Racial remarks spelling doom for EBU vice president

08.12.03 - An Eastsideboxing Exclusive by Hans-Martin Roehm: was the first and only internet website to report internationally about the recent racial outbursts of EBU vice president Hans Hoegner. Commenting on the plight of German-based Algerian journeyman Ramdane Kaouane, Hoegner, in his capacity as supervisor of the German Federation, was quoted in the ‘Sueddeutsche Zeitung’ by Ralf Wiegand as saying that “He (Kaouane) should get himself a job or go back to Algeria”. Hoegner also compared the job of a prizefighter with that of a prostitute.

Now the question whether German boxing is heading towards a ‘right corner’ has taken center stage among boxing people in Germany and the attempts to remove Hoegner completely from the game have risen to new heights.

Leading the revolt against the controversial Hoegner is promoter Wilfried Sauerland, whose currently biggest client is IBF/WBA supermiddleweight champion Sven Ottke. Sauerland send a letter to Dr. Bodo Eckmann, president of the BDB, demanding Hoegner’s immediate exclusion from the Federation, otherwise threating to severe ties with the BDB and instead join the Austrian Federation with his huge team. It is no secret that Sauerland always felt that Hoegner was misusing his positions, among them being a member of the EBU’s ranking commission, to give unlimited support to Sauerland’s biggest national rival in promoting. Last May, pressure was mounting so much against Hoegner that he ‘voluntarily’ resigned from his position as BDB vice president, however, that has not stopped him in the slightest, it seems.

One insider, who requested anonymity, gives an interesting statement regarding the BDB’s conduct of business and Hoegner’s hold of it. “Dr. Eckmann, whose only experience in boxing administration prior to holding the post of president consisted of a few years as a ringside physician, is basically just a president for the window. Hoegner is the man with the expertise and basically ran the BDB. The other vice president Lothar Brunst always seemed the odd man out. Now when Hoegner resigned, instead of nominating a new second vice president, they just left it at that. This means that when Brunst was opposing something, Dr. Eckmann could overturn him with his president’s vote. Thus, very obviously, Hoegner still controls Dr. Eckmann.

Now German boxing seems to have reached a cross road, because the highly estimated news weekly DER SPIEGEL has put the whole matter on to a higher level. Many from the industry have publicly expressed their dismay with Hoegner’s attitude, and manager Ebby Thust did not forget to remind Dr. Eckmann in a letter of protest about the affidavit Dutch manager Henk Ruhling gave a few years ago. Ruhling swears that Hoegner told him that “all Jews must get out of Germany”. Mike Klodt, office manager of IFCO Box Promotion from Berlin, reports about similar statements from Hoegner in connection with the rehabilitation of Johann Trollmann, a gypsy boxer who was killed in a Nazi concentration camp 60 years ago. Inquiring why the BDB moved so slow on this case, Kloth was told by Hoegner: “This will not bring Trollmann back to life anyway.” According to Kloth the disgraced administrator pointed to the difficulty of judging history and asked, as an example, whether anybody could tell for sure “if not also the Jews produced Zyklon B gas.” (This chemical was used for mass killings at the Nazi concentration camps).

As DER SPIEGEL will report in tomorrows issue, Dr. Eckmann nevertheless seems to back Hans Hoegner, downplaying the scandal as a “storm in a glass of water”, whereas vice president Lothar Brunst shows a better understanding of the situation, saying “If Hoegner can not clear himself of all accusations, he must retire from all posts.” The European Boxing Union however, where Hoegner is a vice president, has so far remained completely silent.

By this episode hitting the mainstream via DER SPIEGEL, it is almost assured that this time Hoegner can not suceed in sitting out the matter or even putting it under a carpet. Boxing rarely crosses over to the mainstream, but as any insider can attest, once a scandal is hot enough, it will be prime time news. Therefore, the real shockwaves could follow over the next few days or weeks and might even sweep away Dr. Eckmann from the presidency of the BDB, if he keeps protecting a man that seems hopelessy unprotectable. Nobody in German boxing believes that Hans Hoegner has the nerves or financial means to take to court Europe’s highest selling news magazine

Article posted on 08.12.2003

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