The last time Arthur Abraham made a world title defense, he was putting his IBF middleweight title on the line against Mahir Oral in 2009. Now, after a turbulent spell in the super middleweight division, he's back in the champion's seat on Saturday, defending the WBO super middleweight title against Mehdi Bouadla in Nuremberg, Germany.
Abraham (35-3, 27 KO) outpointed Robert Stieglitz in August to win the belt, finally succeeding in his third attempt at winning a world title at 168 pounds. His struggles in the Super Six World Boxing Classic against the likes of Andre Ward, Carl Froch, and Andre Dirrell now hopefully behind him, Abraham, 32, now moves on to defend his title against France's Mehdi Bouadla.
"I feel comfortable entering the ring as the champion," Abraham said on Wednesday at the final press conference for the fight. "In hindsight, maybe I should have picked some easier fights for the transition from middleweight to super-middleweight. However, I went straight in there with the best the division has to offer and it has been a learning curve for me. That is exactly why I’m so happy to have won the world title in August."
Bouadla (26-4, 11 KO) isn't a top contender, and when last seen by most, he was being blown away by Mikkel Kessler in 2011. He wasn't remotely competitive with the comebacking Danish superstar that night, but he was game, and he didn't roll over.
Bouadla, 30, kept it pretty basic at the press conference. "My preparation has been going extremely well. I will give it 100 percent in order to take the belt of Abraham.”
And though he's the heavy favorite, Abraham says he's taking the challenge very seriously, knowing that Bouadla is doing just that.
“I am fully aware of the fact that this will be a tough fight," said Abraham. "This could be the last chance of Bouadla’s career to win a world championship. He will try everything he can.”