Feature Story

Q&A: Jürgen Brähmer

Photo by Eroll Papova

WBO light heavyweight world champion Jürgen Brähmer defends his title against Alejandro Lakatos on Saturday’s “Universum Champions Night” at the Sport And Kongresshalle in Schwerin, Germany. In this interview, the champion spoke about his future, his relationship with trainer Michael Timm and a showdown with his dream opponent: Bernard Hopkins!“

You’re boxing on Saturday in your hometown against the dangerous Spaniard Alejandro Lakatos. How do you see him?

He’s an experienced guy and a bit awkward. And through his experience and the way he boxes, it’s guaranteed to not be an easy task. He’s a very hard hitter and one must always be on guard. But I think that with my technical superiority I can clearly dominate this opponent.

How did the preparations go up to now and how does it look the week before the fight?

Everything ran excellently. We selected the perfect sparring partners and on the whole I’m very happy with the training camp. I spent the last week before the fight in Schwerin and will prepare on site. It’s a good mixture of strain and relaxation.

Before the fight are you more focused on your opponent or yourself?

Above all, I concentrate upon myself and my abilities and strengths. Ultimately I would like to impose my strengths upon the opponent and not vice-versa, so I prepare accordingly.

You’ve had 36 professional fights and stopped 29 of your opponents. Do you enter the ring with the goal of a knockout?

No, I never go into the fight with the goal of winning early. I prepare always quite consciously for the full distance. If there’s the chance for a knockout in the fight, I take it. This is nice for me because then I don’t have to go the full twelve rounds, but this is never my goal. A knockout happens by itself, one can only prepare.

You use less tape than other boxers so that your punches are harder – is this right?

Yes, this is right. I use less tape than other boxers. Therefore harder punches come through.

You’re involved in the brand Santa Fu, named after the famous Hamburg prison. What’s the story behind that?

Santa Fu is a project with the Ministry of Justice in Hamburg. It involves an inmate-produced line of clothing with a big part of the sales proceeds going to the organization “White Ring.” The authorities asked whether or not I would like to take part in the project and, of course, I immediately agreed. This is a good thing and the production of the clothes a sensible project for the boys inside there. I know myself what it means in prison to get a sensible assignment. I support this thing and gladly advertise for this program. Since I’ve been involved, everything is going very well. Among my circle of friends, these are very hot.

How is your personal situation? Is your appeal proceeding moving ahead?

Yes, but this will be a long story. You can expect 3-6 years before anything happens. The courts have a lot to do. I’d like to think that the case will unravel and the truth will come to light.

What does it mean to you that the fans, in particular in Schwerin, and your promoter have always supported you in difficult times.

To box again in Schwerin is naturally great. The fans in Hamburg supported me, but Schwerin is my hometown. The fans are enormously important for me and also for Universum. I also believe that Universum has so much potential that in any case it will continue. We have more potential than a lot of other promotional companies. We have the most German world champions. It’s only a question of time until this potential is realized and we have a TV partner who believes in us 100%. For me, there are no worries about the future.

What relationship do you have to your trainer Michael Timm inside and outside the gym? You’ve known each other since the early 90s.

It’s definitely more than a trainer-boxer relationship. We’ve known each other so long. I’ve known “Timmi” since I was 15 or 16, so it’s already more than a friendship.

Schwerin is a German boxing capital. Many successful boxers and trainers come from there. After your career, can you see yourself following in the footsteps of Michael Timm and Fritz Sdunek as a trainer?

Yes, I can see this. But I can see a lot of things. For the moment, I find I have no thoughts about that. I have some projects in the works so there’s still a lot that can happen, but the trainer’s job is naturally an attractive job. When the time comes, we’ll where the path leads.

Do you have a dream opponent that you someday would like to box?

At the moment, I’m focusing on Lakatos. But a person has his dreams. One would be Bernard Hopkins. This would excite me and would be a great fight.

How do you refuel your strength during your preparations for fights?

I can always relax and recover in my home environment with my girlfriend and my friends. I feel the best there, actually. I’m not the type for vacations out of town. I’m happy to be on the road sometimes, but that’s mostly professionally and seldom in my spare time. I need something to do. I’m just not the type to simply lay down at the beach. I prefer to always be doing something.

On your homepage you list “cooking” as a hobby. How many stars do you give yourself and what’s your specialty?

I must honestly confess that during the last few months I haven’t really been cooking because my girlfriend has rediscovered cooking for herself. So I’m out of the picture completely. I used to enjoy cooking. Now and again we still do a “cooking evening” with friends. We sit together comfortably with a glass of wine and decide what we’ll cook. These are mostly very amusing evenings.

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