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Rags To Riches Abraham Has Unfinished Business

Posted on 03/25/2010

Seven years ago, with a plastic bag in his hand and no money in his pocket, Arthur Abraham set out to conquer the world of boxing. Now he’s a rich and famous boxing superstar.

“I remember when he first came to us with his brother in 2003, as a sparring partner,” says his German-based promoter Wilfried Sauerland. “He had his boxing gear in a plastic bag. He didn’t have the money to pay for the fare on the tube. Him and his brother were completely broke.” The Armenian-born boxer earned immediate respect though, by holding his own in sparring with Sven Ottke, the former IBF and WBA Super Middleweight champ. “Sven was a very experienced guy, he was very critical of other fighters,” says Sauerland. “But Sven told me Arthur is the one who can make it very, very big. He has things to learn but he has exceptional talent.”

Sven Ottke was right. Seven years later the once poor young man is now “King Arthur”, a star athlete sporting a perfect record of 31-0 with 25 KO’s, including the spectacular one punch destruction of Jermain Taylor last October in Berlin in what was the first bout of the SHOWTIME network “Super Six Tournament” in the super middleweight division. Abraham previously made ten title defenses as the IBF Middleweight champ. He will face Andre Dirrell this weekend in Detroit at the Joe Louis Arena.

King Arthur is an electrifying performer who shows great versatility and creativity in the ring. He has a unique set of skills, good movement, smart defense, killer instinct and devastating power. A former heavyweight champ from America is his inspiration. “Mike Tyson is my idol in boxing. When I first see him fight I say, Ah, this is good. This is so good.”

Abraham turned pro in 2003, won 18 in a row, then defeated 6-ft, 4-in Kingsley Ikeke by fifth-round KO for the vacant IBF title at 160 pounds. His most difficult fight was his fifth defense against unbeaten Edison Miranda. In round four of that brutal encounter, Abraham suffered a broken jaw in two places, which caused massive swelling and blood loss, but he retained the belt on points. Then in the rematch two years later, Abraham showed intelligence and adaptability as he completely dominated Miranda in Florida in 2008. Abraham boxed cautiously the first two rounds, surrendering both. But then he switched gears and turned on the aggression in round three, buckling Miranda with a right. In round four, the duel became totally one-sided. Abraham destroyed his rival, sending him down three times – each by a left hook. The final blow left Miranda flat on his back.

The knockout over Jermain Taylor was similarly exciting but it was produced by a different tactic. In the 12th round, well ahead on all three scorecards, Abraham was still seeking the knockout, as he always does. He spotted an opening and launched a single straight right hand which pierced the American’s gloves and exploded square on the chin. Taylor landed flat on his back and was unconscious for almost five minutes. That punch may have ended the former champion’s career. Even Mike Tyson lauded the dramatic victory blow by Abraham. “It was an unbelievable knockout,” Tyson said to a friend after watching the bout on TV. “Taylor was stiff before he even hit the canvas.”

After seeing that performance by Abraham, Tyson is predicting a big future for the 30-year-old German. “He’s gonna win the Super Six tournament,” says Tyson. “His determination is too much for everyone.”

Though he is wealthy beyond what he ever expected, with a fleet of sports cars, real estate holdings and an airplane chartering business, Abraham remains singularly inspired by what is most important to him. “Car is nothing. House is nothing,” says Abraham. “Name is everything. Win is everything.”

About his opponent Dirrell on Saturday night, Abraham speaks with clear and convincing vehemence. “Dirrell is fast but that will not help him. I am in the Super Six to become a legend in America. I need a win on Saturday to accomplish that goal. And I will get that win. My trainer, Ulli Wegner, has prepared a special game plan which will help to defeat Dirrell. You will see on Saturday how that works.”

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