A press conference was held Wednesday at the Rothenseer Autohaus in Magdeburg for the April 17 “Universum Champions Night” world title twinbill at the famous Bördelandhalle. On hand were WBC interim middleweight champion Sebastian Zbik (28-0, 10 KOs), WBO super middleweight champion Robert Stieglitz (37-2, 23 KOs) and Stieglitz’ unbeaten mandatory challenger Eduard “Eddy” Gutknecht (18-0, 7 KOs), along with their respective trainers. Zbik’s foe Domenico Spada (30-2, 15 KOs) was not present.
Photos: Eroll Popova
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“I’ll prove that I’m better than I showed in the first Spada fight, due to my injury,” stated Zbik. “This will be a spectacular fight that cannot be compared to the 2009 fight at the Nürburgring. I worked hard in my training camp in Poland and I’m very well prepared. I always had this fight in my head. We trained at 2000 meters, running and sometimes crawling up high mountains. We had a lot of sweat. It was exhausting and intense, but good basic conditioning.
Trainer Artur Grigorian (who has taken over as Zbik’s chief trainer from Fritz Sdunek) said, “In Poland we followed the tracks of “The Tiger.” Dariusz [Michalczewski) was often in Zakopane. This can be a good omen. Now it’s on the technical training sessions and sparring.
WBO 168lb. king Stieglitz vowed to be victorious. “I know Gutknecht well, having sparred with him,” he stated. “A very good man, well educated and a technically sophisticated boxer. It will be a hard fight, after all it’s a mandatory defense. But I will keep my belt, that’s for sure.”
Stieglitz coach Torsten Schmitz added, “I know Eddy well and would have enjoyed working with him during my time at Universum. But it was not be and now I’m curious to see if Eddy can hold out 12 rounds. But can’t take away Robert’s belt.”
Gutknecht said, “We’ve known each other for a long time, but we’re rivals in the ring and I want to have that belt – that is beyond question. Robert has greatly improved the last few years, but I’ll find out how good he really is. In any case, I’ve got a lot of friends, family and fans for my coming for my championship fight and I’m looking forward to it. But they would come anywhere for my first world championship fight. This is the most important fight of my life that I’ve worked 14 years toward.”
Gutknecht’s trainer Magomed Schaburov stated, “We put in a three-week training camp in Soelden setting the condtioning groundwork for the whole year, not only for 12 rounds. Also, Stieglitz only has two hands, not three, so he’s no superman. The fight will show how good he really is. Eddy is still in the midst of his development, but we couldn’t let this opportunity pass.”
Ulf Steinforth, promoter of Stieglitz, commented “In sporting terms this is a great highlight for Magdeburg. It’s also a fight between two boxing promoters, SES vs. Universum. This demands a big audience. The two fighters know each other, but their friendship must go on hold for 12 rounds. And it will not be easy dethroning the champion. In any case, there will be a lot of explosive force. This is not easy for Robert. Gutknecht has Schaburov, an absolute fox of a trainer in the corner so we must be careful.”