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.
Words: Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen
Picture: Andreas Sauer – Sauerland
Reigning ‘Regular’ WBA heavyweight world titlist Alexander Povetkin will not be trading leather with mandatory challenger Hasim Rahman at the Boleyn Ground in London on Saturday, July 14 because of a clash between licensing in Britain and broadcasting in Germany. While the David Haye and Dereck Chisora main event will remain in England, Povetkin and Rahman will be rehoused in Hamburg on the same night.
Licensing at the football ground of West Ham United dictates that Haye and Chisora’s grudge fight could not begin later than 22:00 and, due to German TV network ARD’s demands that Povetkin v Rahman fill that time slot and occur prior to the former fight, scheduling proved impossible. Chris Meyer, managing director of Sauerland Event, explained: “It is due to organisational aspects; the English time schedule was too tight.”
He continued: “We wouldn’t have been able to guarantee that the fight could have been broadcasted live in Germany. Therefore the heavyweight world championship will be staged in Hamburg. There are not a lot of cities in Germany which can host such an event on such short notice. Hamburg is a real boxing city with a great audience and a lot of boxing tradition. Furthermore the city possesses the required infrastructure to host such a big event.”
Povetkin added: “My fourth fight as a pro was in Hamburg, back in 2005. Obviously I remember that fight very well. I have also been there a few times to visit my promoter Kalle Sauerland.”
Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen
The least heralded of the world champions at super middleweight, WBO incumbent Robert Stieglitz failed to boost his international stock value as, even though he amassed a one-sided points victory over Nader Hamdan on Saturday, May 5 at the Massehalle in Erfurt, Germany, the lack of quality opponent combined with the dour nature of the fight ensured no fear will have been instilled into any potential future challenger (George Groves, Arthur Abraham or Mikkel Kessler).
Official verdict: Stieglitz on points (120-108, 117-111, 117-111).
Originally slated to fight unbeaten Briton George Groves, Robert Stieglitz showed signs of de-motivation when clashing with 38-year-old Australian replacement Nader Hamdan (who had won just once in his last five prior to Stieglitz). The busier boxer, Stieglitz was also faster than Hamdan and his hand speed in particular ensured he was able to send multiple hooking punches to both of Hamdan’s cheeks when he was mid-flurry.
Tactically, Stieglitz fought a good fight early on and, being eight years Hamdan’s junior, attempted to old man his opponent by taking as much gas out of his lungs when pounding the body early on. Stieglitz, though, never really got going and merely cruised to a shut-out decision.
Hamdan established his jab in round three yet his movement was too one-dimensional, he moved in forward and backward lines and neglected side-to-side motions. These forward lines meant he walked into shots, notably chin-bound right hands as Stieglitz – even when in second gear – limited Hamdan’s precision by attacking so efficiently himself. Hamdan, though, sought to outwork Stieglitz in the match-up’s second quarter. In the first half of the fifth round, for instance, Hamdan took control via sheer work-rate alone, yet, in the second half of the round, Stieglitz regained the upper-hand with his attention to the body, the accuracy of the right hand over the top.
While Stieglitz was undeniably the superior super middleweight, there were flaws in his approach to boxing Hamdan. The Sydney-based fighter, who had only once been stopped by knockout in two hands full of defeats (to Arthur Abraham), was a durable man but was largely immobile. Stieglitz’s activity was eye-catching but he was not trapping Hamdan. The Australian always wanted to operate in the middle of the ring, something Stieglitz allowed him to do, yet if he forced him into a corner – or even the ropes – he would have a stationary target to unleash combination after combination on.
Undeterred at being so far behind on the scorecards, Hamdan did have reason for cheer as his jabbing produced mild swelling on the champion’s face in round eight but, just when he may have nicked a ten score, Stieglitz reverted to form and considerably out-threw and out-boxed Hamdan.
Leaving it late to change gears in order to finally increase his speed and power, Stieglitz forced Hamdan into punishing territory in round ten but that burst of excitement was short-lived as the German – fatigued – went back to doing just enough to claim the round and the eventual victory, moving to 42-2-0, 23ko in what was a forgettable performance. Hamdan dropped down to 43-10-1, 18ko.
Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen
WBO cruiserweight world champion Marco Huck, 27, engaged in a fight of two halves with challenger Ola Afolabi, 31, at the Massehalle in Erfurt on Saturday, May 5 as Afolabi’s skill outshone Huck in rounds one to five only for Huck’s power to see him mount a macho comeback in the contest’s latter half. There were no knockdowns but the 12th became a contender for round of the year as both fighter’s went all in, only for a majority draw to be announced.
Official verdict: Majority draw (115-113 to Huck, 114-114, 114-114).
Walking out to the distinctive Favela melodies of classic Baile Funk – the unmistakeable sounds of the Copacabana ghettos in Brazil – it was clear reigning cruiserweight world champion Marco Huck had one thing in mind; to drag fast-improving 200lber Ola Afolabi into a street fight. Huck did just that when challenging Aleksandr Povetkin for the ‘Regular’ WBA heavyweight title in his most recent outing but was denied glory due to polarising judging but, in his first round back at cruiser, he fought tentatively as Afolabi controlled the pace, style and distance in the opening three minutes.
Captain Huck, a pug notorious for fighting more actively in the final 30 seconds of each round, threw too little shots to actually perturb his opponent from attack and so Afolabi sent thumping body shots into each side of Huck’s midsection, perhaps in an attempt to prevent any late onslaught. What may have attracted the attention of judges at ringside was one thunderous power punch from Huck (that Ola took extremely well – his sparring duties for the Klitschko brothers perhaps serving him well) but that was balanced by Afolabi seemingly flooring Huck at the round’s end. The Briton, though, was left questioning the referee why it was not given as a knockdown.
Afolabi’s shot selection was astute and his jabbing was particularly exquisite. Both fighters had clearly improved markedly since their first duel in 2009 (a competitive distance fight edged by Marco) but, from the first quarter of their rematch, it was Ola who was in control, reducing Huck to bleeding from his nose and mouth. Entering the second quarter, Afolabi continued his domination… his careful dismantling of Huck who, despite his best efforts to fight in the alleyways in Erfurt, was finding it an arduous task actually landing on a mobile target.
Nailing Huck with troubling uppercuts, Afolabi also landed jabs to the abs, right hands to the temple and pawing gloves through a weakening guard. When Huck attempted an attack, Afolabi easily glided away from danger, showing plentiful upper body movement and frustrating the home fighter. At fundamental levels, Huck was just getting out-skilled and, largely, schooled. In the sixth round, Huck landed one of his most meaningful punches and certainly one of the hardest overall, as he scored an uppercut that would have been labeled hellacious should he have been facing any number of the other cruiserweights but Afolabi was unfazed, underwhelmed and proving himself to be a tough OG.
A mental game ensued at the beginning of the second half of the contest. Slugs were exchanged… Afolabi with his trusted right hand and Huck with his typical flurry but the change in pace and fighting style was an un-necessary one for Ola, who had been dominating when he was boxing. In a punch-for-punch brawl, Huck traditionally excels.
Nicknamed ‘Capn’, Marco could easily be renamed ‘Left Hook’ Huck such was his ability to tee off from the wide angles whilst also combining the punch with straight rights. By the eighth round, Afolabi’s movement had deteriorated and so Huck’s accuracy improved.
Gameplans were vital in Huck v Afolabi II. Ola dominated when he was disciplined in the first five rounds and stuck to his boxing skills, but when he dug himself into the trenches, he was outgunned by Huck, whose famous final 30 second bursts became so intense that at the end of round nine he almost finished the fight. Afolabi was left covering up as Huck gave the Los Angeles-based Londoner a shellacking. Should Huck have continued that motif into the tenth, the same score would have appeared, but the exchanges were too even to split the combatants.
With Huck’s one fight foray at heavyweight, there were question marks over whether he would be conditioned enough having shed 20lbs+ to return to cruiser, however, in the championship rounds, Huck grew in strength. So much so, that in the final stanza, he did as he so long desired to – got into a Baile Funk ruckus – as he and Afolabi fired so many cannon balls into each others frames that the 12th will no doubt go down as a round of the year contender.
Neither fighter was rewarded for their grueling work as no victory was announced, rather, a majority draw. Considering the different styles of both men, the thrilling climax and their now two-fight history, a third showdown must surely be booked. With the draw, Huck and Afolabi moved to 34-2-1, 23ko and 19-2-4, 9ko respectively.
Photo credit: Karina Hessland
Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen
After a slow start against experienced heavyweight Alexander Dimitrenko, undefeated professional Kubrat Pulev finished strong and scored his most significant victory to date by knocking out a previously unstopped fighter who had, prior to the opening bell, only one loss on his resume (Eddie Chambers, on points). For his win on Saturday, May 5 at Germany’s emergent boxing Mecca; the Messehalle in Erfurt, Pulev gained the EBU championship.
Official verdict: Pulev by way of KO.
Dimitrenko executed a sharp jab in the opening round and, boasting the superior technique, the Ukraine-born German’s work was in danger of getting overshadowed by Pulev’s wide overhand right in round two. Such success from Pulev proved to be sporadic, as Dimitrenko – a 29-year-old with victories over Albert Sosnowski, Ross Purrity, Timo Hoffmann and Michael Sprott on his record – began throwing his own right hand and it was a far more educated, straighter and thoughtful shot than the ones Pulev dispatched.
Pulev, 6’4 1/2, came back into the fight in the third round and marked-up Dimitrenko’s eye with some blue swelling due to a more convincing jab. That lead shot oft came at an unexpected moment as Pulev would wind-up to throw the right, which opened Alexander up and, instead, Kubrat poked an orthodox jab into Pulev’s face. Finding his range with power in the fourth, Pulev’s overhand rights – thrown in a less looping fashion than in the early rounds – connected and forced Dimitrenko into an act of kidology as he attempted to laugh off the thudding shot.
Dimitrenko had the benefit of the physical advantage as he towered over Pulev by three inches and also had a greater wingspan (reach = 83 inches). His fighting style in the fifth round, though, did not reflect this as Pulev maintained the boxing initiative. Dimitrenko rallied late in the stanza and a controlled cluster of punches ensured a share of the spoils prior to the sixth.
Fighting in black trunks, Dimitrenko – nicknamed Sascha – pressured Pulev further in the sixth round but left himself open to incoming shots and a mouse on either side of his nose became obvious to note. Pulev’s intuition was far greater than Dimitrenko’s. When Dimitrenko was about to throw a left, Pulev knew that he could jab with his opponent’s jab and beat him to the punch – something that happened repeatedly in the seventh. Dimitrenko may have been credited with the greater shot output, but it was Pulev’s precision that deserved higher points for A: the effectiveness of his aggression and B: opening up angry cuts (a peach of an uppercut at the end of round seven could have been the blow that left a lot of blood leaking from the side of Sascha’s eye).
The will, determination and desire to throw a shot had been beaten out of Dimitrenko. In round eight he threw in a lackadaisical manner while Pulev’s upper body movement ensured he could evade the shots. In return, Pulev – to put it simply – outboxed his man. Using the full space of the ring, Pulev’s conditioning was so ‘on’ that he was still able to maneuver around the periphery in round nine with the same ease in which he did in round one. His shot selection, too, was just as wise and, even though he relinquished the ten scores to Dimi in the early stages, by the decisive stanzas it was turning into a beat down.
Such was the difference in class, accuracy and power, that before round ten, British trainer Scott Welch’s attempts to gee up Dimitrenko fell on deaf ears as the pugilist gave a hint that he may have wanted an out. The more Dimitrenko’s jaw began to hang due to fatigue, the easier time Pulev had in landing as Kubrat attached chin-checking overhand right shots to his orthodox jab.
With his mouth agape and legs buckled, Dimitrenko was eventually – and inevitably – felled in round 11, by a jab no less. The knockdown was most likely scored due to exhaustion on Dimitrenko’s part rather than power on Pulev’s, but the big man was on his knees for a big count – all the way to nine – before the referee waved the fight off.
With victory, Pulev enhanced his standing as one of Europe’s leading heavyweights, bolstered his claim to be amongst the elite at world level, added the European title to his IBF International belt and saw his record jump up to 16-0-0, 8ko. Dimitrenko stepped back to 32-2-0, 21ko.
Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen
Rising Danish prospect Patrick Nielsen earned his eighth knockout in 14 victories last night, April 21, in front of 2,758 of his own fans at the Arena Nord in Frederikshavn as he stopped brash Argentinean fighter Gaston Alejandro Vega in what was an emotional bout for the home boxer due to the antics Gaston engaged in. Nielsen spoke of his relief in making Vega pay for sporting an Argentina soccer jersey with “The Nielsen Slayer” printed on the back.
“I am thrilled to be the WBA Intercontinental champion,” said Nielsen (14-0-0, 8ko) following his tenth round knockout win. “This is a big win for me. It was a tough fight. I was provoked badly by Vega and his ‘slayer’ shirt so I wanted to make him pay. I am glad I knocked him out in the end.”
Vega, who was game throughout, believes he was never out of the fight and lamented over the loss: “It was all or nothing for me in the end, I knew it would go one way or the other in the tenth round, I am very, very disappointed that I lost. It was a hard fight.”
Promoter Nisse Sauerland added: “Congratulations to Patrick for a spirited and courageous performance. It was an exciting fight, Vega gave it his all but Patrick’s superior skills and superior power succeeded in the end. This was an important victory for him. He will now enter the WBA rankings and continue his climb to the top. It was a great night of boxing in Frederikshavn with a fantastic atmosphere.”
On The Beak – Admin
Burgeoning super middleweight James DeGale, 26, makes the first defence of his coveted EBU championship this evening – Saturday, April 21 – as he takes on experienced challenger Cristian Sanavia, a 37-year-old southpaw who briefly held the WBC world title eight years ago. DeGale weighed in on the dot (168lbs) while Sanavia came in half a pound lighter. The two swap shots at the Arena Nord, Frederikshavn in Denmark as part of the Nordic Fight Night series.
On The Beak – Admin
Regular WBA heavyweight world champion Aleksandr Povetin (23-0-0, 16ko) and WBO cruiserweight world champion Marco Huck (34-1-0, 25ko) faced the media this week at the final press conference ahead of their showdown in Stuttgart on Saturday, February 25: “Povetkin is good, but I can beat him. We once did sparring together and he has bad memories of me,” the challenger revealed. “On Saturday I will be the new champ. He is going down!”
“I’m ready to become heavyweight champion,” Huck continued. “I would not have taken the fight if I didn’t believe in myself.
While Huck tried his best to provoke Povetkin, the 32-year-old Russian remained calm: “At first I was surprised about Huck’s challenge because he has never fought at heavyweight before but I am happy to defend my title against anybody out there. I am in great shape and I will win.”
Huck’s coach Ulli Wegner expects a hard-fought battle: “This will be an exciting fight,” he said. “It’s time to bring back some excitement to the heavyweight division and Saturday will be the first step. We believe that Marco has a better stamina than Povetkin but we will find out about that in the ring.”
Said Povetkin’s coach Alexander Zimin: “We had a very good preparation. Alexander has improved physically, I would say he is 20 to 30 percent stronger than in his last fight. But the best is yet to come. He has got great potential.”
Promoter Kalle Sauerland said the clash will be a real treat for fans: “This is what the heavyweight division needs,” he stated. “It will be very exciting. Both are fast, aggressive, strong and full of confidence. And both do not always have the best defence. It’s going to be spectacular.”
Picture credit: Andreas Sauer/Team Sauerland
WBO cruiserweight world champion Marco Huck (34-1-0, 25ko) has predicted a knockout victory over WBA heavyweight world titlist Aleksandr Povetkin (23-0-0, 16ko) when they clash at Stuttgart’s Porsche Arena on Saturday, February 25: “I plan to show my fans a great fight, which will end in a KO victory for me,” said Huck during the public workout. “I will defeat Povetkin and accomplish my goal of becoming world heavyweight champion.”
In the co-featured main event, rising middleweight star Dominik Britsch (26-0-0, 9ko) faces Roberto Santos (17-6-0, 9ko) for the EU title at 160lbs. Elsewhere on the card, Marcos Nader battles Baker Barakat over ten threes and Edmund Gerber takes on Oleksiy Mazikin in a heavyweight eight rounder.
Povetkin is convinced his second title defence will again be a successful one: “I have had a very good preparation with Alexander Zimin, all went very well,” he stated. “I am ready for Saturday. I am here to defend my title. I will win.”
On The Beak – Admin
IBF cruiserweight world champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez (25-1-0, 13ko) will face two-time world champion Steve “USS” Cunningham (24-3-0, 12ko) in a hotly-anticipated rematch in Frankfurt on Saturday, February 4. www.boxing-online.com caught up with the 27-year-old Cuban.
Q: Yoan Pablo, you will be facing Steve Cunningham for the second time on Saturday. Are you upset about giving him a rematch?
YPH: “No, not at all, much on the contrary. I am happy to fight him again. I will show everybody that I am the better fighter. If there are any doubts, I will erase them.”
Q: The first fight came to a controversial ending. Cunningham believes you could have fought on despite the cuts. What’s your take on that?
YPH: “Well, it wasn’t me who stopped the fight, but the referee after consulting the ring doctor. One of the cuts was very deep, the risk of getting a serious injury would have been too big in my opinion. And the blood was affecting my vision. Who knows what could have happened.”
Q: Are you upset about the fact that everybody discussed the ending of the fight? After all, you knocked him down in the first round…
YPH: “Of course I was upset. I performed well on that night and I deserved to win. Everybody should respect that. Cunningham should have respected that, too.”
Q: How will the second fight go?
YPH: “I hope it will not be as bloody as the first fight. I hope for a fair fight – I will be fighting fair. It’s my goal to win the rematch and put an end to the discussions about the first fight.”
Q: Has your life changed after winning the world title?
YPH: “Not really. I am the same person I was before. But when walking around in Berlin, I get recognised by more fans.”
Q: If you win on February 4, what will be next for you?
YPH: “I will take some time off. Every athlete needs breaks. I have trained very hard in the past months and I just want to spend some time with my family. Then I will quickly return to training for my next fight. But I am not thinking that far ahead. All that matters now is the rematch against Cunningham on Saturday.”