Felix Sturm Interview: “Daniel Geale is the most important and biggest fight for me”
By Anson Wainwright (Sept 1, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
The better part of a decade ago,
a young, undefeated German fighter headed for the bright lights of Las
Vegas to take part in the biggest fight of his young life. Felix Sturm
was less than a year removed from winning the WBO middleweight title and
was called upon to defend his title against living legend Oscar De la Hoya, who
was aiming to break records and make good on his promise of winning
world titles at six different weights. Many saw Sturm as a sacrificial
lamb designed for De la Hoya to achieve his unprecedented goal and set
up a super-fight with longtime middleweight ruler (and now partner in
Golden Boy Promotions) Bernard Hopkins. However, a few alarm bells rang
when a fleshy “Golden Boy” turned up for the weigh-in. As the fight got
underway, those bells rang louder and louder with many believing Sturm
won the fight. On this particular June night in 2004, the three people
who mattered most, namely judges Mike Glienna, Paul Smith and Dave
Moretti, all saw the fight for De la Hoya who claimed a razor-thin
115-113 decision on every card. Though disappointed, Sturm wasn’t
perturbed, winning four more fights over a near two-year stretch, setting
him up for a shot at the WBA 160-pound championship held by Maselino
Masoe. Though he was surprisingly stopped in his first defence against
former WBC light middleweight champion Javier Castillejo in July of
2006, it was to prove but a minor arbitration as he regained his old
crown in a rematch the following spring. Since then, he’s racked up 12
successful defences against the likes of future IBF champion Sebastian
Sylvester and British duo Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray. Many fans
believed his struggles with the latter two were a signal that the
33-year-old was on the wane; that proved unfounded as last time out,
Sturm scored a stoppage over Sebastian Zbik to take his overall ledger
to 37-2-2 (16). On the 1st September in Oberhausen, Sturm
looks to achieve his dream of a unification match when he meets Daniel
Geale of Australia with Geale’s IBF strap on the line. It promises to be
an exciting affair with huge ramifications in the middleweight division
which shows signs of returning to its heyday.
Here is a video to Sturm’s preparation before his previous fight, as produced by his own company.
Anson Wainwright - On the 1st September, you
meet IBF middleweight champion Daniel Geale in a title unification. What
are your thoughts and comments on that fight?
Felix Sturm - It’s the most important and biggest fight for
me. Unification is the best a boxer can do in his career. I always
promised and wanted to make unification and now this dream comes true.
AW - What do you think of Geale? What do you see as his strengths and weaknesses?
FS - Geale is a strong boxer with talent. He is world
champion with good reason. I will watch his fights and have to look
where his weaknesses are. And at the end, I will win.
AW - The WBA “regular” champion is Gennady Golovkin;
the WBA mandated you had to fight him next but you instead took
unification. What are your thoughts on Golovkin and is that a fight that
you see happening?
FS - Unification is always bigger. When the Golovkin fight
will come, it’s no problem for me. But we will see after the
unification. That’s my actual focus.
AW - What are your thoughts on the rest of the
middleweight division including the reigning champions, lineal champion
Sergio Martinez, the WBC’s Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and WBO champ Dmitry
FS - Both would be good fights. To see Golovkin doing his
first fight against a really good boxer would be interesting but this
fight is cancelled. But I also would like to see Chavez vs. Martinez.
AW - Could you tell us about your team and your
promotional firm? Though you are still very much in boxing, do you see
promoting as something you will do after your retire from boxing?
FS - Yes, of course. I have my own
promotion company called Sturm Box-Promotion and currently, we are
bringing up some new talented faces in boxing. But it’s too early to say
names. We plan three boxing events per year where I take part as
promoter exclusively and the other events, I still will take part as the
AW - People criticise German boxing and say that
there are some decisions that are given to the home fighter. However,
you fought in America back in 2004 and lost a fight to Oscar De la Hoya
that many people believe you won so you have seen things from the other
side. Could you talk about this? Does this stick with you and make you
think against fighting outside of Germany again?
FS - The De la Hoya fight is no problem for me anymore. I
would fight in America again but such decisions happen in every country
of the world, not only in Germany.
AW - You’ve fought many very good fighters. Who do
you consider the biggest puncher, best boxer, the toughest and the best
FS - In all facts, it was Oscar De la Hoya.
AW - You were born in Leverkusen and now live in nearby Cologne. Could you tell us about your earliest boxing memory?
FS - I have a very good memory of a moment
in my early youth. I was 11 years old and my school teacher asked me
after a poor result in a test, “Oh boy, what is going to become of
you?” Without thinking, I replied, “Boxing world champion!” A few days
before that, I had my first experience standing in a boxing ring that
was used by amateur boxers of Bayer Leverkusen. I was beaten badly but
on my way home, I swore to myself, “I want to be the best in boxing!”
AW - Could you tell us about yourself as a person and what you like to do away from boxing, your hobbies and interests?
FS - First of all, I like to spend time with my family. My
son is almost three years old. I like to play soccer and basketball with
my friends and family, go out and have a good time.
AW - Who was your boxing hero?
FS - Marvin Hagler.
AW – Finally, do you have a message for the middleweight division?
FS - I still have some great fights in my hands and we will see who is ready for this in the next years.
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