By Jake Donovan
Arthur Abraham’s 2013 debut will come against a familiar foe, but in hostile territory.
The defending super middleweight titlist is set to make his second defense against Robert Stieglitz, from whom he claimed the belt last August. The rematch is set for March 23 in Stieglitz’ hometown of Magdeburg, Germany.
The first bout took place in Berlin, where he has called home since moving from his native Armenia at age 15. Abraham won a close but clear decision to earn a belt in a second weight class, one of four wins he posted in a huge bounce back year in 2012.
Now, he is prepared to return to the favor.
“For me it is a question of honor,” said Abraham (36-3, 28KO). “Robert was brave enough to face me in my backyard. Now I am travelling to Magdeburg and have to enter 'the Lion’s Den' to fight him.”
Stieglitz (43-3, 24KO) returned to the ring Saturday evening, scoring a third round knockout of Michel Nieroda in Barcelona, Spain. The win was means to shake some rust in his first ring appearance since last year’s loss to Abraham, which ended an 11- fight win streak.
The rematch will take place nine years – almost to the day – since Abraham’s last visit to Magdeburg, which is less than two hours from Berlin. Abraham stopped Branko Sobot in two rounds for his ninth knockout in as many fights.
“Back then the arena was still known as Boerderlandhalle and Sven Ottke won his farewell fight. The fans were fantastic,” Abraham recalls.
Tickets are due to go on sale Monday, February 4. Prices have yet to be released, but will be available once on sale at www.eventim.de, as well as www.boxen.com and www.sesboxing.de.
Abraham’s current four-fight win streak comes on the worst stretch of his career. The two-division titlist suffered all three of his losses in a four-fight stretch during the Showtime Super Six World Boxing Classic round robin tournament that nearly ruined him as a fighter.
Prior to the Super Six, Abraham made ten successful defenses of a middleweight belt he acquired in Dec. ’05. The rematch with Stieglitz will mark his 16th title fight appearance, with a record of 12-3 (8KO) in such contests.
Jake Donovan is the Boxingscene.com Managing Editor, Records Keeper for Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox