By Rick Reeno
A few weeks ago, an interesting story was making the rounds in Germany. Promoter Ahmet Oner of Arena Box, who briefly worked with former middleweight champion Felix Sturm, explained how Sturm used money and politics to avoid a mandatory defense against Gennady Golovkin.
Golovkin had been Sturm's mandatory challenger for years, but he was unable to secure his shot. When Golovkin was finally on the verge of landing that shot, Sturm was mysteriously elevated to the status of "super champion" by the WBA. The status of "super champion" is usually reserved for boxers who unify at least two major titles. Golovkin was eventually made the "regular" champion by the sanctioning body.
When he left Universum, Sturm first approached Oner and was looking for help to find a loophole to prevent a match with Golovkin. Oner put Sturm in touch with a third party. The third party told Sturm that he could pay the WBA a sum of money to make him the "super champion" and prevent the mandatory fight with Golovkin.
The third party went to the WBA with a written request to make Sturm the "super champion." For whatever reason, the WBA granted that request - but there was never an exchange of funds. The unknown third party, pulling off a swerve of his own, pocketed Sturm's money and never offered it to the WBA. He secured Sturm's new championship status with a simple written request.
"I never spoke to the WBA. Felix Sturm, he was with Universum, and when he wanted to leave Universum to be his own promoter - they approached me and they asked me how I could help them not fight Golovkin. So what happened is, I found a guy and spoke to him. And he offered Sturm a deal and said [to Sturm] "we can ask [the WBA] for super champion [status] and then you don't need to fight him.' And that's what happened," Oner told BoxingScene.com.
"The situation is, Felix Sturm ran away from Golovkin in Germany and used the WBA's situation as super champion - and many people said he didn't deserve to be super champion because he never won two belts like Klitschko or whoever. There was never contact between Sturm and the WBA. The WBA was never involved. It's like if you going to the WBA and asking 'can you make this guy super champion, he is a big star and has a TV deal.' The third party never paid the WBA a penny. The third party kept the money all in his pocket."