Glynn Evans pinpoints a fistful of factors why fight buffs should tune into this weekend’s WBA Super-Middleweight showdown from Germany.
1) Marvel at Chudinov’s Menace
Several in the 168lb division are neater and more fluid but, since the departure of iron man Carl Froch, you’ll struggle to locate anyone rougher or tougher than ‘The Machine’ from Bratsk, south central Russia.
A man of few words and fewer smiles, the 28 year old is a bull strong, immoveable force who throws every shot with malicious intent; a suffocating pressure fighter who is a master at closing range and systematically pounding his foe into submission.
Unbeaten in 14, ten victims have faltered early. Australia’s Ben McCullough was left snoozing for five minutes after walking onto a Chudinov right hand during an interim title in late 2014.
And he has a similarly uncompromising mindset. Half of his seven victories were obtained outside his homeland and he was utterly unfazed defending before 10,000 screaming Frankfurters against Sturm or confronting Frank Buglioni’s manic mob at Wembley in October. One seriously hard operator.
2) Savour Sturm’s Skill and Savvy
Challenger Sturm might use the ring moniker ‘The Fighter’ but in reality he is a slick and stylish technician, albeit with a frightening punch output.
Now 37, he has been honing his craft since the age of 11 and, under his birth name of Adnan Catic, he snared European amateur titles at both junior and senior level. Not too many brawlers bag those! Participation at the 1999 World Seniors and 2000 Sydney Olympic Games indicates a high level of technical competence. He once outboxed Oscar De La Hoya, remember.
He has been competing at professional world championship level since September 2003 and you don’t survive and thrive among the elite for that long without acquiring the smarts to look after yourself.
Seldom operating outside his native Germany, Sturm has the nous to explode volleys in the final half minute of a round to court favour with ‘obliging’ officials.
3) Enjoy the Mesh of Styles
The principles contrasting qualities blended to produce a very watchable first encounter. Though Sturm is winless since his December 2013 two round rout of an injury compromised Darren Barker, he was commonly perceived to get the rough end of his November 2014 draw with Robert Stieglitz and the judges were split following his first spat with Chudinov.
In the past the German has struggled with slippery types but Komrade Fedor certainly doesn’t fit into that bracket. At 5ft 11 ½ in tall, he is significantly bigger and technically smoother. He will hope to counter the champion’s youth and endeavour through his edges in experience and intelligence.
But one senses the patient, persistent Chudinov is blessed with the worst possible attributes for an aging fighter to overcome. His jolting jab should permit him to stay competitive early doors, before he gathers a real head of steam after the turn. Will Sturm have enough points in the bank and enough gas in the tank to repel him?
4) Witness Sturm Attempt to Make History
Already the only German to win four world titles at the same weight, Sturm now endeavours to become the nation’s first ever five time world champion by annexing the WBA Super-Middle strap in what will be his 23rd world championship fight.
He was first decorated in September 2003 when, aged 24, he replaced compatriot Bert Schenk at short notice to nail the WBO middle belt from Argentina’s Hector Velazco (pts12). Twice he added the WBA bauble – upgraded to Super champion in 2010 – prior to entering the record annuls by slaughtering Barker for the IBF honour 26 months ago.
The Bosnian descendant attracts an uncharacteristically buoyant German following and the 12,650 capacity Koenig Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen – barely an hour from his base in Cologne – is expected to be rammed and raucous as he attempts to create history.
Victory would pave the way for a hugely lucrative unification showdown with Berlin’s WBO counterpart ‘King Arthur’ Abraham.
5) Bring on the Brits
Since the inauguration of the division in 1984, these isles have always represented strongly with a roster of world champions that includes Benn, Eubank, Calzaghe and Froch.
And whoever prevails on Saturday can expect a long line of eager challengers from among the home guard. Reigning IBF boss James DeGale will no doubt have an eye on unification while the likes of Callum Smith, George Groves, Martin Murray and Jamie Cox all feature in the present world rankings. Commonwealth king Luke Blackledge also merits contention.
Expect all to undertake a spot of reconnaissance by tuning into BoxNation’s live coverage this weekend.