Vincent Feigenbutz on brink of world title opportunity
Vincent Feigenbutz (19-1, 18 KO) doesn’t appear to be the most patient of men. After making his debut at the age of 16, the German super-middleweight is rapidly closing in on his first world title fight, despite not turning 20 until September.
Fighting his way to the top
The German has been vocal about his desire to take the shortest route possible to a world title shot, and in a sport sometimes mired by boxing politics, the Karlsruhe fighter seems to be cut from a refreshing brand of fan-friendly cloth.
Over the past twelve months, Feigenbutz has been making steady progress through the rankings, particularly with the WBO. Currently ranked at number 3 by the organisation, his successful campaigns for the interim and vacant WBO Inter-Continental titles have maneuvered the 19-year-old into sight of a bout against stablemate and WBO super-middleweight champion, Arthur Abraham.
Yet the developments of the past couple of months have called for a rethink from his promotional banner, Sauerland Promotions, who despite having long shared Feigenbutz’s confidence in his own ability, have plotted a fresh course for the young German. Feigenbutz is scheduled to face Mauricio Reynoso (15-1-1, 11 KOs) for the WBA ‘interim’ super-middleweight title on July 18th, a bout that will feature as chief support for Abraham’s fourth meeting with domestic rival Robert Stieglitz in Halle, Germany.
This ‘lane change’ will come as no surprise to followers of German boxing. The winner will become the new mandatory challenger for the WBA ‘regular’ super-middleweight title, a belt currently held by Fedor Chudinov. The Russian makes the first defence of his title against Frank Buglioni at the SSE Arena in London on July 24th, with a subsequent mandatory challenge for the winner scheduled next.
The origins of this move were founded a couple of months ago, when Chudinov defeated another Sauerland fighter, Felix Sturm, for the then vacant WBA title in Frankfurt, Germany.
In the aftermath of that bout, Kalle Sauerland gave a post-fight interview to Seconds Out, in which he intimated his desire to arrange a bout between Chudinov and one of Feigenbutz or Tyron Zeuge, another young super-middleweight in his stable.
Options a plenty
With Sauerland Promotions representing Feigenbutz, Zeuge and WBO champion, Arthur Abraham, targeting Chudinov and his belt became the quickest and most commercially sensible option for one of his two young super-middleweights.
On paper this has the potential to be an intriguing contest. As far as the WBA are concerned, this is a fight that matches their No.7 (Feigenbutz) and No.8 (Reynoso) ranked fighters. However the reality is quite different. Reynoso’s ranking is extraordinarily generous, others may say ridiculous, for a fighter who has boxed only once since December 2012. His last outing, earlier this year, ended in a four round unanimous decision over Mariano Jose Riva, an Argentinian who entered the ring with a record of 11 wins and 5 defeats.
A more fitting reading of this fight can be gauged from Boxrec’s website, the independent online boxing database. The site ranks Feigenbutz at number 26 in their super-middleweight rankings, whilst Reynoso, largely one suspects due to inactivity, places at a lowly 282.
Yet whilst these are numbers that will hardly excite the neutral, there is rightly an element of interest in this contest, and not just solely because of the ‘interim’ title on the line.
Standing just over 5’10” (179 cm), Feigenbutz is a relatively small super-middleweight. His last fight against the Hungarian, Balasz Kelemen, may have ended in a 9th round TKO win for the German, but Feigenbutz was posed some intriguing problems against the plus 6’2” (189 cm) 36-year-old. The Hungarian’s long, rangy jab kept Feigenbutz at length during large parts of the fight, and the German had trouble working his way inside and launching his attacks with the same ferociousness he normally does.
As another fighter who stands over six feet tall, Reynoso should pose Feigenbutz similar problems. If the Peruvian can move well and control the range with his jab, it will be interesting to see how much the German has learnt and improved from his previous encounter, offering what should be a good examination of Feigenbutz’s ring intelligence.
Whilst the 19-year-old’s come forward approach is enjoyable to watch, he does have a tendency to leave himself open to the counter punch when he winds up with his shots. With a record of 11 knockouts from 17 fights, Reynoso is hardly pillow fisted, and will look to give the Feigenbutz chin its’ first solid test run.
SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) Analysis
Failing that Feigenbutz has all qualities to be expected in a young, developing talent. He has a good engine, excellent footwork and his punches carry a real snap. His defence is generally very good and his ability to slip punches is particularly eye catching. He looks tremendous when he puts his punches together, attacking with ferocious combinations to both head and body from a variety of angles, though at times his insistence to lead with a wide left hook means that he can be vulnerable to the counter, and as a result he does take more clean shots than he should.
Whilst there is much to admire about Feigenbutz, there are some weaknesses that he may need to work on. His management of fights and general ring intelligence is certainly an area in which he could improve, namely, how he goes about his work in terms of breaking down opponents with challenging and contrasting styles. Though it seems harsh to criticise a young fighter for something that will come naturally with experience, the fact that Feigenbutz is approaching world title level means that he will subsequently be judged as such, and a world title fight is hardly the ideal time to still be learning your trade.
Whether this is an opportunity that has perhaps arrived a touch too soon for Feigenbutz remains to be seen, or equally, whether his immense talent will be sufficient to see him through. All told this is a fight that Feigenbutz will be desperate to win, preferably whilst looking good. Having spent plenty of time pining for a world title shot, the opportunity that he has been waiting for now lies before him.
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