It’s been a successful first half of
2012 for German-based Kazakhstani Eduard Gutknecht; the 30-year-old has twice defended
his European light heavyweight crown, beating former world title challenger
Vyacheslav Uzelkov on points in early February. A quick turnaround saw him
fight unheralded Frenchman Tony Averlant and though “Eddy” won, it was via
close split decision. So far in a six-year pro career (after a solid amateur
career), he’s posted a record of 24-1 (9), the lone reverse in a world title
fight at super middleweight when he came up short, losing a wide decision to
current WBO kingpin Robert Stieglitz back in 2010. After struggling to make 168,
Gutknecht decided to embark on a new challenge up at 175. So far he’s won all
six fights including three defences of his EBU crown. While he’s happy to
defend his European title, he has aspirations of challenging for another world
championship in the future which may not be too far off. Currently, he’s ranked
in the top 10 by all four major sanctioning bodies, three by the WBC, four by
the WBA and the IBF and six by the WBO.
Anson Wainwright - You retained your European light heavyweight title, outpointing Tony
Averlant at the end of March. It
was probably a little closer than you’d have liked. Can you tell us about the
fight and perhaps why it was so close?
Gutknecht - Obviously, the fight did not go as smoothly
as I would have liked but I wouldn’t mind fighting against him again if all parties involved
can find an agreement.
AW - You’ve
been very active in 2012, retaining your European title twice. What are your
plans for the rest of this year? When do you hope to be box next?
EG - I want to defend my title as often as I can. The amount of fights
also depends on my promoter. Hopefully, I will also challenge for a world title
in the future.
AW - You
fought your entire career at super middleweight until you lost to Robert
Stieglitz in 2010. Since then, you have moved up to light heavyweight. Why did
you decide to move up in weight and how do you feel this has helped you?
EG - I felt a bit weight-drained and was not able to live up to my full
potential. Now at light heavyweight, I feel great and, physically, I am at my
AW - Could
you tell us about your team?
EG - My promoter is Sauerland Event and my Coach is Ulli Wegner. I either
train in a gym in my hometown of Gifhorn or in Berlin at the Max-Schmeling-Gym.
AW - As
the reigning European champion with three successful defences behind you, I’m
sure you have your eye on the world stage. What are your thoughts on the
current world champions, the WBC’s Chad Dawson, the WBA’s Beibut Shumenov, the IBF’s
Tavoris Cloud and the WBO’s Nathan Cleverly?
EG - They all are great champions. I already fought Shumenov at amateur level
and won against him. I would like to do that again now that we both are pros.
Chad Dawson is obviously a tough opponent but also beatable. I’m aiming to get
myself up in the rankings of the four main associations and to become the
mandatory challenger for a world title. But maybe one of them wants to face off
with me earlier than that.
AW - In
your career to date, what do you consider to be your best performance and why?
EG - My best performance is yet to come.
AW - You
were born in Dzhetysai, Kazakhstan. Could you tell us about your younger days
growing up there? Were things hard for you and your family?
EG - I was only 13 when we moved away. It must have been hard for my parents
but I would say that I had a good childhood over there.
AW - How
did you first become interested in boxing?
EG - I started boxing after we moved to Germany. For me, it was a helpful
tool to settle in into a new country. The real passion and desire for the sport
came after I watched the fight between Axel Schulz and Francois Botha [in
December 1995 for the vacant IBF heavyweight title].
AW - Could you tell us about
your amateur career?
EG - My amateur career was quite good, reaching the finals of the Youth World
Championship back in 2000. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the Olympics. I
won against Shumenov and [Gennady] Golovkin. My record stands at 124
victories out of 157 fights.
AW - Could
you tell us a little about yourself as a person and what you enjoy doing away
EG - I am qualified as an industrial mechanic and currently, I am studying
for a degree in health management. I also enjoy supporting clubs in which
family members participate. Apart of that, I love spending time with my two
kids. I am a real family-orientated person.
AW - What fighters did you look up to growing up and who do
you like to watch today?
EG - My idols are Roy Jones Jr., Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield as well as
Muhammad Ali. I really enjoy watching old videos of [Ali’s] fights. Nowadays, I
am always supporting my friend, Golovkin but, in general, I enjoy watching all the big fights and I respect everybody
who is a professional boxer.
AW - In
closing, do you have a message for the light heavyweight division?
EG - I will take on everybody who is in the way between me and the world