By Anson Wainwright
When Enrico Koelling enters the ring tonight, it marks an important juncture in his career.
The Berlin-born light heavyweight will be making the first defense of the WBA Inter-Continental title that he won in June, when he meets Giuseppe Brischetto.
Koelling who represented Germany at the 2012 London Olympics respects his Italian opponent.
“Although he has an age advantage of 13-years he has the same number of pro fights under his belt,” Koelling told BoxingScene.com earlier this week. “Therefore I expect him to be as fit as myself with the same hunger to be successful.”
In the near 2-years since turning professional after the Olympics, Koelling has been very active going 14-0 with 4 knockouts. It's been a learning curve for the young German.
"Fighting in the pro ranks, you have a lot more to learn," said the 24-year-old. "I have progressed a lot since but my coach and I know that there is more than enough room for progression."
Along with Koelling-Brischetto, the Sauerland promoted event from the Gerry Weber Stadium, Halle Germany is headlined by WBO cruiserweight boss Marco Huck vs. Mirko Larghetti , and supported by 18-year-old super middleweight prospect Vincent Feigenbutz who meets Slavisa Simeunovic. Also on the card is heavyweight Denis Boytsov who looks to get back to winning ways while Swedish prospect Otto Wallin is scheduled to appear in his first six-round contest.
Anson Wainwright - You face Giuseppe Brischetto, what are your thoughts on that fight?
Enrico Koelling - It’s going to be my first defense of the WBA Intercontinental championship. With that in mind, the pressure is getting bigger for me to perform as this is just the next step to work my way towards the top of the world rankings. I have not seen any of Brischetto’s fights on tape. My coach told me that he is a come-forward type of boxer with a never give up mentality.
BoxingScene.com - In your most recent fight you won a 12-round decision over Patrick Bois. Tell us about that fight?
EK - This was a tough fight – my first bout, which did go the distance of twelve rounds. In the mid-rounds I was a bit insecure with my stamina as I never boxed over the championship distance before. Therefore I held myself back a bit having the chance to step on the gas in the last rounds. Now I know what it’s like to fight for 12 rounds and that I have the energy to put in far more work over the whole distance. This is also what I want to show verses Brischetto and maybe I can make it an early night with this experience.
BoxingScene.com - Since turning pro you've been very active. How do you assess your development so far?
EK - Since I turned pro, I have learned a lot just training-wise. Looking back I was especially surprised by the variety of training methods that were never shown to me in the amateurs. Fighting in the pro ranks, you have a lot more to learn and exercise outside and inside the ring. In the amateurs, I never thought how to execute a power punch because that was not important back then. I have progressed a lot since but my coach and I know that there is more than enough room for progression.
BoxingScene.com - People will look at your record 14-0, 4 knockouts and see that you don't have many stoppages, however you do have four in your last seven outings. What would you say of your power? Is it improving as you progress?
EK - Thankfully, I have a veteran pro and world champion in Juergen Braehmer, who I can study how to execute forceful power punches. I have already worked a lot on my technique with coach Karsten Roewer. You simply need to have some steam in your punches just to keep your opponents at bay – otherwise you might get steamrolled. In the amateurs that was not the problem because it was just a fight over three rounds. My next fight is scheduled for twelve rounds and power punches are a useful option to make use of over such a distance.
BoxingScene.com - Who are the members of your team?
EK - I am training alongside WBA world champion Juergen Braehmer (light heavyweight), WBO Youth champion Tyron Zeuge (super middleweight), Denis Boytsov (heavyweight) and EU champion Erik Skoglund (light heavyweight). We are all coached by Karsten Roewer. My promoter is Sauerland Event.
BoxingScene.com - You are from Berlin, can you tell us about your youth growing up?
EK - There are no big stories to tell about me growing up. I was always on the move with my friends, checking out pretty much everything what seemed to be interesting. My father works for the Berlin Fire Service and therefore I spent a lot of time at the local fire station when I was an amateur boxer, working out at their gym. Before picking up boxing I dreamed of becoming a fire-fighter but that all changed when I put on gloves for the first time.
BoxingScene.com - How did you become interested and then take up boxing?
EK - Since I was a little kid, I was interested in martial arts with boxing in particular. I was fiesty and did like watching fights of Sven Ottke, so my parents decided to register me at a boxing gym nearby. I immediately fell in love with boxing, which has not changed yet.
BoxingScene.com - You had a very good amateur career, can you tell us about your achievements?
EK - My final amateur record reads 130 wins and 4 draws with a total of 169 bouts. My biggest achievement was being a runner-up at middleweight in the U19 world championships 2008 in Mexico.
BoxingScene.com - You fought at the 2012 London, Olympics, can you tell us about that experience?
EK - It was amazing to meet such a variety of people, cultures and sports over such a short period of time. For me it was especially fascinating to watch different training methods. I am still thankful that I had the chance to make this experience.
BoxingScene.com - Tell us about yourself and your life away from boxing?
EK - I like to go out with my friends, playing bowling or billiards. When I am in training camp, I enjoy reading books. I am also a big fan of any kind of sports – from “Night of the Jumps” (Freestyle Motocross) to a big hockey game, you can cross my path at those events.
BoxingScene.com - Who is your boxing hero and why?
EK - As I already said, it all started with watching Sven Ottke on TV. Nowadays I look up to my colleague and friend Juergen Braehmer. He has achieved so much in his career that my goal is to follow in his footsteps.
BoxingScene.com - In closing do you have a message for the boxing world?
EK - Most of all I am hoping to stay healthy to keep on boxing for a long time. The rest will come along my way.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwrightTags: Enrico Koelling