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.