By Geoff Poundes
On Saturday night at the Sport and Congress Centre in Mecklenburg, Germany the WBA super-middleweight title is on the line. Champion, and hometown boy, Karoly Balzsay, defends the title he won last August against Kazakhstan-born Dimitri Sartisan.
In the talent-laden 168 pound division, this is a world title fight that may have escaped notice – but on paper the two combatants have decent records and a bit of pedigree. Sartisan held the WBA title in 2010, and has only lost once in thirty contests, and that to a prime Mikkel Kessler back in 2008 when he took the great Dane into the twelfth round before coming unstuck.
Balzsay’s slate, 24-2, 17 KO’s, marks him out as something of a puncher, and he’s mixed in good company, holding the WBO title briefly in 2009 when he was relieved of it by still-champion Robert Steiglitz.
This will be a competitive fight and the winner will have plenty of options now that Andre Ward looks like he may be preparing to leave the division behind and move up to 175 pounds.
The decent undercard includes Juergen Braehmer’s continued rehabilitation as he seeks to put his recent troubles further behind him after being forced to relinquish his WBO light-heavyweight title last year. Barehmer, 37-2, 30 KO’s, won well in January against tough journeyman Jose Maria Guerrero in four rounds, and on Saturday he pitches up against Namibian Vikapita Meroro, 21-3, 9 KO’s. Meroro’s record is all padding, however, and this is strictly an outing to keep Braehmer ticking over as he tries to regain his former status.
Also fighting is Ruslan Chagaev, the former WBA heavyweight champion, who takes on American Billy Zumbrun. The thirty-nine year old Zumbrun, 25-12, 15 KO’s, has made a career of getting beaten up by name heavyweights, and Chagaev, 28-2, 17 KO’s, should easily continue that trend.