Boxing


Wuestenbergh in a losing fight to Yohan Duhaupas

By Per Ake Persson: With an official record of around 3-66-1 with many more fights claimed (102) 41-year old Belgian Frank Wuestenberg was on the surface every bit a bum, the kind of "meat" that is supplied to the up-and-coming pretenders in rings around Europe. But take a closer look and you saw a performer capable in what he was doing: durable, long on stamina, tough and with an octopus like way of smoldering his opponent.

Wuestenberg fought at supermiddle to heavyweight and had his best years in the 90īs. Heīs still available but is far from what he once was when he based in Gent would accept fights on short notice all over Europe - if close enough he would be back at work at one of his three jobs - that as a security guard at a nightclub later the very same evening.

It all started at the age of 16: -My father had a boxing club and it was natural for me to begin with boxing. I was a good amateur, I had 37 fights. I was also into football as a goalkeeper and I was good at that too but choose boxing, says Frank.

Football would remain in his life though and Frank confirms the famous story that he after the weighin in the morning for a fight in the Netherlands drove back to his hometown for a game the same afternoon. He then drove back to the Netherlands, stepped into the ring, lasted the distance but lost on points.

-Iīve always worked a lot, I have a job in a factory during the day, work weekends as security guard and then had boxing on the side. At my best I trained boxing three times a week and went running twice.

In the late 90īs Frank fought eight to ten times a year accepting fights at very short notice losing almost always but almost always giving the local man a solid workout over the full distance.

Toughest opponent? -I really canīt say, I fought so many, I never cared too much who the other guy was, says Frank.

A list of the names Wuestenbergh has been in against includes Valery Brudov, Vincenzo Cantatore, Alexander Petkovic, Mohamed Siluvangi, Mario Veit and Oleg Platov - in weights they range from supermiddle to full fledged heavyweights.

-My best weight was around 92 kg, and now Iīm about 100 kg, says Frank.

-It was about money, after all itīs a business, says Frank today, and I did win more than I did but itīs very difficult to get a points winin the opponentīs backyard. And sometimes, we made arrangements that I would go easy on the other guy. Again, it was about money.

Frank donīt deny heīs well off thanks to his three jobs and is now with his family back in Vilvoorde, close to Brussels, where he grew up.

As for the 102 pro fights claimed by Frank it canīt be confirmed by any recordkeeper but Wuestenbergh insist they took place.

-When I turned pro I fought with a Hungarian license, and then switiched to a Belgian and thatīs why many fights are missing.

Frank began his pro career in 1991 shortly after the iron curtain had fallen and in those early days in East Europe there were a lot of problems where many fighters were credited with fights that never took place and reverse.

As for a continued career Frank says he no longer trains: -but if somebody needs me for a fight and the money is right, I am available!

Younger brother Bruno was also decent pro and fought for the WBC Intīl middleweight title but later in his career also settled in for the role of "opponent" but was a little more fragile than his brother.

Wuestenberghīs last fight was July 3 when he suffered a rare inside the distance loss to German Edmund Gerber.

Article posted on 10.09.2009



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