Universum News: Chagaev vs Drumond; Menzer vs Schouten; Erdei vs Barashian

12.12.08 - Unbeaten WBA heavyweight champion in recess Ruslan Chagaev (24-0-1, 17 KOs) will return on February 7th to face undefeated Carl Davis Drumond (26-0, 20 KOs) At the StadtHalle in Rostock, Germany..

It will be Chagaev's first fight back following an Achilles tendon injury that required surgery and a lengthy rehab. Against the #9 rated Drumond, Chagaev wants to put his form and ring-sense to the test before the upcoming duel against the 'Russian Giant' Nikolai Valuev. "Ruslan Chagaev is the man in the heavyweight for the year 2009," stated Universum promoter Klaus-Peter Kohl. "After he had so many bad breaks health-wise last year, he will defeat Valuev for the second time and again show what a great boxer he is. Ruslan owns the future, because he is as a world champion barely 30 years old, the most complete heavyweight and as a southpaw is very difficult to box."

Ten days before his highly anticipated second fight against the seven-foot Valuev in early July, Chagaev had to pull out due to a Achilles tendon tear in the left foot. The WBA has stipulated that Chagaev must face Valuev no later than June 26th. Chagaev says after his fight against the "interim champion" Valuev (Valuev is actually the WBA champion, while Chagaev is champion is recess), he will continue his goal to capture all four championship belts to become the undisputed champion.

Tickets for the „Universum Champions Night“, 7th February 2009, StadtHalle Rostock, Germany are available under:

Universum Ticket Hotline: +49-40-696 559 59
CTS-Eventim Hotline: +49-1805-57 00 00 or here

World champion Ina Menzer defends her belts against Esther Schouten

Menzer: "Everyone who understands boxing will be able to enjoy a great fight. With Esther Schouten I expect an opponent who can box at a very technically high level."

Schouten: "During my illness my big dream was to get back into the ring and now I can even return to box for a world championship."

A fascinating female clash will take place on January 17 at the Burg-Waechter Castello in Dusseldorf when local favorite and WIBF/WBC featherweight champion Ina Menzer (22-0, 9 KOs) defends against former champion Esther Schouten (22-4-1, 11 KOs). For Schouten, it will be her fifth fight back since having her career derailed for cancer treatment.

In her last fight in Rostock on November 22, the Universum championess Ina Menzer defeated her Brazilian opponent Adriana Salles by unanimous decision. Menzer and Schouten met for the first time on Wednesday at a press conference in Dusseldorf.

"It's always special to box in my hometown," said Menzer. "The year 2008 couldn't have gone better for me, nice victories in live ZDF fights, another championship belt, and it should continue in 2009 also. With Esther Schouten I expect an opponent who can box at a very technically high level. Everyone who understands boxing will be able to enjoy a great fight, but I do believe that I'll win - in the worst case on points!"

Schouten, who was WIBF super bantamweight champion from 2002-2005, has won four straight since returning to the ring in March after a long break. She will work with new trainer Dirk Dzemski in Magdeburg. "With Ina Menzer, I have a technically good and especially tough boxer to challenge," commented Schouten. "This will be a huge fight with a great atmosphere. In my comeback I have four victories since March of this year and am once again at my old performance level following my treatment for lymph gland cancer which included chemo- and radiological therapy. During my illness my big dream was to get back into the ring and now I can even return to box for a world championship. I am very happy, highly motivated and have nothing to lose - I have already fought for my life and won. The main thing is I have fun. With my sports successes, I want to give others who have similar diseases courage and motivate them. I am a positive person and believe that I'll win this fight. If I didn't believe I would, I wouldn't climb into the ring!"

Even the trainers are already full of anticipation for this highlight in women's boxing.

"Ina has had a great year behind her," said Michael Timm. "She has been continually improved and, of course, that will continue in 2009. We will work very hard over the holidays to prepare for Esther Schouten, who was already a world champion in a lower division for three years."

"I've trained Esther since June this year" stated Dirk Dzemski. "She's a very experienced boxer, but sometimes you need to rein in her over-motivation. Esther has already achieved a lot and in the fight against Ina Menzer she wants to make her dream a reality. She wants the world title back!"

Additional bouts for this "Universum Champions Night" card will be announced. The ZDF will broadcast the fight Menzer vs. Schouten. The highligths of the fights can be seen on after the fight on

Zsolt Erdei vs. Yuri Barashian and Denis Inkin vs. Karoly Balzsay

The boxing hotbed of Magdeburg, Germany, will open 2009 in a big way when two world championship fights headline the first "Universum Champions Night" of the year at Bördelandhalle on January 10th. Unbeaten WBO world light heavyweight champion Zsolt "Firebird" Erdei (29-0, 17 KOs) will defend against Ukrainian contender Yuri Barashian (25-4, 17 KOs).

At today's press conference at the Maritim Hotel Magdeburg, Zsolt Erdei stated, "I was often in Magdeburg as a spectator, but now I can finally enter the ring. I am especially glad about the knowledgeable boxing fans here. Also many fans can head over here from Hungary, it's not so far away. With Yuri Barashian I have a strong opponent who has has shown his qualities against Thomas Ulrich. There will certainly be a "tough nut" that I have to crack!"

"We've already studied Barashian," Erdei's trainer Fritz Sdunek said. "He is cool, smart and dangerous. But, we'll see how he is with the speed of Zsolt. It is certainly a very exciting fight!"

In the second world championship clash of the night WBO super middleweight world champion Denis Inkin (34-0, 24 KOs) faces his stall colleague and WBO #1 rated Karoly Balzsay (19-0, 14 KOs). This eagerly awaited duel between the two unbeatens was originally slated as an interim championship bout at the end of September, but had to be cancelled after Balzsay suffered a cut in training. Inkin defeated replacement opponent Fulgencio Zuniga for the full WBO champion after reigning champion Joe Calzaghe stepped down.

"The cancellation was very sad for me," said Karoly Balzsay today. "Of course, I'm happy that I have received a chance at the championship fight so quickly after my injury - yes, I'm finally #1 WBO and so the mandatory challenger. Denis Inkinen is a strong opponent - he is the champion. It's nice that both Zsolt Erdei and I can enter the ring at an event. I can learn a great deal from him and he supports me during the preparation!"

"This is a very close match," said Sdunek, who trains Balzsay as well as Erdei, "but I think that Karoly has very good chances. He has recently matured very much as a boxer, he has strong nerves and those dynamics can decide the fight."

Inkin's trainer Magomed Schaburow was under the weather and did not attend the press conference. However, he did speak via phone hookup. "Two hard punchers will meet," he commented, "but I just hope that both leave the ring healthy and the better one wins. It is in every case a very tough fight for both."

Tickets for this „Universum Champions Night“ are available:

Ticket Shop Magdeburg: +49 391-533 480

Article posted on 11.12.2008

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