By Per Ake Persson
Following a positive doping test, Spaniard Pablo Navascues is out as challenger for IBF middleweight champ Sebastian Sylvester, writes Sauerland Event in a press release. Navascues was tested January 13 and both the A and B tests came back positive for an illegal - not named - substance. The show January 30 in Neubrandenburg will go ahead though and Sauerland are now looking for someone to replace Navascues.
Sauerland Event has three interesting heavyweight fights on the undercard to Sylvester vs TBA. Finnish-Swedish Robert Helenius, billed as the Nordic Nightmare, faces former WBO champ Lamon Brewster and Lamon needs to win while Robert can survive a loss and come back but Helenius should still be too sharp for the worn ex-heavyweight king who´s lived too long on durabiltiy instead of his boxing skills. Secondly, Rene Dettweiler, almost a veteran by now, face stablemate Edmund Gerber in an-all German matchup and don´t expect the loser to get many more chances on a Sauerland show. Dettweiler should know too much for Gerger, who´s 9-0 but have been matched carefully. Finally, Bulgarian Kuprat Pulev, Sauerland´s best bet for the future, is in against Oleg Platov, who´s been around some time now have failed to make the step from prospect to mainevent fighter so expect Pulev to win.
Heavyweight Konstantin Airich will now face former sparmate Alex Mazikin in the co-headliner to Arena´s show in Cuxhaven on Saturday. Mazikin lost to Ondrey Pala on the last Arena event in Cuxhaven and have overall not made it in in the pros despite his fine amateur career but is still a capable performer. As for Pala he face American veteran Robert Hawkins. Dominican Felix Diaz makes his European debut and take on Czech Bronislav Kubin. Middleweight Mahir Oral is in against Fabio Liggieri while supermiddle Christian Pawlak square off against Latvian Deniss Sirjatovs. Of note is also ligh theavyweight Patrick Dobroschi, 9-0-1, formely with both Sauerland and Universum, who makes his debut for Arena on this bill. And as a late, big surprise, Arena (or rather the fighter´s legal representatives) are attempting to bring in middleweight Khoren Gevor, former EBU champ and WBA challenger, and one of the fighters who are attempting to leave Universum. Gevor will in case he is free to fight headline the show but this fight is not confirmed by Arena.
The heavyweight clash between Steffen Kretschmann and Dennis Bahktov will go ahead the Sporthalle in Hamburg March 27 with network Sat 1 back in boxing after a long break. Prior to the fight Sat 1 will air a reality TV show on Kretschmann as he prepares for the fight. Motivational coach for Steffen is Regina Halmich, ex-world champ, and a growing star in German media.
Scott Lawton and Leva Kirakosyan clash for the vacant EBU jr. lightweight title February 19 in Stoke. The winner will then get Belgian Ermanno Fegatilli as mandatory challenger.
French cruiserweight Rachid El Hadak has, as previously reported, walked out on a chance to fight for the EU crown to defend his French title against Zakaria Azzaoui February 10 in Hyeres,
French jr. middleweight Christophe Canclaux is off Friday´s fight in Aulnay-sous-Bois following a sprained ankle. Canclaux was in rather soft against Latvian Ruslan Poenishevs but the doctors still ruled Christophe out.