By Jake Donovan
Lineal cruiserweight champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez will return to the ring on February 2, when he next defends his crown against Eric Fields of the United States. The fight will take place at Max Schmelling Halle in Berlin, marking Hernandez’ sixth appearance at the historic venue.
“I am very excited“, said Hernandez (27-1-1, 13KO) in a statement. “Berlin has become my new home. I live and train here. Never before have I stood inside the ring of the Max Schmeling Halle as the champion of the world.”
The bout shares marquee space with a domestic light heavyweight scrap between Eduard Gutknecht and Juergen Braehmer.
Hernandez’ last appearance at the hosting venue came in Dec. ’10, scoring a 1st round knockout over Ali Ismailov in his last fight before officially entering the title fray. An interim title win over Steve Herelius two months later paved the way for his vacant World lineal championship with Cunningham, whom he bested via technical decision in their aborted first fight in Oct. ’11.
The rematch proved a far more conclusive result, when Hernandez twice dropped the American en route to a dominant 12-round points win in February. His lone bout since wasn’t anywhere nearly as convincing, barely squeaking by Canada’s Troy Ross in a disputed decision win this past September.
The 30-year old Fields (21-1-1, 15KO) has won 10 straight since the lone loss of his career, a 10th round stoppage against eventual title challenger Ola Afolabi in April ’08. Despite the win streak, Fields’ resume reads like that of your typical Midwestern journeyman, littered with soft wins.
Still, Hernandez – who has won 13 straight – leaves nothing to chance.
“He is a fighter, who is always looking to move forward and is always up for a real punch up,” observes Hernandez. “But I have already started with my preparations and will not get too comfortable during the festive season. I will have to be in tip-top shape and be prepared to give it my all until someone falls.
“That being said, it won’t be me who will fall. The only one going down on February 2 is Eric Fields.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox