Monday, May 29, 2023  |



Former champ Felix Sturm hoping for new beginning against Szili in Dortmund

Photo by Friedemann Vogel/Bongarts/Getty Images
Fighters Network

Five-time world champion Felix Sturm will face Istvan Szili at the Westfalenhalle, Dortmund, Germany on Saturday.

Sturm, who won world titles at middleweight and super middleweight, believes this fight will play a significant role in again establishing boxing in his homeland.

“I’m glad to have the opportunity, together with Ludger Inholte and LIB Boxpromotion, to bring big time boxing back to Germany,” Sturm (42-5-3, 18 knockouts) told The Ring. “It’s been way too long since we had the last blockbuster boxing event over here. My fight against Szili on March 26 is just the beginning, we have many more things in store and we are here to stay.”

Sturm expects his Hungarian-born opponent to bring out the best in him.

“Szili is a strong fighter, very aggressive,” said the veteran. “I think he’ll go all-in from the opening bell and throw everything he’s got at me. He is a physical fighter more than he is a boxer.

“Let’s face it, it’s the chance of a lifetime for him. He’s fighting a five-time world champion and if he wins, he’ll get a title shot himself. But I’ll be prepared for all he has to offer. He has his strengths, but like all fighters, he also has his weaknesses. We are focused on them and on how to exploit them. I will do just that and beat him.”

The 43-year-old, who has been a professional since 2001, says he trains smarter now than during his prime years.

“With all my experience, I know when to train as hard and when to rest,” he explained. “I know my body and I know how it responds to the work I do. The trick is to train hard, but smart.

“I’m doing most of training at my own gym in Cologne with my head coach and friend Maurice Weber. I really click with Mo. We’ve been friends for 30 years, so we know and understand each other. But make no mistake, the friendship does not interfere with our work. He’s a great trainer and I’m still learning new things on a daily basis.

“I started my strength and conditioning program with Chris Mohr in January and once the first bell rings, I’ll have five weeks of sparring under my belt. I’m training twice a day now and I’m loving it. It feels great to be in the gym with Mo and the other LIB athletes on a daily basis.

“I feel great, I feel fit, I feel ready. All the people in the arena and in front of their televisions will witness that.”

Having achieved what he has, most fighters would have walked off into the sunset to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

However, Sturm still feels he can box at a high level and add to his already successful career.

“Honestly, I think age is just a number,” he said. “I love the sport of boxing and I want to win a sixth world title. That’s my goal. It doesn’t matter to me if I’m 23 or 43, I don’t even think about that.

“If I wake up one day and notice that something is off, if my body doesn’t respond to the training like it should, or if I just don’t feel the motivation anymore, then it’s time to think about my next step. But right now, all I can think about is my next fight.

“My speed is still there, my stamina is still there, my reflexes are still there. As long as that doesn’t change, I don’t really care about how old I am.”

That’s not to say Sturm doesn’t have plans outside the ring. He recently announced a new partnership Ludger Inholte of LIB Boxpromotion.

“[Inholte’s] been a lifelong boxing fan and a successful business man,” said Sturm. “When he tells you he’ll do something, he does it – he’s a true man of his word. I don’t think anyone else could’ve built what he did with LIB Boxpromotion in such a quick timeframe.

“Short term, our plan is, of course, to win my sixth world title. In the long run, though, Ludger wants to establish LIB Boxpromotion as the premier boxing promoter in Germany and Europe. The goal is to bring boxing back to its former glory, to excite the public about our sport again.

“Ludger is not in it for the money, he truly wants to help boxing get back on its feet. With that mindset, you can do everything you set out to do. And once my career is over, I will assist him in developing young and talented fighters. We already have some great prospects in our gym and we feel that all of them have the potential to reach European or even world level. Make no mistake, LIB Boxpromotion is here to stay.”

Szili turned professional in 2009. He won his first 17 outings largely in his adopted home of Switzerland and also back in Hungary. He drew back-to-back fights, the latter to reigning European middleweight champion Matteo Signani.

The now 39-year-old was blasted out by one-time prospect Antoine Douglas (TKO 3) and Nuhu Lawal (KO 6) but has returned with six wins, notably edging past Jayde Mitchell (SD 10) in Australia, in 2020. Szili sports a 25-2-2 (14 KOs) record.


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