Q&A: Juergen Braehmer
German light heavyweight Juergen Braehmer faces his compatriot, Konni Konrad, on Saturday in Dresden.
Braehmer (46-2, 35 knockouts) believes Konrad has several strengths, even surprisingly conceding the once-beaten challenger may be a bigger puncher than he is, though laces that with a warning.
“He often tries to bully his opponents, a very offensive-minded fighter, but he is also a well-schooled, with a good skillset,” Braehmer told RingTV.com last week through Thomas Schlabe of Sauerland Event. “I think that I have an advantage in terms of ring generalship. I might not hit as hard as him but I would brand myself as a sniper – if I hit my opponents in the right spot it’s most definitely nighty night.”
While Braehmer will be focused first and foremost on winning the all-German clash the question on many people‘s lips is, “Does he wish to face the other top men in the 175-pound division?”
“My promotional team reached out twice to the handlers of (Adonis) Stevenson,” the 36-year-old southpaw said. “I thought that this fight would be a given when I heard that money would not be an issue. I would have fought in Canada. But every time they negotiated with us suddenly there was another opponent and we were out. Personally, I think that they are just using my name and this is what bothers me.
“(Sergey) Kovalev, on the other side, is well occupied and we did not have a chance for serious negotiations until now. I think there is a good chance of both these fights happening in the future.”
The undercard of Braehmer-Konrad will feature a trio of cruiserweight fights: Mateusz Masternak vs. Carlos Ailton Nascimento, up-and-coming Noel Gevor meets Daniel Alejandro Sanabria and Agron Dzila faces Grigol Abuladze. Rising super middleweight prospects Stefan Haertel and Leon Bauer will also look to continue their development in short bouts.
RingTV.com – What are your thoughts on facing Konrad?
Juergen BraehmerÔÇÅ – It is business as usual. He wants my title and that is the chance of his life. As the champion I cannot take a step back but must prove why I am still on top.
(Note: Braehmer holds the WBA’s “World” title. THE RING recognizes Sergey Kovalev’s “Super World” belt as the true WBA 175-pound title.)
RTV – He doesn’t have a signature win, some would question if he deserves this opportunity. How would you answer them?
JB – Konrad is ranked by the WBA. This is a voluntary title defense. He might not have a signature win on his record but besides champions and ex-titleholders who has? If you don’t rate such guys like Konrad then you would isolate nearly all talents in boxing.
RTV – Tell us about your training camp for this fight?
JB – I first trained at home on my own, working on my stamina and physical condition. Five weeks ago, my trainer, Karsten Roewer, joined me for a more boxing-specific training regimen. For sparring, we then moved on to the Olympic Center in Kienbaum near Berlin. There, we focused on my explosiveness and anticipation skills.
RTV – In your last fight you beat your countryman, Robin Krasniqi. Tell us about that fight?
JB – I was sick twice for two weeks (each time). Therefore I wanted to start slow with a safety-first approach. But when I noticed that I still had a lot in the tank after seven rounds, I became more of the aggressor and let my hands go. I think I did pretty well, considering the circumstances.
RTV – You said to me before the Krasniqi fight, “He has that never-give-up mentality – that’s his biggest asset.” that must make forcing him to retire between rounds extra special?
JB – Of course it did. To have someone say “I quit” is the best feeling as a fighter – even better than a clean knockout.
RTV – The light heavyweight division is currently thriving, what are your thoughts on the division?
JB – It’s pretty crowded at the top and the best six guys could beat each other on any given night. There is also a lot of talent coming through the ranks. It is fun to be part of that.
RTV – If the opportunity was there to fight anyone who would you personally most like to fight?
JB – I do not have a favorite but Stevenson and Kovalev are the obvious choices, but only if both sides can profit from such a matchup, which means financial fair-play.
RTV – You share the gym with Tyron Zeuge and Enrico Koelling; do you feel German boxing is in good hands in the future?
JB – Tyron Zeuge is the biggest talent I ever stepped into the ring with and I am glad to be part of a team that guides him to the top. I am very proud of this fact. Enrico might be a few steps back, due to his diabetes diagnosis, but I see him playing a role in the light heavyweight division in years to come.
RTV – What goals in boxing do you still have?
JB – A unification would be great, but I am not a guy who chases such goals no matter what. When it happens – good. If not, I am still a happy man.
RTV – In closing, what is your message for Konrad?
JB – The truth lays inside the ring – so might you September 5th.
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