Woge v Hafner and Dirks v Ulrich added to May 5 bill headlined by Huck v Afolabi

24 Apr

On The Beak – Admin

Robert Woge (8-0-0, 7ko) will face his next challenge on Saturday, May 5 at the Messehalle in Erfurt. Further to the three boxing highlights of Marco Huck’s WBO cruiserweight title defense, Robert Stieglitz’s mandatory defense of his super-middleweight belt and the bout for the vacant European heavyweight title between Kubrat Pulev and Alexander Dimitrenko, Robert Woge will take on his ninth opponent; Hungarian light heavy southpaw Ferenc Hafner (12-0-0, 9ko).

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The Erfurt card is headlined by Ola and Marco. Credit: Team Sauerland

Hafner is currently unbeaten in his twelve fights as a professional, ending nine of the bouts early. The fight in Erfurt is a special occasion for the Bernburg-born Woge: “A lot of my friends will be there to support me. This is like a fight on home soil. I want to shine on the night.”

He certainly did during his last bout. The last man who fell victim to Woge was Carl Dilks on March 31 in Kiel.

Dilks got knocked down twice before the referee had to end the contest. “I am where I want to be,” said the German afterwards. “I was really nervous during my first outing at a Sauerland show back in October 2010. But that is definitely a thing of the past. I have arrived and it is going really well now.”

And so it should be. In Hafner, Woge is facing a previously undefeated professional: “I am taking him quite lightly. It was the same thing before the last match-up. I am always sparring against top quality opponents, therefore I can take on the next challenge in a relaxed manner,” said the resident of Halle an der Saale, in a calm manner. He then continued: “Of course it is tough to break the will of an opponent who is undefeated. But I am ready for the challenge. I only took four or five days off after my last fight. After that I immediately continued with the preparations for this fight. I am in great shape.”

The fact that his Hungarian opponent is a southpaw does not bother the prodigy of coach Ulli Wegner: “Actually I always did really well against southpaws during my amateur days,” the light-heavyweight explained. “I haven’t fought against one on a professional level but the Italian Roberto Cocco, who I faced last February, changed his style during the fight. That did not matter to me at all. In contrary, I still won against him early in round seven.”


Ulrich represents a step up in class for Dirks (left)

Another exciting match-up is on the cards on May 5 in Erfurt as 175lbers Dustin Dirks and Thomas Ulrich, both from Germany, will square off in the Messehalle. Dirks is undefeated, having won all of his previous 23 fights (17 by way of knockout).

Ulrich on the other hand, surprisingly lost his last bout back in April 2011 against the Lithuanian Sergej Razvadovskij. The record of the former European Champion stands at 32 victories (22 by way of knockout) to six losses.

The fight in the Messehalle will determine who will play a bigger role in the future of the light-heavyweight division.

Up until now the bout has been ill-omened. The fight has already been rescheduled twice. The first time, Thomas Ulrich had to cancel the bout scheduled for January 14. During his training camp, the former European champion broke his left eye socket while sparring in the ring: “It was a fracture to my orbital cavity,” he said. “It looked worse than it actually was. But of course I was not able to step into the ring. Fortunately, I did not have to rest too much and I was able to continue with my running training,” Ulrich reminisced.

A lot is on the line for the 36-year-old. The former world title challenger and previous European champion knows that he will have a strong opposition in Dirks: “He is a tough kid, maybe even the rising star in the division,” said the boxer of coach Ali Yildirim. “If I manage to access only 80 percent of my abilities, it could be enough for a strong guy such as Dirks is.”

Coach Yildirim is just as confident as his boxer: “In my opinion, Thomas is still a natural. If he just keeps boxing and his head is right, he can challenge the very best the sport has to offer.”

Dustin Dirks is not underestimating his opponent. The prodigy of coach Otto Ramin had to pass on the second date of the fight scheduled for March 31 in Kiel: “It started off with a flu. Then I was head-butted during sparring and had a bruise. I had a huge headache. And it turned out that I also had a dislocation of a vertebra in my neck. Now I am fine and look forward to taking on Thomas Ulrich. I have never faced such a strong opponent,” Dirks said.

Although both men are from Berlin and both are signed to the same team, it is not about the prestige. “I treat every opponent the same way and with the same level of respect. Therefore it is a fight like any other. Some people may say that he is past his peak but I have to be prepared for every eventuality.

“He probably just had a bad day during his last fight. It could be a whole different thing when he squares off with me. Ulrich is very agile. He is also capable off throwing some fast punches. For both of us this fight will determine where we stand.”

As both Berlin-based men are in full training mode, the bout scheduled for May 5 should go ahead as planned and third time hopefully is the charm.

The night of boxing in Erfurt also offers some more world-class fights: former heavyweight world title challenger Marco Huck (34-2-0, 25ko) returns to 200lbs to defend his WBO cruiserweight belt against mandatory challenger and interim champion Ola Afolabi (19-2-3, 9ko).

Super middleweight star Robert Stieglitz (41-2, 23ko) also puts his belt on the line on the same night. The boxing fans can also look forward to a heavyweight title fight when Kubrat Pulev (15-0, 7ko) and Alexander Dimitrenko (32-1, 21ko) will battle it out for the vacant European championship.

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