In February 2013, Juergen Braehmer won a unanimous decision and the European light heavyweight title from Eduard Gutknecht.
They meet in a rematch -- this time for much bigger stakes -- on Saturday at the Jahnsportforum in Neubrandenburg, Germany.
Braehmer will be making the sixth defense of his secondary 175-pound world title when he faces Gutknecht again after outpointing him on scores of 117-110, 116-111 and 114-113 the first time around. Braehmer, (47-2, 35 KOs), a 37-year-old southpaw from Germany, is confident he will triumph again.
“There was a lot of uncertainty before our first fight,” Braehmer said. “I was returning after almost a year out of the ring and I didn’t know how much I still had in the tank. A lot of people wanted to write me off and there was a lot of pressure on me to perform. But that night I proved my potential, and not only did the win lead me to a shot at the world title, it also allowed me to prove, to myself and to the fans, that I still had a lot to give.
“This time I will be going into the ring full of confidence. I know what I’m capable of and I believe I’m a better fighter now than I was three years ago, but I’m not sure the same can be said of Gutknecht. He’s a good fighter and he deserves his shot, but I’m the world champion and no one is going to take my title from me.”
Gutknecht is getting the shot at Braehmer because original opponent, South Africa’s Thomas Oosthuizen (25-0-2, 14 KOs), pulled out last month because, according to Rodney Berman, his promoter, he is dealing with a drinking problem that left him unable to train.
Gutknecht (29-3-1, 12 KOs), 33, a native of Kazakhstan living in Germany, is excited about the opportunity to avenge the defeat and claim a title.
“I know I didn’t lose out first fight,” he said. “Juergen Braehmer didn’t beat me. The belt was taken from me by the judges. But this time I will leave the decision in no doubt. This opportunity has come at the perfect time for me and I couldn’t be more motivated.
“I don’t believe Braehmer has improved since our last fight. He’s 37 years old so I can’t see how this is possible. Of course, he’s a good fighter but he’s on the decline and his stamina is gone. I think if Juergen and his coach look at my best performances and compare it to his recent fights even they must know the truth.
“I’m at the stage of my career where there can be no more excuses. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I know I have what it takes to win this fight, and on Saturday, I will prove that Braehmer’s time is over and I will be crowned world champion.”