Super middleweight titlist Arthur Abraham and challenger Nikola Sjekloca met head-to-head on Tuesday at the kickoff news conference for their May 3 fight at the Velodrom in Berlin, Germany, and here’s some of what they had to say:
• Sjekloca: "I am going to dethrone the 'King' Arthur and take his title away. Last year, I had a competitive fight against Sakio Bika, who went on to win the WBC belt. Now I want to win the WBO title and unify against Bika in a rematch. I do not underestimate Abraham as I have followed his career since he had his first world championship fight. I studied his style in detail and know how to beat him."
• Abraham: "To study my style by watching videos is one thing, to step into the ring against me the other. I am leaving for training camp [Wednesday] morning. I know for a fact that my coach Ulli Wegner will come up with the right game plan for me to be victorious on May 3. I am really looking forward to defend the WBO world championship in my hometown of Berlin."
Abraham (39-4, 28 KOs) regained his belt on March 1, winning a split decision against rival Robert Stieglitz in Stieglitz’s hometown of Magdeburg, Germany in the rubber match of their trilogy. The win was Abraham’s third in a row since being knocked out by Stieglitz in the fourth round of their second fight in March 2013.
Sjekloca (26-1, 8 KOs), of Montenegro, came to the United States and faced Bika in a title elimination fight in February 2013 and lost a near-shutout decision. Bika went on to win a version of the 168-pound world title while Sjekloca rebounded to score a second-round knockout against sub-.500 opponent Misa Nikolic in Montenegro in August.