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Q&A: Firat Arslan

The comeback of 39-year-old former world champion Firat Arslan was unsuccessful after a two year break, however the Arslan Team attributes his eleventh round TKO loss to dehydration more than the punches of newly crowned WBA interim champion Stave Herelius. “That was bitter,” said trainer Michael Timm, “I’m sure that Firat would have won that fight on points.” Herelius started strong as expected, but Arslan was in command until suddenly running out of gas. Arslan spoke after spending the night in the hospital.

Photos: Eroll Papova

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Firat, you are back at the hotel giving interviews again after spending the night in the hospital. How are you?

Thank you, I’m fine considering the circumstances. I was doing better relatively quickly, but I spent the night in the hospital a precaution.

What exactly happened?

It was a severe circulatory collapse. Although I actually had enough water to drink, I was completely dehydrated.

Why? Did you overpace yourself? Was it too hot in the arena?

I don’t know. We need to take our time and anayze it. I just know that I was well-trained and in top shape.

How big is the disappointment?

Of course, it’s very large. I’m very sorry for the fans. I would have liked to give them a win as a gift. I had it all planned out – and up to the end everything went very well. I’m sure that I would have won the fight on points. To lose in such a way is quite bitter. Nevertheless, I congratulate my opponent Steve Herelius. And I thank the fans who had their fingers crossed for me in the arena and on TV. You were a great audience.

What happens now?

Now I’ll just rest for a time. I know I would have won the fight under normal conditions and I’m hoping for a rematch.

Universum physician Dr. Michael Ehnert: “Although he drank two liters of water in the locker room, through his physical exertion he was completely dehydrated. The significant fluid and mineral loss caused Firat’s collapse. Even in the ambulance, four liters of mineral fluid were fed intravenously. This stabilized him. A respirator wasn’t required and he was quite clear again even before arrival at the hospital. For safety, there was a CAT-scan done which showed no abnormalities. Although he felt much better, we advised Firat to stay in the hospital one night for observation.”

Universum Promoter Klaus-Peter Kohl: “Firat again showed his unbendable will and took it to the limit. He would have wanted to fight further, but it was right to stop it. He’s now clearly better again. Too bad that his great effort wasn’t rewarded. He had Herelius on the verge of a knockout in the seventh round. Firat can be very proud of himself. Also, thank you to the fans in Stuttgart. You showed great support for Ina and Firat. But that’s what happens in sports: You win some, you lose some.”

Trainer Michael Timm: “I had noticed it just a few seconds into the round. Under different circumstances, I would have been stopped it. And when he returned to the corner, I saw he was no longer in control of his senses. The health of the boxer comes first. There is also a life after sports. Despite all ambitions, this should never be forgotten. Firat never gave up and that’s typical for him. He’s a great fighter with great heart. He did his thing and until then everything was really great.”

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