Interview with European heavy champ Luan Krasniqi

28.07.04 - Courtesy of On Saturday two-time European heavyweight champion Luan Krasniqi will make the first defense of his second reign. After regaining the European laurels five months ago from title holder Sinan Samil Sam the 33-year-old German will be challenged on July 31 by his countryman Rene Monse, 14-1 (7). The two already fought each other for the EBU belt in January 2002. Krasniqi, 26-1 (13), won their first encounter by majority decision over twelve rounds. Their rematch will take place at Stuttgartís Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle. Luan, the first title defense is coming up for the European heavyweight champion. How long and how effective did you prepare?

Krasniqi: I prepared for this fight for about twelve weeks and I feel very good. I was a bit tired at the end of the last week from all the hard training. But in this last week prior to the fight my body will get some rest and I can regenerate all my powers. I added a few pounds to my weight. Up to now I used to weigh between 225 to 227 pounds. But next week I will probably weigh in between 229 and 232 pounds.

Did you make your preparation at home in your own gym in Rottweil again?

Yes, I spent my entire preparation in Rottweil. At home I have the best equipment and the best environment. My success proves that I found the best possible training for me. Last time when I beat Sinan everything was working well. Itís just very peaceful here, nobody interferes my training. The main reason for me to work out here is my concentration. And I enjoy great support from my team Ė my trainer Torsten Schmitz, Volker Grill, my brother and cruiserweight contender Firat Aslan who will fight for the EU title in Stuttgart.

Your challenger is Rene Monse against who you won a close decision two years ago. Where you satisfied about the way you beat him then?

Of course I was satisfied with the result because I became European heavyweight champion. But it was a very hard fight. We went at each other from the first to the last round. And I expect the same this time.

Where do you rank Monse now? Did he change since your first fight?

I donít know exactly because Iíve seen little from his last couple of fights. But I know Monse for many years. He is fast, he can surprise you and he is skillful. Thatís what makes him dangerous. In my mind he is the most dangerous opponent in Germany for me.

In February you captured the European title at the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle. Now you fight there again. Is this your favorite arena?

Yes, I like to fight in Stuttgart. This area is my home. I grew up here and I feel home at this place. I expect many of my fans to show up on Saturday. However, I would also like to box in Hamburg. Itís a place where I feel home too. But it just happened that the Schleyer arena had a vacancy for July 31.

What kind of fight do you expect against Monse on July 31?

I think Monse will take big riscs in this fight. In the first couple of rounds he will come forward and will try to end things. He will put a lot of pressure on me and will try to land power shots. But the longer the fight lasts the better it will turn to my advantage and to his disadvantage. But I can tell this: It will be a very tough fight and a very good fight.

Letís have a look into the future: There is a mandatory challenger waiting for the European champion.

Right. Timo Hoffmann ist he mandatory challenger for the European title. But I donít really care who my next opponent is. If it was up to me I would have fought Hoffmann already this time. My job to prepare for my fights and to perform. I leave the rest to my management. But in my mind Monse is even stronger than Hoffmann.

What is your opinion on the current top heavyweights? What do you think about the four reigning world champions?

My entire focus is on that defense of my European title. Saturday is an important moment for me. But I know I have the ability and the class to compete with every top heavyweight champion in the world. If I would get the chance I would fight them tomorrow without a blink of my eye. I want to try climbing the rankings now to become mandatory challenger to one of the reigning champions. Iíve seen Iím ranked #14 by Fightnews. Thatís a good start.

It was always my goal to become heavyweight world champion. Some people may have believed that I lost my focus after Iíd been at a deep point in my career. But I never lost my focus on this. There is still nothing that I want more than to become heavyweight world champion.

Article posted on 28.07.2004

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