(Picture: Winfried Mausolf) Eduard Gutknecht (24-1, 9 KOs) is probably facing his toughest challenge to date. The European Light Heavyweight Champion is putting his title on the line in an all-German affair when he takes on former world champion Juergen Braehmer (38-2, 30 KOs) on February 2. But the current titlist is not just thinking about the EBU Belt. The winner will receive mandatory challenger status for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) Championship. Just a week ahead of the fight Gutknecht reveals why he believes that he is the only realistic option to win the championship bout.
Eduard Gutknecht, you will be making the fourth defense of your EBU Title on February 2. What are your thoughts on the challenger Juergen Braehmer?
Eduard Gutknecht: Juergen is a very powerful and goal orientated man. I remember him being extremely dedicated to the sport from our days at Universum. I expect him to be the same now. Therefore, I know that I have a big challenge at hand. However, our main focus during this preparation has been on my strengths and not as much on his weaknesses. The plan is to take advantage of his mistakes and get the win.
This fight is also an eliminator for a WBO Title shot. Does that give you some extra motivation?
Eduard Gutknecht: It is motivation enough to be able to prove myself against Juergen Braehmer. He is a former world champion and was at the top of his game while I was just at the beginning of my career. Now I am the European champion and he is challenging me. I am excited about that.
As you said earlier, you know Braehmer from your days at Universum before you joined Team Sauerland. What do you remember from that time?
Eduard Gutknecht: Juergen is an easy and straightforward guy. He doesn’t hide behind the bushes and he tells you what he thinks. We have never had any problems.
How did your preparation go? Did you pay attention to anything in particular?
Eduard Gutknecht: I have been training a lot in order to get into the best shape possible. We paid especially attention to my defense as Braehmer has some pop in his fists.
Braehmer obviously has an advantage when it comes to experience. How are you going to make up for that?
Eduard Gutknecht: I am ready for this bout and really looking forward to it. Everybody can talk ahead of a fight but it’s an entirely different thing once you have entered the ring. At the end of the day, it is just the two of us and two pair of fists. I am planning to use my ‘weapons’ to defeat him.
February 2 will be your first outing as a professional boxer in Berlin. How excited are you to be fighting at the Max-Schmeling-Halle?
Eduard Gutknecht: I did have quite a few fights in Berlin during my days as an amateur. Now I am really excited about my first pro fight in the German capital.
Are you thinking ahead of the Braehmer fight? What does the future hold for you?
Eduard Gutknecht: I’m not. Braehmer is a tough challenge and he won’t be brushed aside just like that. There is a lot of pressure on me and I know that many people are saying that Juergen Braehmer will be in great shape. I’m expecting to meet the best Juergen Braehmer of all time and that is exactly what I have been preparing for. As soon as I heard that he signed with Team Sauerland, I knew that we would face each other. Afterwards we will know who is heading towards a world championship and who will be back to the drawing board.
What is your prediction for the fight in Berlin?
Eduard Gutknecht: I will give it my all in order to leave the ring as thechampion. I do not want to leave any kind of doubt on who the winner of the fight is. If required I will not rely on the judges – and in hindsight all the fans want to witness an early end. It will be hard but I believe in myself and that I will defend the European championship.
Tickets for the big fight night at the Max-Schmeling-Halle in Berlin, Germany can be purschased at www.boxen.com and www.eventim.de.