WBSS Preview: Juergen Braehmer v Rob Brant
By: Ste Rowen
After seven consecutive weeks of tournament boxing, the eighth and final World Boxing Super Series quarter final takes place in the German city of Scherwin on Friday. Former WBO and WBA ‘Regular’ Light Heavyweight Champion Juergen Braehmer (48-3-0 35KOs) faces undefeated prospect Rob ‘Bravo’ Brant (22-0-0 15KOs) for a place in the semi-finals of the Super Middleweight WBSS and the right to face Callum Smith.
Braehmer hasn’t fought at the 168lb limit since September 2007. Ten years and twenty consecutive bouts fighting as a light heavyweight. In his most recent outing Braehmer lost his WBA ‘Regular’ title to Nathan Cleverly over twelve months ago, when in the sixth round Juergen withdrew due to a dislocated elbow and the fight was called a TKO victory for Cleverly. Before then Braehmer was on a seventeen-fight win streak, which most notably included a stoppage win over Enzo Maccarinelli and two unanimous decision victories over Edward Gutknecht. However, despite his 51 bouts Braehmer is a boxer without a landmark win. He’s never fought outside of Germany and even when fighting at super middleweight he failed to get into the mix with the divisions biggest names at the time such as Jeff Lacey, Mikkel Kessler and Joe Calzaghe.
Despite that, the southpaw has found his way into the tournament as a seeded fighter and so far in both the Cruiserweight and the Super Middleweight draws, all of the seeded fighters have won their bouts.
As Braehmer comes down, Rob Brant is coming up. The current holder of the WBA-NABA Middleweight title has made his career fighting at the 160lb limit. The heaviest he’s fought at is just over 166lb back in 2014 when he stopped Mickey Scarborough in Minnesota. ‘Bravo’ had been quietly going about his business, steadily building the foundations for a title push at middleweight when the opportunity came around to fight in the Super Series.
The only American across the whole tournament also has to contend with the fact that this will be his first twelve round bout. He’s fought in five ten round fights, with only one of those going the distance when Brant scored a majority decision over Louis Rose, 13-2-1 at the time.
Although a relative unknown, Brant’s aggressive, come forward style should make him a fan favourite, but only as long as he can deploy his game plan. His opponent’s awkward, southpaw style and perhaps overlooked power could stifle ‘Bravo’, especially if the fight makes it into the championship rounds, a place the American hasn’t experienced yet as a pro.
The tournament has lacked for coverage in the US but Brant could be the beacon that lights the way for America in the series, much like recently retired and fellow American, Andre Ward did in the Super 6 almost eight years ago.
As mentioned above, whoever emerges the victor on Friday night will face Liverpudlian, Callum Smith in the semi-finals and beyond that, a place in the final to face the winner of George Groves v Chris Eubank Jr. Full steam ahead for the World Boxing Super Series hype train.