Q&A with Sebastian Sylvester

On November 1, Sebastian Sylvester challenges WBA middleweight champion Felix Sturm in Oberhausen. Boxen.com has caught up with the Hurricane ahead of the biggest fight of his career.

Q: Sebastian, it´s just one week until the fight and you appear to be very relaxed?
A: Yes, I am. Why should I not be relaxed?

Q: Because you might feel some pressure before your most important fight…
A: No, I don´t. I am the challenger and sort of have a road game coming up at an Universum show. I am well-prepared. I deserved to get this fight by decisively beating Javier Castillejo. I have worked hard to fight for the world title and now I am really looking forward to it. The only one who feels pressure is Adnan Catic.

Q: You keep addressing Sturm by his birth name. Why?
A: Because that is his name. I have known him for a long time, going back to our amateur days when he fought as Adnan Catic. If he abandons his birth name and adopts an alias as a professional, that is his decision, but I don´t have to address him like that. You do call me Sebastian and not Mr Hurricane, don´t you?

Q: This has caused some anger in your opponent´s camp.
A: Well, that´s how it is. But it is not my task to cheer up the people at Universum. Apparently, they are pretty nervous for us to hunt, hit and sink their flagship – just like the Viking slogan suggests.

Q: Some have accused you of xenophobia because you call Sturm Catic.
A: Yes, that really has been brought up. And it is rubbish. Our team boasts boxers of many nationalities and I don´t have a problem with anyone because of the country where he comes from. What is xenophobic about addressing a person by the name that has been given him by his parents. His friends do call him Adnan, too.

Q: Is this fight really the „clash of hate“ as the media suggests?
A: Hate is a strong feeling and I don´t have any strong feelings for Catic. But we certainly will never be friends.

Q: Your coach Hartmut Schroder called Sturm arrogant. Is he right?
A: My coach is always right.

Q: And he said Sturm should get a warm coat for November 1 because he will be down for a long time.
A: Yes, that is what he said. But that was a reaction to the insult from Catic. He said at the first press conference that I had no heart, no chin and nothing in my head. My coach could not accept that.

Q: How did you react when Sturm refused to have pictures taken with you?
A: I did not react at all.

Q: Really? No reaction?
A: Let´s say I took notice of it. I really don´t care whether Adnan wants to be photographed with me or not. But he must have his reasons.

Q: What kind of reasons?
A: He appears to be under a lot of pressure. Naturally, when he, the world champion, gets knocked out by me, whom he has called a chicken, that would be quite embarrassing.

Q: Do you think Sturm is nervous?
A: Yes, I do believe he is nervous. I am sure he has seen my KO victory over Castillejo. He is not really known for his good chin. All the pressure is on him.

Q: Do you expect a KO victory then?
A: You cannot plan a KO. But Adnan has the championship and home bonus. It will be tough to win on points.

Q: What is the most important thing in your life?
A: The most important thing is my family. I am very happy that my wife and my daughter, who I am living with in a nice house near Greifswald, are doing fine. Success in sports is important, too. But it is also crucial that you enjoy what you are doing and that everything´s going well on the team.

Q: What role does coach Hartmut Schroder play as far your success is concerned?
A: A big one. He is very important for me. I admire him because he has been so patient with me all the time.

Q: Your team is wearing shirts with the line „1. November – Sturmtief in der Sylvesternacht. (Note: The line roughly translates as “Deep depression on New Year´s Eve”, which is a pun about Sturm/storm and Sylvester, which also means New Year´s Eve in German)
A: Yes, my manager Winfried Spiering is very creative. It is quite normal that there is some hype surrounding a boxing event. That´s nothing unusual and part of boxing.

Q: You appear to be very self-confident.
A: Yes, that is what I am – self-confident and calm. I know my strengths and my weaknesses. I have faith in my coach´s tactics. I know that I have worked in the preparation so that I can fight to my potential on November 1. So let´s see what happens.

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