By Jake Donovan
Sauerland Event formally announced its plans for a May 7 collision between Kubrat Pulev and Dereck Chisora, due to take place at Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany, The news was revealed at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, confirming a breaking story previously run on BoxingScene.com over the weekend.
The vacant European Boxing Union title will be at stake, with the bout also serving as part of an elimination series as sanctioned by the International Boxing Federation (IBF).
A victory in either direction gives the victor a second shot at a major title. Pulev suffered the lone loss of his career in a Nov. '14 knockout at the hands of then-World champion Wladimir Klitschko. The 34-year old from Bulgaria has since won two straight but steps way up in class in a fight crucial to his future standing as a still-relevant contender.
"This is a very important fight for me," Pulev (22-1, 12KOs) said during Tuesday's press conference. "I learned a lot from the Klitschko fight, but now I’m back and stronger than ever. Dereck is a good boxer, but I’m better, and I know I can beat him.
"I’m looking forward to the challenge and the chance to win back the European title. I’m sure the arena in Hamburg will be full of Bulgarians cheering me to victory. I know I have what it takes to be World Champion, and next time I will be successful, but for now, all my focus is on May 7 and Chisora. This is a fight I can’t afford to lose!"
Of course, the same can be said of Chisora (25-5, 17KOs). The once hot-headed contender from Britain has since matured in his best efforts to turn around his career.
A 12-round decision loss to Robert Helenius marked the start of a three-fight losing streak. However, those who witnessed the contest believed Chisora to have been shafted by the judges, enough to where he was justified in receiving a crack at then-heavyweight titlist Vitali Klitschko.
The promotion marked a low point for his career, slapping Klitschko across the face during the pre-fight weigh-in ceremony, losing a unanimous decision and then getting caught up in a post-fight brawl with David Haye. The disgraced incident led to their own fight, with Chisora suffering a one-sided knockout loss.
He's since turned things around with ten wins in his last 11 starts. The lone setback came in a 10th round stoppage loss to Tyson Fury in their Nov. '14 rematch, but moving on to win five straight leading into what the 32-year old Brit views as a golden opportunity to fully resurrect his career.
"Pulev has been on my radar for a while now," said Chisora (25-5, 17KOs). "He’s a great athlete and he has my respect, but come fight night, I’m not messing around. I’m coming to mess this guy up. I’m going to outwork him and out strength him. I’ll be all over him from the first bell.
"I’m excited for the opportunity. This is a chance for me to prove myself against one of the top fighters in the division and get back into a position to challenge for the World title. I’m in great shape. I’m training harder than ever and I’m ready to go. This is going to be one my best fights ever!"
The EBU title is a big deal throughout the continent, but rare in which the belt will be at stake in a bout with major title fight implications. The vacant belt came about when Erkan Teper was stripped due to a failed drug test following a knockout win over David Price that has since been converted to a No-Decision.
The opportunity to move towards a title shot. Newly minted IBF champ Charles Martin defends his strap versus Anthony Joshua on April 9 in London, England. The winner will have until Jan. '17 to honor their mandatory challenge, with this bout to be lumped in with a proposed clash still in negotiation between Joseph Parker and Carlos Takam to produce a final mandatory contender.
"We’re delighted to deliver fans this mouth-watering contest between two of the biggest names in the heavyweight division," said promoter Kalle Sauerland. "Not only is the prestigious European belt on the line, but also a chance to challenge for the IBF World title. It’s all or nothing! Winner takes it all!
"This is a fight that guarantees excitement. It will be the headline attraction for what promises to be a huge show at the Barclaycard Arena and definitely not one you want to miss!"
As confirmed by Team Sauerland through social media, tickets will go on sale beginning, Friday, March 18 at 1200 hours local time on eventim.de. Prices range from Euro 25 to Euro 300
Undercard details for the ‘Battle of the Giants’ on May 7 at the Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany will be announced shortly.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox