QnA with Ahmet Öner on Klitschko vs. Gomez: “The best possible heavyweight fight today!”

oener“Gomez is one of very few who can actually beat Vitali!” . Hamburg, November 10th 2008 – ARENA-Boss Ahmet Öner fought for his #1 rated heavyweight Juan Carlos Gomez at the 46th annual WBC Convention in Chengdu (China) and got what he wanted: Vitali Klitschko has to defend his belt against mandatory challenger Gomez immediately

How do you feel after this decision, Mr. Öner?

Ahmet Öner: “I feel great, of course! I am looking forward to this big fight – not only as promoter but as a boxing fan. Like it or not – this is definitely one of the best possible match-ups in heavyweight boxing today!.

What does this fight mean for you personally and for the boxing world in general?

Ahmet Öner: “For ARENA this is the result of two years of very hard work. When I started this business I wanted the world heavyweight championship. Now we got it and, of course, now we want the big green belt as well. For the boxing world first of all it means that the champion – whoever he may be – has no chance to sneak out of mandatory defenses. We know that Vitali tried all he can to get a voluntary first. But he has to stick to the rules and defend his belt against the No. 1 contender. I want to thank the WBC for this great decision as I believe that it is very important for the reliability in our sport. In addition to that I truly believe that this will be a good fight. Recently we have seen some boring heavyweight championships because there seem to be very few worthy challengers for the Klitschkos.”

Who would you call a “worthy challenger”?

Ahmet Öner: “Most great professional champions have had an outstanding amateur career. Hence Olympic gold medallist Alexander Povetkin is definitely one of the candidates. Alexander Dimitrenko had a great amateur career in the juniors as well but he turned pro quite early so we still have to see whether he got what it takes. Odlanier Solis will certainly be one of the great champions of the future. But at the moment I think Juan is the one fighter with the best chances to actually beat Vitali.”

Why do you think Gomez is good enough to beat Klitschko?

Ahmet Öner: “Juan has proven in his most recent fights against Oliver McCall and Vladimir Virchis that he is in great physical condition and also more focused than he has been through most of his career. Right now we see the best possible Juan Carlos Gomez. He earned the #1 spot and the title shot with hard work. Technically and tactically he is one of the best fighters of his generation. He got great movement, great speed and the experience of ten title defences as cruiserweight champion. Also being a very slick southpaw he is dangerous for every fighter in the world.”

What do you expect from the fight?

Ahmet Öner: “It will definitely be a close and exciting fight. It is hard for me to make any predictions. But right now I got the impression that Vitali might underestimate Juan. And this might be our big chance because Juan will definitely not underestimate Vitali and be very well prepared for a true war.”

The Klitschko management stated that nobody cares about this fight. Do you agree?

Ahmet Öner: Certainly not. I understand that US TV isn’t too happy about the heavyweight scene in general at the moment but that has certainly nothing to do with Gomez vs. Klitschko. I don’t see many much better or bigger fights around at the moment. In addition to that this championship will definitely be huge in Germany because both men are based in Hamburg. The biggest German TV station RTL already stated that they want it. And I believe that this fight might even draw more attention to the heavyweight division internationally because it will be a tough and close fight and none of those one-sided boring mismatches we have seen in the recent past. But I understand why the Kltschkos aren’t interested in the fight. Vitali knows that he could lose to Gomez. So he tries to avoid him. But as a champion he has the responsibility to fight the best challengers in the world.”

Gomez and Klitschko have met before while sparring at the Universum gym. Vitali says that he knocked out the “Black Panther” in one of their sessions…

Ahmet Öner: “In fact I remember those times quite well because I have been a fighter myself at Universum at that time. I don’t think Vitali ever knocked down Juan. But I can recall some sessions where Vitali went out with a bloody nose after getting a good spanking from Gomez. You should not forget that Juan was already world champion when the Klitschko’s just kicked off their careers.”

What do you think when and where the fight might take place? How will you go into the negotiations with K2?

Ahmet Öner: Both Vitali and Wladimir have my number. They can call me and we can meet for discussions. I have no problem with them. If we can’t reach an agreement I will not be afraid to go into a purse bid. I know what a world heavyweight championship is worth and we would be honoured to hold the fight if the Klitschkos think it’s not interesting enough for them. Hamburg is probably the best place for the fight as both men spend lots of time here. But still this is a fight that could be staged everywhere around the world.”

Broken Rib stops Selcuk Aydin

ARENA show on November 18th moved from Istanbul to Cuxhaven

Hamburg, November 10th 2008 – It should have been another great night for Selcuk Aydin. On November 18th the WBC international champion was set to defend his title against Said Ouali in Istanbul. But in one of his last sparring sessions ARENA’s “Mini-Tyson” broke a rib and won’t be able to fight for at least eight weeks. The fight will be postponed to late January or early February.

Still there will be a show on November 18th. But without local hero Selcuk ARENA-CEO Ahmet Öner decided to move the show from the Bosporus to the North Sea. Eurosport will broadcast the show LIVE from Cuxhaven’s Kugelbake-Halle.

The card features two all German heavyweight clashes. Steffen Kretschmann (12-0, 11 kos) will faces Marcel Zeller (21-2, 20 kos) and Konstantin Airich (10-1-1, 9 kos) takes on Alexander Jakob (25-4-1, 15 kos).

Rising middleweight star Mahir Oral (24-1-2, 9 kos) and Alexander Sipos (19-4-2, 9 kos) will step into the ring for a rematch of their 12-round-battle on May 30th in Bilbao. Oral won the first bout via unanimous decision, now Sipos wants to take revenge.

Former two-times WBO heavyweight champion Herbie Hide completes the bill of televised fights. At the 46th WBC Convention in Chengdu “The Dancing Destroyer” has been set up for a world cruiserweight title eliminator against Matt Godfrey.

Article posted on 11.11.2008

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