30.06.05 – Fightcard, weights and photo gallery from Hamburg now on boxing.de – WBO light heavyweight champion Zsolt Erdei and IBF heavyweight youth champion Alexander Dimitrenko will headline a big event of Universum Box-Promotion at the huge Color Line Arena of Hamburg, Germany, this Saturday, July 2. Erdei will make the forth defense of his crown against Frenchman and former WBA champion Mehdi Sahnoune, 31-1 (27)..
“I respect Sahnoune as a very hard puncher”, Erdei, 22-0 (13), said. “But I’m much quicker than he is and I have the better technique. He will have first-hand experience of that on Saturday.”
The 31-year-old Hungarian won the WBO crown on January 17, 2004, from Mexican Julio Cesar Gonzalez with a clear-cut unanimous decision over twelve rounds. Erdei then defended the title three times successfully, twice against mandatory challenger Hugo Hernan Garay from Argentina, and once against Spaniard Alejandro Lakatus.
Hungarian Erdei is now living in Hamburg for four years and has reached a solid popularity level in Germany, in part because of his sunny nature and his very good German language skills. Later this year Erdei wants to marry his beautiful Austrian girlfriend Arabella.
“I’m proud that I got the main event of the evening but there is a great pressure on me,” stated Erdei. “Hamburg is my second home. I’m happy about this fight because if I win I will take a big step towards being famous in Germany.”
Zsolt Erdei weighed in at 174 lb. Mehdi Sahnoune weighed one pound less.
At ringside in Hamburg will be long-time champion Dariusz Michalczewski who was dethroned by Gonzalez in October 2003. Michalczewski retired from boxing this year and will now root for his former stable mate Erdei.
“This will be the hardest fight in Erdei’s career”, Michalczewski said. “Sahnoune can punch real hard. It’s important that Erdei doesn’t run out of steam in the last round. To defend your world title is always much more difficult than to win it. I’m very nervous for my stable mate because I know what’s going on in his mind.”
Challenger Mehdi Sahnoune is a former world champion himself. He won the WBA crown on March 8, 2003, against Bruno Girard and lost it on October 10, 2003, to Silvio Branco. Sahnoune won his last seven fights straight, six of them by knockout.
“I know Erdei,” Sahnoune stated. “I have seen his fights on video and I prepared for the fight very well. Until now I have mostly won by knockout, but I think this fight will go twelve rounds. I’m very motivated.”
Defending champion Erdei is ranked No. 2 in the independent world rankings of www.boxrec.com, only behind Antonio Tarver. Mehdi Sahnoune is ranked No. 14. A fact worth mentioning is that Julio Gonzalez, the man who Erdei became champion against 16 months ago, is still holding a strong 3rd position directly behind Erdei.
Michel Acaries, the French promoter of both Sahnoune and WBA light heavyweight champion Fabrice Tiozzo said that the winner of the Erdei-Sahnoune fight would have a good chance for a unification fight with Tiozzo.
Co-main event in Hamburg will be a heavyweight contest featuring undefeated 22-year-old Ukrainian prospect Alexander Dimitrenko facing German Andreas Sidon, 26-5 (20). The intercontinental titles of IBF and WBO will be on the line. Strong favorite is Dimitrenko who is 20 years younger than the more experienced and seasoned Sidon.
“In boxing the question is not whether you are old or young”, Dimitrenko, 18-0 (11), said. “The question is whether you’re good or bad.”
The 6-foot-7 Dimitrenko has often been compared to the Klitscho brothers, a comparison the highly intelligent law student doesn’t like to hear, though. “I don’t like those cross comparisons. I’m not Klitschko. I’m me.”
Alexander Dimitrenko weighed in at 249 lb. Sidon weighed 223 lb.
The event will be broadcast live in Germany by ZDF. Studio guest will be WBO number one heavyweight contender Luan Krasniqi. While waiting for his shot at WBO champion Lamon Brewster later this year Krasniqi will comment on the fight of his stable mate Erdei for the German audience.
After this event Universum Box-Promotion will have a summer break and return on September 10 with a world title defense of Regina Halmich in Karlsruhe.