Felix Sturm comeback continues, former two-weight world titleholder faces James Kraft

Veteran two-weight world titleholder Felix Sturm will face unbeaten James Kraft in a scheduled 10-round mild heavyweight contest on the Universum Fitness center in Hamburg, Germany on Saturday.

Sturm, 42, beforehand held world titles at middleweight and tremendous middleweight however was away from boxing for nearly 5 years, coping with a myriad of authorized points, which are actually behind him.

He returned to motion with a shutout determination win over Tim Rost final December, however Kraft has a bit extra skilled expertise.

“He’s 24 years previous, he’s younger, formidable, undefeated, and it’s a really massive likelihood [for him] to get consideration from exterior Germany,” Sturm (41-5-3, 18 knockouts) informed The Ring. “It’s alternative for him and he’ll be motivated like by no means earlier than in his profession.

“I’m combating at mild heavyweight for the primary time, [and fighters of that size] have a lot extra energy. [Kraft] strikes good, he’s quick, he has good physique photographs, he fights, he seems to be for his likelihood. He desires to construct one thing up with boxing and I want him all the very best for this combat.”

Sturm, who spent eight weeks coaching with finest buddy and former boxer Maurice Weber at his fitness center in Koln, feels that his expertise will probably be key.

“I’m a fighter, I’m simply specializing in myself and my coaching,” Sturm mentioned. “I don’t have a look at what James Kraft does as a result of I’m a powerful believer that in the event you deal with your self, every thing will probably be properly.”

The ex-champion nonetheless carries loads of ambition and has plans for the long run.

“I want to combat within the States towards an enormous title and [have] one combat within the U.Okay., that may be a dream of mine,” mentioned Sturm.

“In the US, boxing is completely different, it’s like a competition, everyone is aware of there’s a combat, irrespective of in the event you’re in New York Metropolis, Los Angeles or Las Vegas – it’s one thing particular. They know easy methods to promote a combat.

“I gained my third world title towards Darren Barker, he’s from the U.Okay. The plan was to have a second combat within the U.Okay., however [Barker] retired, so I by no means acquired the prospect.”

Sturm (left) misplaced the WBO middleweight title to Oscar De La Hoya. Photograph by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Pictures

One other potential combat can be a rematch with Oscar De La Hoya. The pair met in June 2004 and De La Hoya gained a controversial 12-round unanimous determination, claiming Sturm’s middleweight title within the course of. Though De La Hoya has floated the thought of a return to the ring, Sturm doubts that such a combat may occur.

“Oscar has plans for the long run, and if I can combat him it could be nice,” he mentioned. “I used to be solely 5 years out of boxing, he was out 10-15 years. He noticed my final combat and I don’t consider he want to combat towards me.

“I feel he’s in search of somebody he can shine towards. He’ll select an opponent [that] he can present his talent and pace [against]. That’s OK, it’s an extended break, and after so lengthy you want any individual you present every thing [against] and really feel assured, not any individual who will punish you in all 12 rounds. That’s the reason he gained’t select me.”

The German isn’t getting forward of himself when it comes to his profession and is focusing solely on June 19.

“I’m simply going combat to combat,” Sturm admitted. “I’m 30 years in boxing. Hopefully every thing will probably be positive and there will probably be three or 4 extra fights, then I’ll step again for the youthful technology. I’m just like the final warrior right here in Germany.

“We now have just a few good children right here; they’ve expertise, we’d like some TV stations, we’d like streaming, we’d like one thing to present these guys the chance to indicate their expertise. Hopefully we will construct one thing up new with Universum Field Promotion, we’re companions and dealing on that. It’s necessary that I present efficiency.”

Kraft (19-0-1, 10 KOs) turned skilled in 2014. All however considered one of his fights has taken place in Germany, and though unbeaten, he has an eight-round draw towards Bernard Donfack on his document.

Sturm is eighteen years Kraft’s senior however he nonetheless represents a big step up in school for the youthful man.


Questions and/or feedback will be despatched to Anson at [email protected] and you may comply with him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright


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