It will be the moment of truth for two German heavyweights on Saturday, Dec. 4. When European champion Luan Krasniqi is defending his title against Timo Hoffmann at Estrel Convention Center in Berlin the winner is hoping for a world title shot in 2005.
„If Luan wins on Saturday he will move up the rankings of the sanctioning bodies. This could get him a world title shot in the near future”, promoter Klaus-Peter Kohl said.
Krasniqi is currently ranked WBC #11, WBO #7 and WBA #15. The independent rankings of Fightnews.com display him on #11 – directly behind recent world title challengers Jameel McCline and Andrew Golota and future world title challenger Danny Williams.
“I don’t have to be shy of any other havyweight in the world”, Krasniqi, 27-1 (13), said. “I’m skilful enough to compete with anybody, no matter if it’s Ruiz, Byrd, Brewster or the Klitschkos.”
Luan Krasniqi, a very successful amateur, beat Wladimir Klitschko in the 1995 amateur world championships in Berlin and had several hot tempered and competitive sparring fights with Vitali Klitschko while they were stable mates in Hamburg between 2001 and 2003.
Krasniqi turned pro in 1997 for Panix Promotion in England and is fighting for Germany’s Universum Box-Promotion since 2001. On February 14, 2004, he became European champion for the second time when he defeated title holder Sinan Samil Sam with a twelve round decision. On July 31 he defended his crown by stopping German rival Rene Monse in seven rounds.
The fight on Saturday against the hulking 6-foot-7 Hoffmann will be Krasniqi’s second title defense.
“Timo has a a strong defensive that is a bit hard to penetrate”, Krasniqi said who won seven fights straight since suffering his single career loss. “He’s also throwing a solid jab. But I’m the one with the much better overall skills. I can handle him.“
Timo Hoffmann, 31-3 (18), in contrast to Krasniqi, didn’t give a lot of credit to his upcoming opponent.
“I’ve never seen any skills from Luan Krasniqi”, Hoffmann pretended provocatively. “He’s fighting like an amateur. It will be easy for me to defeat him. He is just a stepping stone for me. I’m good enough to become world champion.”
“Sometimes I really have to smile about the things that Timo is saying”, Krasniqi commented. “Very often he is just opening his mouth and says something. But what he says makes no sense. He can’t back it up with anything. We all know the way Timo Hoffmann is fighting. And it’s definitely not like Muhammad Ali.”
In fact the showy Hoffmann made his own credibility and objectivity look very questionable when he recently pretended that WBC title holder Vitali Klitschko would be the worst of all reigning champions. [Hoffmann lost a 12-round shut-out decision to Vitali Klitschko in November 2000. He is the only opponent who ever went the distance against the older Klitschko brother.]
Whereas Krasniqi made no secret of the fact that he his amuzed about the talking of his opponent, he doesn’t take him easy as an opponent inside the ring. Krasniqi has been working out hard and concetrated for the past three months in his hometown of Rottweil, Germany, and sparred with other giant heavyweights like Julius Long (7-foot-2, USA), Marius Wach (6-foot-7, Poland) and Cyril Seror (6-foot-6, France).
“Luan’s performance in sparring was highly impressive”, his coach Torsten Schmitz said. “We want to match Luan’s skills against Hoffmann’s physis. If Luan is following our game plan I expect a big victory from him.”
In the second main event at Estrel Convention Center former WBO middleweight champion Felix Sturm, 21-1 (9), will face ex champion Hassine Cherifi, 35-10-1 in a non-title fight over ten rounds.
On the undercard fighting is former European light heavyweight champion Stipe Drews, 26-1 (12).
The event is a cooperation of Universum Box-Promotion GmbH and Sauerland Event GmbH.
ZDF TV is broadcasting live in Germany.