Sturm meets Zbik on Friday; Martin Murray to fight on June 16th
A grudge of Groves-DeGale dimensions has been brewing over in Germany of late between world class middleweights Felix Sturm and Sebastian Zbik. And British fans shall be able to watch the rivalry unfurl this evening when the former puts his World Boxing Association (WBA) Super title on the line against ex World Boxing Council (WBC) ‘interim’ king Zbik at the Lanxess Arena, Cologne, live on BoxNation (Sky Ch.456, Virgin Ch. 546).
Article posted on 13.04.2012
The principals were former teammates from the German amateur set-up and began their pro careers together under the Universum promotional umbrella. However Sturm departed acrimoniously to form his own promotional company and, in the build up to this evening’s dust-up, challenger Zbik has been threatening to ‘pulverize him’!
UK fans will be familiar with the defending champion following live coverage here of his two most recent gigs, when he controversially squeezed past British challengers Matt Macklin and Martin Murray (Both Brits give their assessments of how they envisage this fight panning out beneath). More seasoned viewers may recall watching Sturm ‘fitted up’ himself after seemingly outhustling Oscar De La Hoya over 12 in Las Vegas eight years ago.
Clearly the Leverkusen born, Cologne based champion is a fighter of pedigree. In the amateur code, he won gold medals at both the European Junior and European Senior tourneys (Birmingham 1997 and Tampere 2000) and competed at both the senior world championships and 2000 Sydney Olympics where his dream was ruined by no less than Jermain Taylor (USA).
As a pro, he has won bonafide world titles on three separate occasions. Within just 32 months of his January 2001 debut, he had eclipsed Argentina’s Hector Javier Velazco (pts 12) to pick up the WBO crown (which he was to concede to ‘The Golden Boy’). In March 2006, he added the WBA crown by decisioning Samoa’s Maselino Masoe over 12 only to surrender the belt with a tenth round kayo loss to Javier Castillejo in a huge upset.
Since avenging the Spaniard on points to regain that title in April 2007, the 5ft 11 ½ in Sturm has remained undefeated throughout 11 defences, all in the Fatherland. However, save for Sebastian Sylvester, Khoren Gevor and the two Brits, the opposition has been far from challenging. Now 33, it is probable that he has already seen his very best days.
Less is known of Zbik on these shores but he, too, is a quality operator. Born in Neubrandenburg but now based in Schwerin, the 30 year old was beaten in just 19 of 152 amateur starts and, in addition to several national titles at all ages, he picked up a bronze at welter in the 2002 European Senior Championships in Perm, Russia.
Five years after his July 2004 pro bow, the former military man collected his WBC interim strap by outscoring Italy’s Domenico Spada. A neat, skilful technician with just 13 quick wins on his 30-1 card, he successfully retained three times (all on points). Last June, however, he dropped both his title and unbeaten tag to Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr who edged past him on a 12 round majority at the Staples Centre, Los Angeles. The German has been inactive since.
Despite Zbik’s threats of pulverization, viewers should expect a high grade, fast paced, technical match which should be tight and could swing either way. Despite entering his 34th year last January, Sturm showed against Macklin and Murray that he remains supremely fit and, given Zbik’s tendency to fade slightly after the turn, I’ll go with the champion to retain, possibly controversially, by decision.
Sturm v Zbik will be televised live tonight on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546) in the ABA Finals show with coverage starting at 6.30pm.
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Martin Murray vs. TBA on June 16th
MARTIN MURRAY will return to action on Hatton Promotions massive ‘Road To Glory’ bill at Manchester Velodrome on Saturday June 16.
The British, Commonwealth and World Boxing Association (WBA) inter-continental middleweight champion will be in title action on the card, with his opponent to be named in the next two weeks
Besides the vacant WBA interim super-bantamweight title clash between Scott Quigg and Rendall Munroe it is a big night for Hatton Promotions with Murray in a big contest.
Murray had hoped to challenge WBC champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in Texas on the same date, but visa issues prevented him from traveling to the US.
Back in December, the unbeaten St Helens fighter travelled to Germany and held WBA Super champion Felix Sturm to a draw.
British and Commonwealth champion Murray, 29, is ranked at number three by the WBA and Hatton Promotions CEO Ricky Hatton believes a ‘Road To Glory’ win will land his man the mandatory position.
Hatton said: “If Martin comes through I hope he will become the official challenger and earn a rematch with Sturm or their regular champion Gennady Golovkin.
“It was a terrible blow that he couldn’t get his paperwork cleared in time for the Chavez Jr fight, but he is back in the gym and looking forward to his next contest.”
“After his magnificent performance against Sturm, Martin deserves another world title challenge and I will make sure it happens.”
Murray (23-0-1) added: “I can’t wait to get in there and use what I learned against Sturm. I’m still developing into my prime and I’m looking forward to the future.”
Also in title action on the bill, Sheffield’s Ryan Rhodes meets unbeaten Belarussian Sergey Rabchenko for the vacant European light-middleweight crown.
Rhodes’s fellow steel city boxer Richard Towers bids for his first title against German Michael Wallisch for the vacant EEU heavyweight crown.
There will be a talent stacked undercard that will include unbeaten hopefuls Adam Etches (7-0), Scott Jenkins (4-0), Ryan Doyle (1-0), Jimmy Kelly (1-0).
Ticket prices are now on sale priced £125 (VIP Inner Ringside + exclusive cash bar), £100 Ringside, £55, £35 and £30. You can purchase tickets by calling Hatton Promotions hotline 01925 755 222/www.ticketmaster.co.uk/0844 847 2500/www.ticketline.co.uk/0844 888 4402/www.hmv.com
For all the latest updates please follow the Twitter account dedicated to fight @quiggvmunroe
Still A Few Bullets Left In The Gunn
Following last Saturday’s loss to James Toney for the International Boxing Union (IBU) Heavyweight Title, Bobby “The Celtic Warrior” Gunn thought long and hard what the next move of his career would be.
After thoroughly discussing options with his team, Gunn has announced that he will be dropping down to light heavyweight and will be seeking the WBU title by summertime.
“I spoke with my family, friends and team about how to proceed moving forward, and although retirement was brought up, I couldn’t bring myself to accept that my career inside the ring is over,” said Gunn. “I feel that the light heavyweight division is the best for me right now, and once my hand is healed we are going to begin a strong training camp to get me ready.”
Gunn (21-5, 18 KO) fought at heavyweight against Toney for the first time in his career last Saturday, and lost via TKO after breaking his hand and being unable to continue past the fifth round.
A former IBA world cruiserweight champion, Gunn has fought wars in the ring; in addition to James Toney, Gunn has gone to battle with future hall of famer and former world champion Tomasz Adamek, amongst others.
“I’ve never shied away from a fight my whole life,” said Gunn. “When I was presented the fight against Toney—when everybody else ducked him—I graciously accepted it. I am a fighter, and that’s what I do. I believe with all my heart I have one more championship run left in me, and this summer I am going to capture a Light Heavyweight title.”
Team Gunn has been speaking with several promoters about bringing this fight to life, and Bobby Gunn is anxious to heal up and get back into the ring to avenge the heavyweight title loss.
At 38, Gunn is “old” in boxing sense, although throughout his career he has faced inactivity at times, and claims that he feels the best he ever has.
“Going into the Toney fight I was in the best shape of my life. My trainer Dominic Scibetta can get me down to light heavyweight the right way, and in a few months the boxing world is going to see a new Bobby Gunn.”
Gunn has established himself as a warrior, winning multiple championships inside the ring and the World Heavyweight BKB Title outside of it. Fighting is what he knows; he was born and bred to go to war. He brings excitement and passion into the ring each time he steps between the ropes, and boxing fans can expect fireworks when he makes his debut as a light heavyweight.
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