09.01.04 - Exclusive Report by Hans-Martin Roehm: Current EBU vice president Hans Hoegner of Germany is probably lucky that his playing ground is in boxing and not in German politics, because his recent public controversial remarks – which can easily be interpreted as racist and anti-Jewish – would surely have spelled the end of any involvement in political positions. Not so in boxing, where obviously anything goes and moral standards do not count for much…

Apparantly, the German Boxing Federation (BDB), for whom Hoegner serves as a supervisor after his forced ‘voluntary’ retirement from the post of vice president last year, has held a Board’s meeting on the eve of Wladimir Klitschko’s recent disposal of Dannell Nicholson. This became necessary after an outcry of quite a number of German boxing people in reaction to Hoegner’s comments, requesting his complete demotion from any further involvement in the sport. Several promoters and managers alike feared that German boxing would get a Nazi reputation thanks to a high-profile administrator’s publicly expressed views. Furthermore, it seems that those who campaign to see Hoegner’s backside were correct in assuming that Hoegner is not only a humble servant of big-time promoter Universum Box-Promotion, but also was/is still actively involved in the BDB’s decisions despite leaving the post as vice president.

In any case, the outcome of the BDB’s Board meeting on Dec. 19 seems to have confirmed what president Dr. Bodo Eckmann expressed in an article in Europe’s biggest-selling news weekly DER SPIEGEL – that everything that Hoegner is charged with isn’t such a big deal after all. Asked for a public statement on these matters, Dr. Eckmann indeed behaved like a dictator would, saying he will only give a statement “when the need arises”. Those who followed this story would probably ask what else must happen before the man in charge of the BDB finally takes responsibility and realizes the need for action. However, when it comes to Dr. Eckmann’s conduct as the president of the BDB, this is far from the first case in which he left a lot to be desired.

Germany’s other big promoter, Sauerland Event, is apparantly fed up with the way Dr. Eckmann runs the BDB and all signs are that they will no longer tolerate neither Hans Hoegner’s nor Dr. Bodo Eckmann’s conduct of themselves, the BDB in general and their apparent unwillingness to stand tall for their actions. All signs are that their will leave the BDB and look to licence all their boxers – among them such high-profile ‘world’ champions as Sven Ottke and Markus Beyer – elsewhere. This would be the signal that many smaller promoter and managers were waiting for to follow suit. Effectively, this would leave the German Federation becoming a private ruling body for not much more than Universum Box-Promotion and their offspring company Spotlight Boxing.

The pure fact that Dr. Eckmann does not seem to mind to be, together with his protegee Hans Hoegner, the reason for the biggest rift in the history of the BDB and possibly the nail in its coffin speaks for itself…

Article posted on 09.01.2004

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