By Gavan Casey
If you delve deep enough, you may discover Max Baer’s destruction of Nazi-affiliated compatriot Max Schmelling in 1933 was the inspiration behind Eli Roth’s character in Inglourious Basterds, ‘The Bear Jew.’ History’s second most culturally significant boxing affair involving a German fighter sent considerable shockwaves throughout both Jewish and Aryan sides of the impending hostility, along with the boxing world. It was a stand-alone encounter for the ages; German boxing’s original ‘Klassiker.’
Fast forward seventy odd years, and with the Klitschko-driven boxing movement thriving financially across the country, Germany has played host to a number of boxing ‘civil wars’ since the turn of the decade- not least Felix Sturm’s respectively riveting battles with Sebastian Zbik and Robert Stieglitz. On Saturday night, the north-eastern city of Rostock will be centre stage for another all-Deutsch barn-burner, as 45-2(33 KOs) Jürgen Brähmer seeks to defend a secondary world light heavyweight title against 43-3(16 KOs) Robin Krasniqi. The WBA title on the line is purely circumstantial; this fight is about national bragging rights.
Brähmer, 36, will look to continue his recent renaissance following his 55 second knockout of Pawel Glazewski last December- the new record for a sanctioned light-heavyweight title fight. An impressive victory catapults Saturday’s home fighter into the upper echelon of what is emerging as boxing’s surprise glamour division; oft-maligned for never leaving his homeland to fight, whether the powerful southpaw would then follow in Joe Calzaghe’s footsteps and make a late dash for continental America, where potential showdowns with Adonis Stevenson and Sergiy Kovalev might await, remains to be seen.
Nine years his junior, Krasniqi – who originally hails from Kosovo – has never been stopped, and will seek to prove his near shutout defeat to Nathan Cleverly in 2013 was a mere learning curve. Travelling to the lion’s on Saturday night should no longer phase him, and the rangy stylist has notched four straight victories since his humbling at Wembley Arena. Now residing in Munich, Krasniqi is the quicker of the two fighters- but will need to rely on his sharp jab to keep his more powerful opponent off and partially silence the 2,200 partisan fans in the StadtHalle this Saturday.
Southpaw versus orthodox. Power-puncher versus boxer. German vs German. It should be purely gladiatorial.
Brähmer versus Krasniqi is live on Sky Sports 1 from 10pm tonight.
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