On September 18th ARENA and promoter Ahmet Öner will present two shows on both sides of the Atlantic on the same day. At Gran Casino de Castellon (Spain) German heavyweight prospect Steffen Kretschmann, rising middleweight star Mahir Oral and Konstantin Airich will try to get back from their respective losses in June (Kretschmann and Oral) and March (Airich). Hours later, Öner’s US partner Luis und Ricardo Decubas in association with Caribe Promotions Inc. and JAOLI Fight Promotions will present the “Caribbean Invasion” at the Fontainbleau Hotel in Miami Beach featuring two-time Olympic gold medallist Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Both shows will be televised live. Eurosport covers the show from Spain in Europe; the card from Miami will be featured live on ESPN 2’s “Friday Night Fights”.
“I would have loved to be at both shows”, states promoter Ahmet Öner who is just recovering from his gunshot wound he suffered at an assault two weeks ago. “Our TV partners on both sides of the Atlantic asked for the same date. As we are an internationally operating group with reliable partners in Europe and the USA we can handle the situation without any problems. I am sure that both shows will be great.”
Most probably the ARENA CEO will remain in Europe and be ringside at the show in Castellon de la Plana (70 km north of Valencia) to support his German prospects.
After his upset tko-loss to Russian veteran Denis Bakhtov on June 26th Steffen Kretschmann wants to return to the winning ways against Turkish tough guy Ergin Solmaz. ARENA’s second heavyweight hope Konstantin Airich faces strong Russian Yuri Lunev. And Mahir Oral comes back from his great fight against unbeaten middleweight-king Arthur Abraham on June 27th with a fight against former stable-mate Alexander Sipos.
“Kretschmann and Airich have to prove that their respective losses were just fluke”, states Öner. “We will see how they can deal with the situation mentally. Most heavyweights have had losses in their careers; some come back stronger, others can’t recover from it. We will see how these two do. Mahir Oral showed great heart and a stunning performance against Abraham. The whole world saw that he’s got championship potential. But he has to show a good fight as well to commend himself for another shot at the title. So I expect dominant performances and clear wins from all three of them.”
In Miami Beach two-time Olympic gold medallist and two-time world amateur champion will face a tough test in his third professional fight in ring veteran Giovanni Andrade (61-10). Andrade has collected numerous regional and minor titles in his 16-year-long pro career and is coming of a five fight winning streak.
“In this fight Rigondeaux can show his class”, says Öner. “He has been the best amateur boxer in the world so I am sure that he can handle and school Andrade.”
While some of his Cuban fighters get ready to step into the ring German newspaper BILD reports that the assault on Ahmet Öner two weeks ago might have been ordered by the Cuban government. Two years ago Fidel Castro had accused Öner and his “German mafia” of stealing his fighters. Öner doesn’t comment on the rumours at the moment. “It’s the police’s job to find out who tried to kill me”, says the promoter.