Photos: Marianne und Moritz Müller
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A press conference was head Monday in advance of Saturday’s huge “Universum Champions Night“ world title twinbill at the KönigPALAST in Krefeld, Germany. The event, which already has 8,000+ tickets sold, is particularly interesting due to the bold prediction made on national TV last Saturday by challenger Koji Sato (14-0, 13 KOs) who proclaimed he would score a first round knockout over reigning WBA world middleweight champion Felix Sturm (31-2-1, 13 KOs).
Sato was full of respect at the presser. “I said that, but I must have respect for the world champion and wouldn’t like to simply snub him. Felix Sturm is a great champion, I am the outsider. Sorry, I did not want to be misunderstood. It’s a big honor for me to challenge for the world title in this fight. I’ve trained hard, will give my best and want to deliver a great fight. I hope to win against this great technician and worthy world champion!“
Sturm responded, “I have studied Sato very closely and he can both punch hard and also take a lot. He’s dangerous and despite of his nice Japanese politeness, I will not underestimate him. He no longer stands by his declaration that he will knock me out in round one, but that can also be a tactic. I’m warned by looking at DVDs of his KO victories. In any event, it will be a spectacular fight. My preparation was harder than ever before. I have once again taken another step forward. My trainer Michael Timm and Clive Salz have taken me even closer to the limit.”
In the co-feature, WBO super middleweight champion Karoly Balzsay (20-0, 14 KOs) makes his first world title defense against ex-middleweight king Masolino Masoe (29-5, 27 KOs).
“The title win made has me looser as I have reached a big goal,” said Balszay. “I’m going into this fight against Masoe in very good spirits and with the highest motivation. I’m jumping for joy about this fight.” Trainer Fritz Sdunek, added “The first title defense is the hardest as now the champion is the hunted. Masoe has a high KO rate and in the world championship fight against Felix Sturm showed he is a dangerous man. However, Karoly is loose, calm and everything in the preparation went very well.”
Masoe stated, “I moved up to super middleweight because I saw a chance for a world championship fight. I’ve always lived healthy. In my career I’ve listened to my body. So even at the age of 42 I figure I have a real chance for the title. I promise a great fight!”
In other fights, WBA #3 middleweight Gennady Golovkin (15-0, 12 KOs) from the Spotlight Boxing Team now takes on Anthony Greenidge (13-2-1, 5 KOs) after original foe Tarvis Simms pulled out due to visa problems.
In an interesting heavyweight clash, unbeaten stablemates Manuel Charr (10-0, 4 KOs) and Gbenga Oloukun (16-0, 10 KOs) meet in a crossroads showdown.
Bad luck for heavyweight Markus Tomala (6-0, 3 KOs) who was forced to pull out of a collision with former Cuban star Pedro Carrion (6-1, 4 KOs) on account of a stubborn inflammation in the left shinbone. That bout will be shifted to a later date.
Patrick Dobroschi (8-0, 2 KOs) vs Mustapha Stini (6-33-1, 4 KOs), light heavyweights; Magomed Janubaev (3-0) vs Brahim Bouizem (8-14), lightweights; Gregory Soszynski (13-0-1, 6 KOs) vs Ralf Riemer (8-6-2, 4 KOs), light heavyweights.