A press conference was held today in Budapest Hungary for Saturday’s “Universum Champions Night” world title twinbill on Saturday. Speaking to the media were local hero WBO super middleweight champion Karoly “Hitter“ Balzsay (21-0, 15 KOs) and his challenger Robert Stieglitz (35-2, 21 KOs) plus the participants in the just announced and hastily arranged WBO interim light heavyweight world title clash between European light heavyweight champion Jürgen Brähmer (33-2, 27 KOs) and unbeaten Aleksy Kuziemski (17-0, 4 KOs).
Photos: Balazs Czagany
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It was originally planned for Brähmer to challenge WBO light heavyweight champion Zsolt Erdei in September, but the bout was never finalized due to network TV scheduling conflicts. Moving the fight up to the August 22 date wouldn’t have given Erdei sufficient time to prepare, so the WBO approved an interim showdown between #5 Brähmer and #3 Kuziemski, who were both in intensive training.
There was talk of Brähmer stepping in on short notice against WBA champion Gabriel Campillo, but Campillo instead defended against Beibut Shumenov on Saturday in Kazakhstan. Kuziemski was training for a defense EBA-Europe title. Both agreed to take the fight on short notice with the winner earning a showdown with Erdei.
“It is difficult to prepare for two opponents,” said Brähmer. Especially because Campillo is a southpaw and Kuziemski is a righthander. But for such a big opportunity I would have happily boxed both. I’m glad that now the opponent is finally determined. I know Aleksy very well, that’s my advantage. But each fight is unique and different….I will make every effort to take advantage of my second [world title] chance. I’ve learned my lessons and have trained even harder.”
Brähmer’s trainer Michael Timm added, “That Jürgen enters the ring in top shape is always the priority. Because the name of the opponent only came at short notice, even more is asked of Jürgen’s concentration. The defeat in 2008 has made Jürgen even stronger.”
Kuziemski stated “Jürgen is an extremely strong opponent. I will absolutely become world champion and as always will bring my fighting spirit into the ring. Whoever the champion is will be decided on Saturday.”
Kuziemski’s trainer Artur Grigorian commented, “Of course we all know each other very well. But whoever wants to become a world champion must beat everyone. We are ready.”
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WBO super middleweight champion Karoly “Hitter” Balzsay will be making his second title defense against #9 rated former IBF world title challenger Robert Stieglitz. “With Robert I have a very difficult opponent,” said Balzsay. “Of course, I have the home match advantage, but at the same time I also feel more pressure.“
Balzsay’s trainer Fritz Sdunek stated “I always like to come to Budapest. Karoly is my third world champion I’ve been with here. That is a good omen.”
Challenger Robert Stieglitz said “Balzsay is very skilled. His best fight was against Inkin. His home advantage is at the same time a responsibility to present himself well. I am a little bit of an outsider, but want to prove that I have the makings to become a world champion.”
Stieglitz’ trainer Torsten Schmitz stated “Robert is the challenger, but if he can overcome the butterflies early on he has a chance.”
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Also seeing action in Budapest are German super middleweights Eduard Gutknecht (in his first international title fight) and former world title challenger Dimitri Sartison in separate bouts. Gutknecht (16-0, 7 KOs) meets Brazilian Josival Lima Teixeira (13-3, 10 KOs) in a WBO Intercontinental title bout, while Sartison (24-1, 15 KOs) faces battle-tested Czech Michal Bilak (19-9, 10 KOs).
Unbeaten Hungarian favorites Zsolt Bedak and Pal Bedak are also on tap to thrill the hometown spectators. Super bantamweight Zsolt Bedak (13-0, 3 KOs) will be making the first defense of his WBO Europa belt against Yersin Jailauov (20-6-1, 7 KOs) of Kazakhstan, while flyweight Pal “Pimpa” Bedak (4-0, 2 KOs), who has delivered some explosive and spectacular fights early in his career, meets Russian journeyman Ravil Mukhamadiarov (7-30, 6 KOs).