Ulf Steinforth tells Danny Flexen what makes Tom Schwarz, who is the next opponent for Tyson Fury, stand out from the crowd
Ulf Steinforth is an seasoned boxing man, he will not give much away. The manager, promoter and head of Hamburg’s SES Boxing is something of a heavyweight power-broker these days, looking after unbeaten pair Agit Kabayel, the current European champion, and Tom Schwarz, the 24-0 (16) giant who is the next opponent for a Tyson Fury coming off his heroic and contentious draw with WBC champion Deontay Wilder in December.
Unsurpisingly, Steinforth is initially frosty on the phone in April - probably contemplating firing whoever gave me his mobile number - but, once reassured I’m not expecting any confirmation of the Fury matchup, gradually warms up. He is clearly proud of Schwarz and the job SES have done with the 6ft 5 1/2in 24-year-old.
"He’s a smart guy, very ambitious," Steinforth told me in impressive English (far better than my nonexistent German). "He shows his skills, not only in the ring but also in his PR work, the outfits he wears and so on. He is still very young for a heavyweight, but he’s a great prospect. We have worked with him for more than five years; he came to us at 18, and he’s now world ranked with most of the governing bodies. Even at 18, he was very quick on his feet, and we could see he had skills unlike most heavyweights."
An official announcement regarding the next fight for former unified champion Fury will be made this Saturday during Top Rank’s ESPN televised card from California, but ESPN Deportes initially reported that Schwarz was the front-runner and only final details remain to be confirmed. Steinforth would not be drawn on that but admitted SES are looking to progress their man.
"His next fight will be announced in the next week," stated the cagey veteran. "He’s a young, dangerous heavyweight, with no losses, the WBO Inter-Continental champion and one of the Germans coming up with SES, the same as Kabayel; we are in a strong position in the division. We must be ambitious for a world championship fight in the coming years, but he is being built very calmly, step by step, the same as we build up all our fighters."