After 14 months outside the ring, WBA middleweight world champion Felix Sturm (33-2-1, 14 KOs) is ready to make his comeback, defending against dangerous puncher Giovanni Lorenzo (29-2, 21 KOs) on September 4th at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany. Sturm is not only fighting, he will also be promoting the event under the Sturm Box-Promotion banner. FIGO-Sport spoke to the popular champion about his comeback, his new company and much more.
Hello Felix, how’s the training going?
Good, today ten rounds with three sparring partners. I’m in good shape.
Who are your training partners in camp?
Lolega Mock, the EU midddleweight champion, and also two very good Polish middleweights.
How’s your weight?
This coming Friday I’ll be at the fight weight for the first time. My physical condition couldn’t be better. I make middleweight quite well. Over the weekend I’ll let the cells recharge and that should be fine. I already eat and drink normally. Now we’ll train in short, quick bursts of 45 minutes to an hour. We’re still studying a few things, and that’s broadly what we’ll do.
Are you still doing strength training?
Yes, on Friday there is strength training, so the musculature stays firm. We’ve carried out the strength program throughout the whole preparation accompanying the boxing.
Do you train on Friday quick strength or endurance?
It’s a general strength training program which contains both kinds.
Which gloves will you use in the ring, the German Paffen or the American Grant?
Grant, but Lorenzo can box with what he wants. Here I’m not fixed on a certain type. He should use whatever he likes best.
Why the American gloves?
It’s my personal feeling. The American gloves sit best of all on my hands. I have long hands and they don’t fit every model. Many gloves wear out in the fight, with Grant I keep a good grip. In addition, they fit very well to my style of fighting.
What’s up with Linkin Park? Will they play your walk-in live?
Last I heard they will be as a hologram in the arena and play live for us. But maybe they can come also. It’s a cool group. They’ve also invited me to their concert in Cologne on October 29th. They are world stars but nevertheless very cool guys. That has impressed me.
It’s your first fight as your own promoter. Will you take any old good luck bringers like fight trunks or boxing boots with you in the ring?
No, this is a superstition. I box in the things that feel good. Now I box in black and red, which are the colors of my logo. I don’t think much about this stuff. I’m just happy about the fight. The rest is a secondary matter.
How did the preparations go with a baby at home?
No problem. I lived at the hotel during the day and came home in the evening. Then we had breakfast together. My wife often visited me in Cologne and soon we’re moving here completely. Our apartment is virtually finished. But my son Mahir was always a good sleeper. Naturally he had his phases as his teeth came or he had growth spurts. But then my wife had me come back here so I could concentrate on my training.
After we had our last conversation there was a big response from the USA. Will fight you again in America?
Clearly, absolutely. But we have a very big interest here in Germany. We’re repositioning ourselves here. There are inquiries whether I would give Sebastian Sylvester a rematch, which I would basically desire. Or if Pavlik remains at middleweight or new people come like Pirog – this is all very interesting for me. But now I have only my next opponent Giovanni Lorenzo on my mind. He has power and can decide a fight with one punch. After a 14 month break I want to be convincing in the ring. I have already once before made the mistake of wanting too much. After the fight on September 4th there are the next plans.
Do you feel liberated in this fight after the separation from Universum?
Now clearly, I am a free man. It has highly loaded me. With Universum I was always positive. I left with a good feeling and both parties are happy about the solution. And I am the happiest because I can finally go my own way with my gym and my team. My manager (Roland Bebak) and my trainers (Clive Salz and Fritz Sdunek) are also my friends. We also have a good relationship with the sparring partners and the boxers who are with me under contract.
There was also a lot of luck on our side. Cologne Arena is the biggest Europe and one must book 1-3 years in advance, but nevertheless we got a date at rather short notice. A lot has worked out as we have introduced ourselves.
Are the ticket sales good?
Yes, we’ve now sold 9,000 tickets and the people are coming back from their vacation. I think it’ll be really full.
Ten years ago I made my debut as a professional boxer in Cologne, on the undercard of the Klitschkos. Since then I’ve wanted to box here again. The fight will be great and the undercard is super. The fans will be thrilled. We’ll offer them a lot of excitement for their tickets. After such a long break, finally, I want to stand again in the ring. I’m hungry like never before. For me it’s also a new beginning. Come and support me live in Cologne!