Boxing

STIEGLITZ vs. HAMDAN PREVIEW

by Glynn Evans: Britain presently has a surfeit of talent at 168lbs and a man likely to feature in the futures of Carl Froch, Brian Magee or, particularly, James DeGale and George Groves is current WBO supermiddle czar Robert Stieglitz. (In the latest WBO rankings, DeGale is rated fifth, Groves third).

Domestic fans get a welcome opportunity to examine the 30 year old German based Russian this evening when he makes a sixth defence of his belt against Australia’s seasoned Nader Hamden on the Huck-Afolabi undercard in Erfurt, Germany.

BoxNation broadcast live and exclusive in the UK on Sky Ch.456/Virgin Ch.546.

So what do we know of the 5ft 11in champion? Born in Yeysk, a coastal town in southern Russia, Stieglitz was a decent rather than outstanding amateur, victorious in 84 of 100 bouts and a bronze medallist in the Russian military championships.

A qualified P.E instructor, he now resides in Magdeburg in the old East Germany where he has been promoted by Ulf Steinforth of SES and trained by Dirk Dzemski. Since entering the profession in April 2001, he has compiled an impressive 41-2 ring record with 23 stoppage wins.

Though he’d snared IBF Youth and Inter Continental belts, his initial foray into world class was thwarted by Columbia’s mallet fisted Alejandro Berrio who felled him twice before finally dropping the guillotine in round three of a March 2007 clash for the vacant IBF belt. Stieglitz had previously halted Berrio in round eleven of an eliminator.

The frailties resurfaced 12 months later when, citing a cold, he was dropped and stopped in eight by California domiciled Mexican Librado Andrade. To his credit, he regrouped and has been unbeaten in ten straight since.

In August 2009, he succeeded Ralf Rocchigiani and Markus Beyer as only the third German to capture a world title on foreign climes when he ravaged Hungary’s Karoly Balzsay in 11 rounds in Budapest. He has consolidated with five low key defences, all in Germany, with the most noteworthy a ten round disqualification win over hardy Armenian Khoren Gevor in April 2011.

Stylewise, despite not carrying great pop in his punches, Stieglitz likes to stay in range and engage, which usually makes for enjoyable fights. He has a good set of lungs which translates to fine stamina and a high punch output. On the downside, he can be repetitive and his defensive is far from impregnable. It is possible he may be deflated mentally after recent high profile matches with Mikkel Kessler and George Groves fell out of bed.

This evening’s challenge comes from a 38 year old Australian who, worryingly, has won only one of his last five and just seven of his previous 16.

Sydney’s Nader ‘Lionheart’ Hamdan fits the classic Aussie ring stereotype; superfit, teak tough, strong yet not explosive, and technically limited at elite level. In a 53 fight pro career that kicked off way back in August 1997 with 32 straight wins, Hamdan has only been halted once – by formidable former IBF middleweight czar Arthur Abraham. Even that wasn’t until 90 seconds from the end of a 12 round WBA InterContinental middleweight spat, and happened almost eight years ago.

But while he scalped top grade Jap Nobuhiro Ishida early in his career, the two weight Australian champion usually comes second place whenever pitched around the periphery of world class. In addition to Abraham, Otis Grant, Stejpan Bozic, Mads Larsen and Anthony Mundine have all outscored him; the latter in a September 2008 WBA super middle challenge. With nine losses already on his slate, and just 18 stoppage wins, an upset appears highly improbable.

The intrigue here is clearly whether the defending champion has the arsenal needed to dispose of Hamdan inside the scheduled 12 rounds. My shout is that he won’t. Stieglitz to retain on a wide points decision.

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Article posted on 04.05.2012



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