By Jake Donovan
In regards to where Arthur Abraham is at in his career, the writing is no longer just on the wall but a flashing neon sign – every fight is must-win. The former middleweight champ carries that mentality into his latest venture, a 12-round regional title fight against Piotr Wilczewski in Kiel, Germany.
Unofficially at stake for Abraham (33-3, 27KO) is a future alphabet title shot should he emerge victorious on Saturday. A win places the transplanted Armenian as the highest rated contender to the winner of Robert Steiglitz’ mandatory title defense against unbeaten contender George Groves.
The repercussions of a loss at this point are severe enough to where the very thought of it doesn’t even enter the conversation.
“I have sweated a lot. It will not be in vain,” Abraham vowed during fight week. “I am in great shape and I will win.”
Abraham was favored to go the distance in the Showtime Super Six World Boxing Classic when the round robin series was spawned in 2009.
However, a Stage One knockout of Jermain Taylor would provide his only win in the tournament, suffering lopsided defeats at the hands of Andre Dirrell, Carl Froch and Andre Ward. In less than two years, Abraham went from atop a pedestal to divisional steppingstone before taking an extended break for remainder of 2011.
A 5th round knockout over Pablo Farias this past January officially launched the comeback tour for Abraham, who still carries title aspirations as he redeems himself in the ring with each fight.
The journey continues on Saturday, against an opponent he’s treating as championship level.
“Wilczewski seems to be a rugged and tough guy,” Abraham observed. “By his record, you can tell that he has some experience. He was already the European champion at super-middleweight. I will not underestimate him but not overestimate him either.”
Wilczewski (30-2, 10KO) has endured his own share of ups and downs, with little success on the road. Both career losses came away from his native Poland – a 3rd round knockout loss to Curtis Stevens in July ’09 in front of a heavily Polish-populated crowd at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ; and a narrow points loss to super middleweight prospect James DeGale last October in England.
However, Wilczewski’s biggest win came in hostile territory, scoring an 11th round knockout of former super middleweight contender Amin Asikainen in Finland last March.
Heading into Saturday’s bout in his adopted Germany homeland, Abraham prepares for the best available version in what he views as the final roadblock before reentering the title fray.
“I have something in mind on how I can box and beat him. However, I will not reveal my strategy. Everybody will find out on Saturday. I am going to beat Wilczewski and fulfill my biggest wish, which is getting another chance to win a world title. This time I will be ready for it,” Abraham says.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter:@JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]