Eduard Gutknecht (24-1, 9 KOs) is probably facing his toughest challenge to date. The European Light Heavyweight Champion is putting his title on the line in an all-German affair when he takes on former world champion Juergen Braehmer (38-2, 30 KOs) on February 2. But the current titlist is not just thinking about the EBU Belt. The winner will receive mandatory challenger status for the WBO Championship. Just a week ahead of the fight Gutknecht reveals why he believes that he is the only realistic option to win the championship bout.
Eduard Gutknecht, you will be making the fourth defense of your EBU Title on February 2. What are your thoughts on the challenger Juergen Braehmer?
Eduard Gutknecht: Juergen is a very powerful and goal orientated man. I remember him being extremely dedicated to the sport from our days at Universum. I expect him to be the same now. Therefore, I know that I have a big challenge at hand. However, our main focus during this preparation has been on my strengths and not as much on his weaknesses. The plan is to take advantage of his mistakes and get the win.
This fight is also an eliminator for a WBO Title shot. Does that give you some extra motivation?
Eduard Gutknecht: It is motivation enough to be able to prove myself against Juergen Braehmer. He is a former world champion and was at the top of his game while I was just at the beginning of my career. Now I am the European champion and he is challenging me. I am excited about that.
As you said earlier, you know Braehmer from your days at Universum before you joined Team Sauerland. What do you remember from that time?
Eduard Gutknecht: Juergen is an easy and straightforward guy. He doesn't hide behind the bushes and he tells you what he thinks. We have never had any problems.
How did your preparation go? Did you pay attention to anything in particular?
Eduard Gutknecht: I have been training a lot in order to get into the best shape possible. We paid especially attention to my defense as Braehmer has some pop in his fists.
Braehmer obviously has an advantage when it comes to experience. How are you going to make up for that?
Eduard Gutknecht: I am ready for this bout and really looking forward to it. Everybody can talk ahead of a fight but it's an entirely different thing once you have entered the ring. At the end of the day, it is just the two of us and two pair of fists. I am planning to use my 'weapons' to defeat him.
February 2 will be your first outing as a professional boxer in Berlin. How excited are you to be fighting at the Max-Schmeling-Halle?
Eduard Gutknecht: I did have quite a few fights in Berlin during my days as an amateur. Now I am really excited about my first pro fight in the German capital.
Are you thinking ahead of the Braehmer fight? What does the future hold for you?
Eduard Gutknecht: I'm not. Braehmer is a tough challenge and he won't be brushed aside just like that. There is a lot of pressure on me and I know that many people are saying that Juergen Braehmer will be in great shape. I'm expecting to meet the best Juergen Braehmer of all time and that is exactly what I have been preparing for. As soon as I heard that he signed with Team Sauerland, I knew that we would face each other. Afterwards we will know who is heading towards a world championship and who will be back to the drawing board.
What is your prediction for the fight in Berlin?
Eduard Gutknecht: I will give it my all in order to leave the ring as the champion. I do not want to leave any kind of doubt on who the winner of the fight is. If required I will not rely on the judges - and in hindsight all the fans want to witness an early end. It will be hard but I believe in myself and that I will defend the European championship.
Two stablemates will meet inside the ring when Eduard Gutknecht (24-1, 9 KOs) puts his European Light Heavyweight Championship on the line against Juergen Braehmer (38-2, 30 Kos). And the excitement about the EBU Title fight is high, as the winner will get a crack at the WBO World Champion. Juergen Braehmer took some time out of his training schedule to answer some burning questions.
Juergen Braehmer, after almost ten months you will be returning to the ring on February 2. How are you feeling?
Juergen Braehmer: I am feeling good. The training and the new surroundings are great.
How is your training camp going?
Juergen Braehmer: Really well. My coach Karsten Roewer and I have been preparing in North Germany for almost three weeks now. I almost weigh as much as I did during my super-middleweight days.
This will be your first professional fight under the guidance of Roewer. What are the differences between him and your old coach Michael Timm?
Juergen Braehmer: I know Karsten Roewer since my days as a junior. There are a few things he does differently than Timm – which is a good thing. I am always up for new and different input, that way I don’t get bored.
What are your thoughts on the fight? Any predictions?
Juergen Braehmer: I have never made any predictions and I won’t start now. I will focus on my strengths. I am ready for the challenge.
You already know Gutknecht from your days at Universum, now both of you are signed to Sauerland. Do you know each other well?
Juergen Braehmer: No, we were in different training groups.
Have you been studying any of his old fights on video?
Juergen Braehmer: I haven’t. That is part of coach Roewer´s job. He comes up with the game plan – I deliver inside the ring.
Are you looking forward to be boxing in Berlin?
Juergen Braehmer: Of course, Berlin is a great city and lots of boxing fans live here. I have some fond memories from my previous fights here. I am very excited to be fighting at the Max-Schmeling-Halle.
You will probably also be very excited about the fact, that a lot of travelling fans from your hometown Schwerin are heading for Berlin…
Juergen Braehmer: Definitely, that is great. It is amazing that so many of them will be present. Getting support from the crowd is very important to me, although I won't be able to realize it while I am fighting as my whole focus is on the opponent.
What are you most looking forward to once the fight is over?
Juergen Braehmer: My girlfriend Tatjana and my little baby girl Jasmin. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of time for them during preparation. I definitely have to make up for that afterwards.
***Braekhus signs contract extension with Team Sauerland, returns against Mia St. John on in Frederikshavn April 13 – New date for Markussen-Blackledge***
Team Sauerland is delighted to announce that WBA, WBC & WBO Female Welterweight Champion Cecilia Braekhus (21-0, 5 KOs) has signed a contract extension with Europe´s leading boxing promoter.
“We look forward to continuing our very successful relationship with the best female boxer in the world,” Nisse Sauerland said. “Cecilia – the first lady ever to fight for Team Sauerland – has lived up to our expectations. We knew she was special when we signed her, and she has always delivered. Her talent, determination and skills have lifted her all the way from an unknown undercard fighter to a three-time world champion with a rock-star-like popularity in Norway. Together with her coaches Ulli Wegner and Georg Bramowski, the sky is the limit for Cecilia. There are a lot of big fights to be made!”
Braekhus will return to the ring in Frederikshavn on April 13, taking on Mia St. John (47-12-2, 18 KOs). The First Lady only has the best of memories of Arena Nord, which was packed with Norwegian fans in September 2012 when she clinched a dramatic points victory over French power puncher Anne-Sophie Mathis in her biggest fight to date.
“I am thrilled to extend my contract with Team Sauerland and to continue our cooperation with Viasat,” Braekhus said. “I will forever be grateful for Team Sauerland´s confidence and support. In the ring, it´s just me and my opponent, but outside the ring, it´s a team effort. We have accomplished quite a lot already but there are even greater things ahead.”
Braekhus is happy to return to Frederikshavn. “I am glad that April 13 has been confirmed,” she stated. “There were so many Norwegian fans ringside last time. Their support gave me the extra lift I needed to beat Mathis. Now I will need their support against St. John. I´ve seen her on tape, she´s a tough girl and very experienced, but I will definitely continue my winning streak in 2013!”
Said St. John: “I am very excited to have this opportunity to fight one of the world’s best fighters. I know exactly what I am up against, but the great thing about boxing is that you never know what will happen. I have one shot and I'm expecting an upset in boxing on April 13th!”
Tickets for the event at Arena Nord are available at arenanord.dk. The fight between Rudy Markussen and Luke Blackledge has also been moved to April 13.