According to German newspaper Bild, Felix Sturm will challenge Fedor Chudinov for his WBA Interim Super middleweight title on May 9 in Frankfurt, Germany. The 27-year old Russian, who is undefeated in twelve professional bouts, won the title last December when he knocked out Australian’s Ben McCulloch cold in the second round.
This move is coming as a big surprise. After Arthur Abraham had taken care of Paul Smith Jr. last Saturday, a fight between the two domestic rivals seemed inevitable. Both fighters have declared their interest in the fight, which would be the German version of Mayweather-Pacquiao, on numerous occasions. Both fighters had no fight scheduled. And with Sauerland’s new TV deal with Sat1, both fighters are fighting on the same network.
It could be that the 36-year old fighter is trying to position himself better in the negotiations by picking up a world title. Abraham holds a title while Sturm doesn’t. And Abraham appears to be the more popular fighter of the two these days. While Sturm did slightly less than three million viewers in his last few fights, Abraham’s title defense last Saturday had over four million viewers in Germany.
The interim and regular versions of the WBA might not mean much in the eyes of the boxing fans, in Germany it will be seen as a legitimate world title. Which would make Abraham-Sturm a unification bout, and therefore even bigger.
But if that is the plan, Sturm is taking a big gamble in my opinion. Chudinov might be very inexperienced. His power and his boxing skills looked tremendous in his previous bouts. And if the Russian pulls off the upset, the super fight along with the career of the 36-year old fighter is in jeopardy.
Sturm, who holds a record of 39-4-3 with 19KO’s, made his debut at super middleweight last November when he fought another countryman, Robert Stieglitz, to a draw. Most ring observers, including ThaBoxingVoice.com, felt the German of Bosnian descent did enough to earn the victory.