Gallagher: Smith can emulate Groves’ feel good story
Joe Gallagher says Paul Smith (38-6, 22 KOs) can emulate George Groves’ feel good story by claiming a World title on his third attempt when he challenges Tyron Zeuge (20-0-1, 11 KOs) for the WBA World Super Middleweight strap on Saturday, June 15 at the Rittal Arena in Wetzlar, Germany.
Groves won World honours at the fourth time of asking with a stunning sixth-round stoppage victory over the granite chinned Fedor Chudinov on May 27 at Bramall Lane in Sheffield following two epic clashes with domestic rival Carl Froch and a split decision loss to Badou Jack.
Gallagher believes Smith, who returns to Germany for a third World title challenge after back-to-back defeats to Arthur Abraham, can mimic Groves’ success by using his ring smarts and experience to dethrone the WBA ‘regular’ champion.
‘’If Paul Smith turns up like he did in the first fight with Abraham then we are leaving Germany with that belt,’’ said Gallagher. ‘’That was a good fight. It was nip and tuck. We had success and when the bell went and I thought we might have nicked it. No one gave him a chance going into that fight, but he went in there, acquitted himself well, and a lot of people thought he deserved to win.
‘’This is now his third attempt, and at this stage of his career, it’s the last roll of the dice. But I just have a good feeling about this fight. I think we could see another feel good story in British boxing, like we saw with George Groves. He won the World title on his fourth attempt and what a great story that was. Hopefully Paul can do the same and go and win that belt.
‘’He has the experience now. He’s been there before and he’s not going to be overawed with anything. It’s not like a kid going away and fighting for the World title for the first time. Paul doesn’t have to go through that this time. He knows the set up He’s well travelled and he’s used to fighting away from home.
‘’Experience is vitally important but it’s no good having experience unless you’re gong to do something with it. There’s a lot of talk sometimes about people having experience, but when you’ve got a young hungry fighter that want to make a statement and want to make a name for themselves, they can be very dangerous.
‘’Zeuge is that type of fighter. He’s a young champion who is trying to make his name for himself and trying to get to where fighters like Arthur Abraham have been in his country. So Paul has to be smart and use his ring experience. He needs to make sure that when Zeuge makes mistakes, which we know he does, he’s ready and in the right position to capitalize on this and counter.
‘’There’s no point Paul trying to fight like someone running a 100 meter race with someone ten years younger. You just can’t keep up. He’s got to use his intelligence like Bernard Hopkins did for so many years. He’s got to know when to punch and when not to punch. He’s got to be the smart old man in the fight.’’
Paul Smith is aiming to make it third time lucky
Paul Smith (38-6, 22 KOs) is aiming to make it third time lucky when he returns to Germany to challenge Tyron Zeuge (20-0-1, 11 KOs) for the WBA World Super Middleweight title on Saturday, June 17 at the Rittal Arena in Wetzlar.
The 34 year-old had back-to-back World title bouts with Arthur Abraham in September 2014 and February 2015. Dropping a somewhat contentious points decision to the German veteran in their first fight in Kiel, followed by a more comprehensive defeat five months later at the O2 World in Berlin.
With this experience behind him, Smith believes he is now ready claim World honours as he returns to familiar territory for his third attempt against the undefeated 25 year-old Zeuge, Germany’s only current World Champion.
‘’It’s always been my dream to become World Champion,’’ said Smith. ‘’It’s what I wanted since I was a kid, and I came so close in the first fight with Arthur Abraham. The second fight, I admit I lost fair and square, but I still believe I won that first fight, and I should have already been a World Champion.
‘’But boxing is a funny game, and now, I’ve got another chance, I see no reason why I can’t win. The timing is right for me. I’ve got more experience now. I’ve been there and done it. I’ve fought at World level and I know what to expect.
‘’Zeuge is a decent fighter. Technically he is very good. He’s strong. He throws good straight shots, and stylistically he’s not too dissimilar to me, but I’ve seen some weaknesses I can expose, and with my experience, I’m confident I can win.
‘’I know this is my last chance and I’ve got to make it count. If I had won the first fight with Abraham, I would have probably retired by now, but instead, I’m going back to Germany for another shot, and this time, I’ll be taking the title home!’’
Tyron Zeuge (20-0-1, 11 KOs) says Paul Smith (38-6, 22 KOs) will not take his title when they meet for the WBA World Super Middleweight Championship on Saturday, June 17 at the Rittal Arena in Wetzlar, Germany, live on Sky Sports.
Zeuge captured the WBA strap with an impressive knockout victory over Giovanni De Carolis on November 5, 2016 at the MBS Arena in Potsdam. Having fought to a stalemate four months earlier, Zeuge claimed the title in style, stopping the Italian champion with just 19 seconds remaining in the final round.
The Berlin boxer then retained his belt with a technical decision against Nigeria’s Isaac Ekpo. He was ahead on points when the referee stopped the fight in the fifth round due to a cut above his right eye following an accidental clash of heads.
The 25 year-old is now set for a second defence against former British Champion Smith, who returns to Germany for a third attempt at World honours following back-to-back defeats to Arthur Abraham in September 2014 and February 2015.
“Paul Smith is a good opponent with a lot of experience,’’ said Zeuge. “I’ve watched both his fights with Arthur Abraham, and I know he will be coming to win. However, I believe his style is well suited to mine, and I’m confident I can beat him. I’m expecting a tough fight, but I guarantee Smith will not take my title!
“I’ve been training hard with my coaches Juergen Braehmer and Michael Timm. We’ve prepared a good game plan, and I feel fit and strong. It gives me a lot of confidence to have so much experience in my corner. Juergen has been in my position many times before, and he knows what I to do and what advice to give.
“I’m excited to be defending my title. I‘ve worked really hard to get to where I am today and I will not give it up easily. I’m the last World Champion left in Germany, and while I don’t allow myself to feel any additional pressure, I know this is an important fight, not just for me, but for my countrymen too.
“Germany and England have always had a big sporting rivalry. I hope we can give both sets of fans an exciting fight with lots of action. Smith has tried and failed to win a World title here twice before, and on Saturday, it will be 3-0 to Germany.”
The WBA World Super Middleweight Championship clash between Tyron Zeuge and Paul Smith will be shown live and exclusive on SAT.1 and ran.de in Germany, and Sky Sports in the UK. Limited tickets are still available online via www.eventim.de or by calling the ticket hotline on +49 (0) 1806-570044.