Swedish light heavyweight Erik Skoglund (26-0, 12 KOs) is targeting the division's top names as he makes the move down to super middleweight.
Skoglund is currently ranked with all the major governing bodies at 175lbs (IBF #4, WBO #5, WBC #10 and WBA #11), but frustrated by a lack of opportunities, and following talks with his promoter Nisse Sauerland, the 26 year-old has decided to drop down to 168lbs.
At super middleweight, Skoglund is eager to prove himself at the highest level, and has already set his sights on the division's champions George Groves (WBA Super), James De Gale (IBF) and Tyron Zeuge (WBA Regular), plus a Scandinavian showdown with Danish boxing legend Mikkel Kessler, who has recently announced his comeback.
‘’It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while,’’ says Skoglund. ‘’I’ve always made light heavyweight comfortably. I don't have to drain fluids before a weigh-in, and I like to stay fit between fights, so I don't see any problems making super middleweight.
‘’I’ve been waiting a long time for a chance to prove myself at light heavyweight, and it’s been difficult. A lot of the belts are tied up. I’ve not been getting the opportunities I need to reach the next stage of my career, and that’s why I’ve decided to move down.
''There are more opportunities available for me at super middleweight. I’m tired of waiting for my shot at light heavyweight. I want something big now. I want the chance to prove myself against the best fighters in the division, and the chance to fulfil my potential.
‘’I know I can mix it with the top guys at super middleweight. I’ve sparred a lot of them in the past, and I’ve always been comfortable handling the situation. I’ve improved a lot since then. I've had surgery to fix a herniated disc in my back, and I feel stronger than ever.
‘’There are a lot of big fights out there for me at super middleweight. George Groves, Mikkel Kessler and Tyron Zeuge all have the same promoter as me. They are three of the top names in the division, and these are fights that should be easy to make.
‘’I'd like to fight James De Gale fight as well. I wasn’t impressed with his last performance against Badou Jack. He started well but looked tired and like he lacked power in the later rounds. I think I could do well against a guy like De Gale.
‘’I also think I would have a good chance against Groves. I’ve sparred him twice before. Once in Copenhagen before Mikkel Kessler’s rematch with Carl Froch in 2013, and then again a year later in London before his rematch his with Froch.
‘’The Kessler fight would obviously be a massive one. A big Scandinavian derby! He’s a boxing legend, and someone I’ve looked up to him since I started my career. It would be an honour to fight him, and I think it would be an interesting match-up.’’
Although there is currently no date set for his super middleweight debut, Skoglund says he can be ready in a matter of months. ''Nothing has been decided yet,’’ he said. ‘’I'm looking at a lot of different options with my promoter at the moment, but I will be ready to fight from the middle to the end of the summer.''
Skoglund's promoter Nisse Sauerland sees no issues with his fighter making the lower weight, and has tipped the Swedish star to have a big impact at super middleweight.
‘’This is an exciting development in Erik’s career. It's something we've talked about before, and now, the time is right for him to launch his attack on the super middleweight division.
''He's always been a consummate professional. He eats clean and lives right, so I have no doubt he can make the weight. I’m looking forward to sitting down with him and planning the next stage of his journey. There are a lot of big fights out there for him at super middleweight, and I believe he can become a major player in the division,'' said Sauerland.