23.11.03 - By Hans-Martin Roehm: While everybody within the boxing business knows and appreciates the value of the journeymen – those guys that are the epitome of the have-gloves-will-travel philosophy – an article in the estimated ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung’ this week suggests that EBU vice president and former vice president of the German Federation Hans Hoegner obviously sees things drastically different.

It is common knowledge in boxing that those constant ‘losers’ are the ones that keep the game alive, always ready to give a decent test but ultimately loose to the prospects that need building up. One such fighter in Germany is 31-year-old Algerian Ramdane Kaouane, who, since turning professional in 1999, compiled a record of 5-21-1 (3 KO’s). His last outing was on Tuesday, Oct. 18, in Hamburg. In a fight televised live European-wide by Eurosport, Kaouane took on hot prospect Dimitri Sartison and did what promoter Spotlight Boxing paid him an embarrassing 700 Euro for: Lose in three rounds.

Sitting at ringside was Ralf Wiegand who wrote a feature about Kaouane for the ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung’, which appeared later this week. Amongst others, Wiegand also spoke to Hans Hoegner, who acted as the supervisor for the German Federation. Confronted with a Kaouane quote (“What am I supposed to do when I need the money?”), Wiegand reports that Hoegner’s replied was more than heartless. The current vice president of the European Boxing Union (EBU) is quoted by Wiegand as follows: “Own fault. I know this guy for years. Instead of laying on his belly in the gym, he should have gotten himself a job. Or go back to Algeria.” Further down the article, showing no mercy whatsoever to the sometimes difficult life of someone like Kaouane, Hoegner only blames the fighter himself for his plight. “It’s his own fault to believe the promises that have been made to him. If you were a woman in Russia and someone promises you that you will earn 3.000 Euro in Germany, but the work address is Reeperbahn (Hamburg’s famous red light district) – would you do it?”, Wiegand quotes one of Europe’s foremost boxing administrators and comments that he sounded as boxers like Ramdane Kaouane would steal his personal pension.

Still, one person that will certainly not be surprised by Hoegner’s comments is veteran Dutch manager Henk Ruhling. In a letter to Dr. Bodo Eckmann, president of the German Federation, that dates from April 2000 (at which time Hoegner was still the German Federation’s vice president), Ruhling gave an affidavit, swearing Hoegner told him at the bar of a hotel in Essen, Germany: “All Jews must get out of Germany, the Berlin wall must be rebuild and all East Germans must get back behind that wall.” Hoegner later denied to ever have said this and threatened Ruhling with legal action. The world is still waiting for that legal action and therefore the above statement must stand uncontested, especially since the president Dr. Eckmann never let follow any kind of action whatsoever.

It begs to be asked: Has Hans Hoegner, vice president of the European Boxing Union, picked the wrong era to voice his views? And are those, who obviously don’t stop him, in the very same boat? If this would be any other sport than boxing, Hoegner, the German Federation as well as the EBU would have some serious questions to answer…

Article posted on 23.11.2003

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