Valuev to defend the WBA title in Stockholm, Sweden?

12.11.06 - By Per Ake Persson: Sauerland Event have applied to the local council in Orebro, Sweden, which administrates the new martial arts law, for permission to stage a professional boxing show at the huge (14 000 seats) Globen Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, January 20, 2007, writes Dagens Nyheter, DN. DN writes that Sauerland plans to have WBA heavy champ Nikolai Valuev in a defence of the title against an opponent to be announced. Chris Meyer, CEO for Sauerland Event, confirms that they have applied for permission to stage a pro boxing show but declines to comment any further on the matter. Sauerland is represented by Kristina Tunkrans in Sweden..

The law that prohibits professional boxing in Sweden since 1970 is no longer in effect as of January 1, 2007. It will then be replaced by something called the martial arts law. According to this all promoters of contact sports that include punches or kicks to the head must apply for permission 90 days in advance to the local council in Orebro where a special committee will look into the matter and determine if the event in question is safe enough.

In the guideline for the law the legislators refers to amateur boxing in Sweden as having an "acceptable standard of safety". The promoters of the show must supply its application with documentation of which rules that are to be in effect and which safety measures that are taken. According to DN Sauerland Event plans to do its show January 20 using WBA rules for professional boxing and is not willing to make any compromises on the rules that are in effect internationally.

Another promoter, New Sweden headed by Robert Nordman and Wally Munteanu, have applied for permission to do a show January 27 at the Liseberg Hall in Gothenburg. New Sweden have already signed female supermiddle Aasa Sandell, heavyweight John Thorbjornsson and have had talks with ex-WBO supermiddle ruler Armand Krajnc and a number of other Swedish pros.

New Swedenīs application to the martial arts commission was however sent back as it was judged as "incomplete". What was missing? Well, rules and safety measures. Robert Nordman told this reporter last week he had been told by Bjorn Rosengren, who is the chairman of the Swedish proboxing commission (not to be confused with the martial arts committee) that the rules will be, get this, "the EBU rules with the rules of the Swedish amateur Federation as supplement". Exactly how they will look isnīt known yet and there is still no permission for New Sweden to do their show.

In short; no-body knows at the moment what will be allowed. It looks like a safe bet though that a promoter of martial arts, K 1, MMA, thaiboxing etc that involves kicks to the head wonīt get permission to stage any shows. All of this have been allowed for years now since neither existed in this country when the law that prohibits professional boxing was created and have sort of fallen between the cracks. It was to include, and possibly stop, these activities in a law that the investigation on martial arts and proboxing originally began.

As for proboxing it also seems certain that a promoter as of January 1, 2007, can bill a show as "professional boxing" without breaking any laws. But will it be professional boxing as we know it internationally or will it be a very special version of the same with headgears, amateur gloves, a maximum distance of five-three minute rounds or a mix of the above? We just donīt know yet.

The investigation on martial arts and professional boxing was initially rather positive towards proboxing. This commission were ringside in Copenhagen November 8, 2002, where Johnny Bredahl outscored Leo Gamez for a look at the real thing. However, there were then long delays before a proposal was made. Then Ministre of Sports, one Bosse Ringholm, was totally against professional boxing and made sure that the legislators wrote the pre-work to the law in a way that would in effect keep proboxing prohibited. Ringholm have since been replaced and weīve had a change in government which may or may not (this issue have cut like a knife through the political parties but the representatives for a no to professional boxing have always been in majority) help proboxing.

The law itself is written in a way that leaves a lot of openings for professional boxing. It may also be interpreted in a way that will turn anything close to professional boxing down. One shouldnīt underestimate the anti-proboxing establishment that sadly includes many active in the amateur federation. What makes matters worse is that the pro boxing commission, which holds a full membership in the EBU, have been totally inactive for years now. They appear to have been caught off guard by the question of rules and safety measures. It seems like they expected the martial arts commission to do the work for them. Sauerland Event have in all their shows for the last few years used the Austrian Federation, the FVA, as supervisors for all non-title fights on their shows. If they bring the FVA to Sweden look for more turmoil

Robert Nordman, a restuarant owner and veteran amateur with a 3-3-1 ledger as a pro, who currently attends college is very enthusiastic: "This will be a big break for all pros in Sweden, finally they get a chance to fight at home and earn a living here. It will also help to revive amateur boxing. I donīt care to much about this rule thing, we will do our show under whatever rules they want us to use. We plan to do about eight fights, all over four- or six-rounders. This thing is redhot and we might move the show to Scandinavium (a much bigger venue in Gothenburg). But no, I wonīt fight on this show. I did that once and as it was I had to stay up until 3 AM the morning before to get everything right and thatīs not the way to prepare for a fight."

Nordman tried for a long time to build a proteam from Sweden that would fight out of Phila, PA, and have staged shows at his restaurant with himself as headliner in "exhibitions" - very much illegal under the current law. Robert have in the US worked with among others Don Elbaum. Nordman have already invited Steve Smoger to be a referee and judge on the show. Knowing Robert for a long time Iīm sure the January 27 show in Gothenburg will get off the ground one way or the other under whatever rules.

Article posted on 13.11.2006

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