26.11.03 – By Olaf Schroeder: National Boxing Association middleweight champion Dirk Dzemski aims to retain his title for the fourth time when he meets American Virgil McClendon on November 29 in Cottbus, Germany over 12 rounds. The fight, promoted by SES Boxing, will go out live nationwide on DSF television.
The good-looking Dzemski, 20-0 (11 KO’s) is a big draw in the former Eastern part of Germany, where most of his fights have taken place, and it is easy to see why: The 31-year-old can punch a bit, but at the same time has a leaky defence and his chin is not exactly made of iron. These ingredients often make fighters a fan favourite and though Dirk is far from the icon-like status that Sven Ottke enjoys, he has nevertheless build himself a fair reputation as somebody who gives people their money’s worth. However, credit must also go to his manager Ulf Steinforth, because he made the most out of what in reality is not a world-class talent.
As in most of Dirk’s championship bouts, the NBA title itself holds less intrigue than his fights as such. In McClendon he meets his first real name fighter, albeit under circumstances that mark the German a huge favourite in this all-southpaw clash. The American is 12 centimeters shorter than the beltholder and he was a lightwelterweight at the start of the millennium. The highlight of his career came in 1999, when he fought Terron Millett for the IBF 140 lbs crown, but got stopped in the last round. Since then, McClendon only had two outings, loosing on points over 10 to Bernard Harris and winning a 6-round decision over journeyman Anthony Cobb. Hardly ideal preparation for a full middleweight like Dzemski… Given that the challenger, with only eight inside-the-distance wins in a 22-3 record and already 39 years old, seems unlikely to hurt Dirk, there can only be one winner, however with his his top-level experience McClendon is sure to pose a few questions along the way.
Top of a seven-bout undercard is once-beaten supermiddleweight Malik Dziarra, who takes on Argentine Gustavo Javier Kapusi, 8-3-3 (4), also over 12 rounds. Dziarra, as his record of 17-1 (15) indicates, is a huge and precise puncher, whose only loss came a year ago to Mario Veit. Since that setback, Malik has rebuild himself very well and now starts looking for bigger fish to fry. Only once, Kapusi lost inside the distance and therefore represents a good test for Malik’s ambitions. The winner of this fight will call himself the NBA Intercontinental champion, for what it’s worth.
Further down the card, appearances are planned by EU superwelterweight champion Lukas Konecny, International German heavyweight champion Konstantin Onofrei and IBF Junior world lightheavyweight champion Robert Stieglitz – all looking to maintain their undefeated records.