Michalczewski in superb shape

24.02.05 - Photo galleries of press conference, public workout and official weigh-in on Former light heavyweight champion Dariusz Michalczewski showed up highly motivated, agile and with excellent reflexes on Tuesday afternoon at a public workout in a big VW car market in Hamburg.. While snow was falling outside in the cold city in the north of Germany, a large crowd of journalists, camera teams, photographers and fans witnessed how the 36-year-old “Tiger” entered a boxing ring and worked out bursting with energy like a wind up fighting mashine, doing shadow boxing and punching on the pads held by his coach Fritz Sdunek. Michalczewski, 48-1 (41), clearly displayed the same kind of pressure and tireless offense that enabled him to hold on the WBO title at 175 lb. for more than nine years and to defend it 23 times successfully.

Now entering the ring as a challenger for the first time since fighting for the WBO cruiserweight belt in 1994 Michalczewski will use that spectacular offensive style that became his trademark over the years in an attempt to dethrone reigning WBA light heavyweight champion Fabrice Tiozzo, 46-2 (30), at the sold out Color Line Arena of Hamburg that will hold 17.000 fans on Saturday.

“I feel very proud and honored that the Color Line Arena has been sold out in such a short time”, Michalczewski said. “The people in Hamburg love me. And I love Hamburg. The Color Line Arena is like my living room. I believe, from those 17.000 people on Saturday I know almost half of them personally.”

However, there is one man who aggressively wants to thwart Michalczewski’s home coming party: WBA light heavyweight champion Fabrice Tiozzo who showed up at the public workout in no less of a superb shape than his challenger. The 35-year-old Frenchman proudly flexed his powerful biceps and lifted his shirt so that the photographers could make pictures of his athletic six-pack. The Frenchman took the public workout more as a show than as a serious display of his abilities when he hit the pads only with half power.

„I had only one week of vacation during the entire last year. For the rest of the time I was permanently training”, Tiozzo said who on Saturday will enter the ring to the gruffy music of the German punk band “Rammstein” with the song “Feuer frei” (“open fire”).

„My concrete preparation for Dariusz lasted one month. I’m absolutely confident of victory, no matter whether it’s by knockout or if it goes to the scorecards.”

While you could see how seriously Fabrice Tiozzo looks forward to his mission, the other two world champions impressed with their happiness. For Hungarian Zsolt Erdei (WBO light heavyweight champion) and for Mexican Julio Zarate (WBA bantamweight champion) the walk to the ring at the public workout was rather a cheerful dance than anything else. Zarate even crossed the ropes with a pirouette backwards.

“The show and the press appointments are part of the entire game. To be honest: I would much rather stay at home and calm down during the remaining days”, Zsolt Erdei, 21-0 (13), said who often likes to relax by watching animal documentary movies.

Erdei is facing Argentine Hugo Hernan Garay, 23-1 (12), for the second time on Saturday. The two already fought on May 8, 2004, when Erdei won a close majority decision over twelve rough rounds.

Garay, in contrast to the champion, is wasting no time with humor and made clear that he doesn’t stand for any nonsense: “This will be a bloody war. And after it’s over there will be a new world champion from Argentina.”

Zsolt Erdei captured the WBO title one year ago from Julio Cesar Gonzalez, the only man to defeat Michalczewski. Erdei’s fight against Garay will be his third title defense. All his world title fights went the distance so far as in September he beat Alejandro Lakatus in Budapest over twelve rounds as well.

Twentyfive kilogram lower boxing fans can expect a duel that will be just as heated as the two fights at light heavyweight. WBA bantamweight champion Julio Zarate, 21-2-1 (13), is defending his crown against undefeated Ukrainian Wladimir Sidorenko, 16-0 (6), from the Universum boxing stable.

„Wladimir as a lot of international experience and he worked his way to the top of the rankings by beating strong opposition”, coach Michael Timm said on his charge who fought only 16 times as a pro but looks back on 310 amateur fights.

The almost undefeatable little powerman won 306 of 326 boxing fights – amateurs and professionals combined.

„Wladimr is very determined and he thinks he is capable of many things. He can handle the South American boxing style well and will enter the fight with a lot of confidense. We worked out a nice game plan. Zarate’s advantages in height and reach won’t matter inside and at close range.”

“I hope that Julio Zarate doesn’t have 100% of the genes of his uncle”, boxing expert Jean-Marcel Nartz of Universum said. “Carlos Zarate used to be the greatest world champion from Mexico beside Julio Chavez.”

Uncle Carlos Zarate was holding the WBC bantamweight crown from 1976 to 1979 and finished his career with an impressive 66-4 record.

On Saturday the 1,62m whirlwind Sidrenko is facing “only” the nephew who won the WBA world title in March 2004 against Japanese Hideko Todaka.

Three fights from the undercard of the show at Color Line Arena will be broadcast live on the internet. At 18:40 German time, and will show the contests of Denis Boytsov, Willy Blain and Sebastian Zbik.

Internet Live Broadcast on
Saturday, 26th February 2005
18:40 German time
12:40 US ET
09:40 US PT

Article posted on 24.02.2005

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