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Braehmer: "I want to get back to the top"

(Photo © Team Sauerland)
(Photo © Team Sauerland)


Several years ago, when Juergen Braehmer was still under the Universum promotional banner, he was dubbed “The Thousand-Year Talent” by his then-promoter, Klaus-Peter Kohl. Such lofty praise was always going to be very difficult to live up to. As things transpired, Braehmer, now 34, made a run as the WBO light heavyweight titlist for 18 months, making two title defences. However, trouble outside the ring was never far away; he was incarcerated in the early 2000s and out of boxing for three years before again finding himself on the wrong side of the law more recently. When he was still champion, Braehmer was due to meet Beibut Shumenov in a unification bout only for that to fall through late on. A few months later, he was scheduled to take on his mandatory challenger, Nathan Cleverly. Again, he was a no-show; this time, the WBO stripped Braehmer of his title. Many thought that might be the last we’d see of him. Thankfully, he’s managed to put those troubles behind him, switching his allegiance to German powerhouse Sauerland Event, winning two fights since returning and setting up a meeting with European champion Eduard Gutknecht on February 2nd next year that doubles up as a WBO eliminator. Currently, Braehmer is 38-2 with 30 inside-the-distance wins, ranked number nine by the WBA, 13 by the IBF, two by the WBO and eight by The Ring.


Anson Wainwright - You signed with German promotional company Sauerland Event. Could you tell us about that and how and why you joined them?
 
Juergen Braehmer - My previous promoter and I just didn’t get along anymore and I didn’t really see a good working relationship between them and myself. Now I am very fortunate to be working with Sauerland. They are the biggest and best partner a professional boxer can have. I am 100% confident that Sauerland will help me achieve my goals for the future.

AW - Do you know when you will next be in action?
 
JB - My next fight will be February 2. I will challenge Eduard Gutknecht for the European light heavyweight title at the Max Schmeling Halle in Berlin.

AW - As well as changing your promoter, you have also made a few other changes in your team. Could you tell us about them?
 
JB - I have a new trainer in Karsten Roewer. I know him very well from my amateur days. Back then, we were very successful and won several titles and championships together. I believe that this is the perfect foundation for a successful professional career.
 
AW - You have been out of the ring before your two comeback fights for around one-and-a-half years because of some legal affairs. Could you tell us about what happened?
 
JB - Me and my former promoter, Universum, had some contractual problems. They did not fulfill their part and hence I stopped fighting for them. Hence, I was stripped of the WBO title but I am a man of my word and expect the people I am dealing with to be too. If they are not, I cannot continue working with them.
 
AW - What are your thoughts on the current light heavyweight champions and who are you targeting?
 
JB - They are all great champions in my eyes. The light heavyweight division is one of the toughest and most competitive out there and therefore you have to be really strong in order to be a champion. Because there are so many great light heavyweights and especially in Germany, there are a lot of interesting fights out there at the moment and I am excited to be getting back into the mix.

AW - Unlike some fighters in Germany, you are German-born. Could you tell us about your younger days and how you became interested in boxing?
 
JB - I was always interested in sports. I started off with athletics but when I was 13 years old, my school got me into boxing. Immediately, I fell in love with the sport and stuck to it.
 
AW - You were a very good amateur. Could you tell us about your time as an amateur and what titles and tournaments you won?
 
JB - I won the Youth World Championship as a welterweight in 1996 in Cuba. In the same year, I became the welterweight champion of Germany as a youth. In 1997, I was the light heavyweight champion of Germany. As an amateur, I fought and won against some of the biggest names in boxing. I fought against Ricky Hatton twice. During our first fight, I knocked him out in round one. Our second bout ended in a KO victory after three rounds. I also won against Carl Froch and Felix Sturm.

AW - Could you tell us a little about yourself and what your hobbies and interests are?
 
JB - I love playing football (soccer) in my spare time. I always have done and always will do. I enjoy a lot of different sports. I like to go snowboarding during the winter and wakeboarding during the summer.
 
AW - You’re a former world champion; what future goals do you still have in boxing?
 
JB - Once you know what it feels like to be a world champion, you want that feeling again. I am no different. I want to get back to the top. That is the reason why I am boxing. No matter what I do, I always want to be the best and I am willing to do everything it takes. I want to prove it to myself that I can still do this.
 
AW - Who were your boxing heroes growing up and why?
 
JB - I never really had idols in the sense that I wanted to be just like them. I think every boxer has a very unique style of doing things and therefore you cannot just copy someone. But of course, there are boxers who I thought were or still are great at what they do. Roy Jones Jnr., for example. I remember watching some of his past fights and being mesmerized by his skill. I can also remember James Toney’s win over Evander Holyfield. That was one of the greatest fights of all time as well as Oscar De la Hoya vs. Julio Cesar Chavez. These are the kind of fights I want to be involved in. No one loses in such bouts and the biggest winners of them all are the fans.
 
AW – Finally, do you have a message for the light heavyweight division?
 
JB - All the top dogs in this division should be ready for me. I am prepared to do whatever it takes. The next two years will be pretty intense.
 
Questions and or comments can be sent to Anson at elraincoat@live.co.uk and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright. Anson is also a member of The Ring magazine’s ratings panel.
 
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