By: Ste Rowen
This Saturday night in Germany, WBA ‘Regular’ super middleweight champion, Tyron Zeuge, 22-0-1 (12KOs) takes on, Commonwealth and recently-vacated British champion, Rocky Fielding, 26-1 (14KOs) at Offenburg’s, Baden-Arena, for the fourth defence of his secondary title.
Zeuge, fighting in Germany for the 24th time in his 24-fight pro career, defended his WBA strap just over a year ago when he took on Fielding’s fellow Brit and Liverpudlian, Paul Smith Jr, dropping the 3-time world title challenger, along the way to earning a dominant 12-round decision, and though from the 1st bell the victory never seemed in doubt, Tyron’s lack of power left the crowd wanting something more from the man hoping to emulate fellow countrymen, Arthur Abraham and current trainer, Juergen Braehmer by making big waves in the 168lb division, but he had the opportunity, in his first bout since the Smith fight, to prove to the German fans he had the ability to finish opponents when he took on Isaac Ekpo for a second time in March this year.
Photo Credit: Rocky Fielding Twitter Account
The first time the German met Nigerian, Ekpo it ended early when Zeuge suffered a cut near his right eye and the bout was called a Technical Decision victory to Zeuge in the 5th round. So, there was unfinished business for the two fighters heading into the March event. This time the WBA strap holder made lightwork of Isaac, dropping his opponent once at the end of the 1st and then landing a multitude of huge right hooks in round 2, dropping Ekpo again and forcing the referee into ending the bout.
Speaking to German website ‘BOXSPORT’, Tyron is confident he’ll still be unbeaten after Saturday,
‘I’m not too concerned with my opponent. Juergen (Braehmer) took a close look at Fielding and analysed him… He is a fighter, this will certainly be a good fight.’
And whether Fielding is his toughest opponent to date?
‘Hard to say, the next opponent is always the hardest.’
Three months ago, Fielding was apparently in talks to face another champion in Mexican, Gilberto Ramirez, the current WBO champion, but instead finds himself fighting for a lesser belt in, some would say, an even more hostile environment in Germany, as opposed to a US showdown with Ramirez.
But speaking to ‘Boxing News Online’ the former British and current Commonwealth champion is confident in his own ability to silence the crowd, and if it goes the distance, win over the judges,
‘It’s an opportunity that’s been presented to me and I have to take it, wherever it is I’ll go…The pressures on him to keep that belt in front of his home crowd.’
‘Zeuge is a good fighter, he does everything well, but I think I’ve boxed the better opponents…and I think I punch harder.’
Rocky is on a 5-fight win streak since he was knocked out in one round by current World Boxing Super Series finalist, Callum Smith back in 2015. The Liverpool native has earned completive, split 12-round decisions over Christopher Rebrasse and John Ryder, as well as 3 stoppage victories, the most impressive coming against Scotsman, David Brophy in November last year when Fielding took less than 60 seconds to wipe out then, 19-1-1, Brophy, whose only other loss came at the hands of current WBA ‘Super’ champion, George Groves.
It’s power that could be the real gamechanger if Fielding is to win. He’ll have the slight height advantage when the two meet, but arguably Zeuge’s best asset is the ramrod jab he’s displayed in his biggest fights, most notably when he took on Smith last year and no doubt from the 1st bell on Saturday it will be the German who attempts to immediately establish himself in the middle of the ring behind a constant throw of his piston left hand.
But as mentioned, it will be interesting to see, if and when Fielding lands his first significant punch, whether his opponent has the chin to withstand the shot, despite being the man heading into the bout with a KO loss on his record, Rocky has certainly come up against a consistently higher quality, and bigger punching calibre of opponent.
Whoever emerges victorious, the super middleweight division is packed with interesting matchups, from the WBSS finalists, Groves & Smith, to fellow belt holders Ramirez, Benavidez and recently crowned Uzcategui, and the broader string of challengers in the two Calebs, Truax and Plant or Eubank Jr. The list goes on for the 168lbers.