Sylvester v Asikainen, Hoffmann v T. Ibragimov, Larsen v Velazco


Sylvester v Asikainen, Hoffmann v T. Ibragimov, Larsen v Velazco

Sebastian Sylvester will have revenge on his mind when he takes on European champion Amin Asikainen in Zwickau on Saturday. The unbeaten Finn (21-0, 15 KOs) handed his German opponent (25-2, 12 KOs) only the second loss of his career one year ago in Hannover where he clinched an eighth-round TKO victory. "History won´t repeat itself this time out," Sylvester vowed. "I did not listen to my corner the last time. I have learned from my mistakes. I have gotten over the loss and will make amends in Zwickau."

Coach Hartmut Schroeder is confident the "Hurricane" will avenge the painful defeat. "We have been waiting for the rematch for over a year," he stated. "It is almost that I am fed up with all the talking. Sebastian will win the title back - basta."

31-year-old Asikainen believes he is in a good position to beat his opponent again. "I have defeated him once which gives me a psychological advantage," he said. "This time I am the favourite." Pekka Mäki, trainer and coach, shared the optimism of his fighter. "Amin is in great shape and will defend his title," he assessed.

Also in action in Zwickau will be German star heavyweight Timo Hoffmann, who takes on Timor Ibragimov (21-2, 13 KOs). "He is a strong opponent but on my way back to the top I have to beat quality fighters like him - no question about that," Hoffmann said. The 32-year-old (36-4, 20 KOs) had redeemed his career with a spectacular win over Cengiz Koc back in November 2006 before stopping Konstantin Onofrei in the fourth round of their meeting in March. "I am convinced that Timo will box as attractively as he did in the past two fights," coach Uwe Schuster vowed. "We have prepared like we did for the Koc and Onofrei bouts. Everything has gone very well."

Another highlight in Zwickau will be Mads Larsen´s first fight on German soil after his three-and-a-half-year break. The Danish star (46-2, 37 KOs) will celebrate a special homecoming as he returns to the place where he won the European super-middleweight title from Danilo Haeussler in October 2003. "It is great to be back here in Zwickau," he said. "I have nothing but the best memories of the city because this is where I have won the most important fight of my career."

Larsen will lock horns with former WBO champion Hector Javier Velazco (35-6, 16 KOs). "He is not a very comfortable man to fight against," said Larsen. "And it is just the second bout after my comeback so I don´t yet know where I am standing."

Coach Ulli Wegner believes the timing is "nothing but right" for Larsen to take on a strong opponent such as Velazco. "Of course he is a difficult opponent but Mads was a European champion and is already 34 years of age. We don´t have too much time left so this fight comes at the right time. If he wins he can make a giant stride in the rankings."