By winning the European title, the German heavyweight boxer Agit Kabayel has opened the door to an early World Championship fight among the world's best. "I'm ready for the World Cup. I showed today that I can take a little bit instead of just handing it out," said the 30-year-old from Bochum after winning his second European Championship title on Saturday in his hometown.
After a brief but intense exchange of blows, he defeated Croatian Agron Smakici by technical knockout. in the third of twelve scheduled rounds and proved his comeback skills. In the RuhrCongress Hall, for example, he again secured the award from the European continental association EBU and increased the prospects of a future World Championship title fight.
Flurry in the second round
It didn't look like a win at first: the 107-kilogram professional boxer started his 23rd professional fight against Smakici a little nervously. In the second round, the usual massive athlete got in better, but received a hail of blows in the second round, which sent him briefly onto the ropes.
Afterwards, however, the Croatian looked as if he had slightly spent himself. Under loud "Agit" calls from the audience, local hero Kabayel, who was badly hit in the right eye, came back impressively in the third round and put more and more pressure on Smakici until the 110-kilogram opponent conceded several hits and the fight ended with a technical knockout. was decided.
As a precautionary measure, Smakici was later treated in the hospital, as the SES boxing stable announced. Kabayel, who was competing in his hometown for the first time, needed treatment for a laceration in his eye. In terms of health, however, he is doing well, he said after the fight. "After 23 professional fights I've had a cut for the first time in my life," admitted Kabayel. Overall, he rated his athletic performance as "good publicity" for boxing. "I hope that we have revived German boxing with this fight," said Kabayel.
Kabayel, the "Ruhrpott boy"
The "Ruhrpott boy" who grew up in Bochum had already held the EBU European title between 2017 and 2019. However, he then voluntarily laid down his belt in order to advance his career in the USA under more lucrative conditions, which was ultimately thwarted by the corona pandemic and visa problems.
Thanks to his success, Kabayel has also moved up in the WBC rankings, so that he can challenge the world elite again in the future. Currently, the reigning WBC title holder is called Tyson Fury. Kabayel already knows him, was the Briton's sparring partner in 2016. In 2020, the two did not meet. Kabayel is now looking forward to such duels.
Hopes rest on his shoulders to make German boxing more popular again. If he were to win a world title fight, he would be the first German champion in this class since Max Schmeling. Before the fight against Smakici, Kabayel reiterated: "It's my biggest goal in life to become world heavyweight champion." After winning the European Championship title, he gave his boxing stable an invitation: "It's such a nice atmosphere here. Bochum, I think we'll see each other again this year."