jab and the right.
Uzelkov, in an acknowledgment he was behind in the bout, entered the final round in an aggressive manner but, even on the backfoot, Gutknecht was able to box his way to the final bell and keep his man away from him with two tactics – the jab and also the clinch. Gutknecht, though, did do enough to claim the ten score, primarily because of the sheer number of punches he threw (some of which were blocked by a guard employed by Gutknecht that was still rigid despite 36 minutes of fighting), however, it was the defending titlist who did enough over the course of the contest to retain possession of the coveted blue belt.
With the deserved triumph, Gutknecht moved to 23-1-0, 9ko and could be aligned with Britain’s big-hitter and appropriately named Tony ‘The Bomber’ Bellew should the latter prevail over Danny McIntosh – a Gutknecht victim – for the British belt at 175lbs in April. In defeat, Uzelkov dropped to 25-2-0, 16ko.
Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen
Many column inches have been dedicated to what has been described as the first high-profile boxing event of the year as a championship double-header consisting of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Marco Antonio Rubio as well as Nonito Donaire and Wilfredo Vazquez Jr goes down in Texas on Saturday, February 4. However, the San Antonio card has a predecessor as Germany plays host to the highly-anticipated IBF cruiserweight world title rematch between Yoan Pablo Hernandez and Steve Cunningham earlier that evening.
Tough Germany-based Serbian Enad Licina takes on Alexander Alekseev for the EBU belt at 200lbs, while Eduard Gutknecht and Vyacheslav Uzelkov complete the Fraport Arena, Frankfurt card in an EBU light heavyweight title clash.
During a confrontational head-to-head, Cunningham (24-3-0, 12ko) stared down Hernandez – a fighter whom he lost possession of the IBF title to in their last fight – and said: “That is my belt, it is coming back to me.
“You better hug it tonight. I am the real champion. Nobody is going to help you this time. I live, eat, sleep boxing. Nobody ever helped me. No referee helped me up off the ground when I got knocked down. I am worried for you! I am the real champ.”
During the October, 2011 tussle at the Jahnsportforum in Neubrandenburg, Hernandez canvassed Cunningham in round one, however, the latter rallied well, took control of the fight but, in the sixth round, the contest was stopped on account of cuts and therefore went to the scorecards of the judges – who had Cuban southpaw Hernandez ahead at the time.
“It was the wrong decision to stop the fight,” said Cunningham. “All I ask for on Saturday is an equal playing field. Hernandez is a good fighter but I am better. I will prove that I am the best cruiserweight.”
Speaking out on Cunningham’s calls for reclaiming what he believes is rightfully his, Hernandez (25-1-0, 13ko) commented that it is “no problem” for him. He added: “He is American and Americans talk a lot. We’re used to it. I look forward to the rematch. Cunningham is a top cruiserweight, a very strong opponent, but I deserved to win the first fight and I will beat him again. If there is any doubt left that I am better, I will erase all doubts on Saturday night.”
Promoter Wilfried Sauerland said: “The first duel was very dramatic. I disagree with some of the things that happened. I thought that the count in the first round – when Cunningham went down – was too long. And I also disagree with the decision to stop the fight due to the cuts, I think they could have fought on. Now we look forward to a compelling rematch.
“Cunningham and Hernandez are the two best cruiserweights out there. We feel honoured that, on top of the IBF belt, The Ring belt will be at stake. It is going to be very, very interesting.”
On the undercard, emerging cruiserweight Licina (21-3-0, 11ko) promised a fan-friendly contest: “I grew up in Frankfurt and I want to give my fans an entertaining fight. Alekseev is an accomplished fighter but I am tough and I will beat him.”
Opponent Alekseev (22-2-0, 20ko) noted that, to realise his ambitions, he must “win” on fight night. “I want to be the new European champion.”
European light heavyweight ruler Gutknecht (22-1-0, 9ko) honours his mandatory challenger by taking on Uzelkov (25-1-0, 16ko): “He is a very strong opponent but I will remain the champion,” Gutknecht said.
(Embedded video below credit – YouTube, SekondzOut)
On The Beak – Admin
Newly-crowned IBF cruiserweight champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez (25-1-0, 13ko) is eager to get back into the ring with two-time world champion Steve “USS” Cunningham (24-3-0, 12ko). The duo will collide for the second time in four months during Team Sauerland´s big show at the Fraport Arena in Frankfurt on February 4, with Enad Licina (21-3-0, 11ko) and Alexander Alekseev (22-2-0, 20ko) clashing for the vacant European cruiserweight title and European light heavyweight champion Eduard Gutknecht (22-1-0, 9ko) defending his title against mandatory challenger Viacheslav Uzelkov (25-1-0, 16ko).
“It is going to be an exciting night of boxing,” Team Sauerland General Manager Chris Meyer said at today´s press conference in Frankfurt. “The three title fights promise a lot of excitement, especially the rematch between Hernandez and Cunningham. Their first fight was very dramatic. I think it´s a 50-50 fight, with Hernandez being the favourite because he is the world champion.”
Hernandez knocked Cunningham down in the first round of their meeting in October, but the American veteran recovered and fought back. After six rounds, the fight was stopped on cuts with Hernandez ahead on the scorecards. “It was a great feeling to become world champion,” Hernandez said. “However, the ending was a bit unfortunate. I am the better fighter and I am happy to prove it again to erase any doubts. I have a lot of respect for Cunningham, he is a great fighter, very skilled and very fast, but he will not get his title back.”
German coaching legend Ulli Wegner believes the 27-year-old Cuban will be the next big thing: “Yoan Pablo is very special,” Wegner stated. “Ever since he joined me in 2005, we have had a very close relationship. He has the potential to be a huge fan favourite in Germany. Whenever we have joint public appearances, I realise how popular he is with the fans and the media. He has great things ahead.”
In the co-featured main event, former world title challenger Enad Licina, who fell to Cunningham last February, will come face-to-face with former world amateur champion Alekseev: “He is a tough guy,” Licina said. “But the fact that I will be fighting in front of my home fans in Frankfurt will give me a big boost. I am sure I will beat him and become the new European cruiserweight champion.”