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Ranking the best German fighters

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  • Ranking the best German fighters

    What now? ;) I think this time I will narrow it down, slim it down, because it's rather exhausting to write about each fighter in detail, so I will only write a short summary of their career. Ready? LET'S GO!

    1. Max Schmeling
    The Black Uhlan of the Rhine,
    Max Schmeling was the greatest heavyweight and probably also fighter overall to come from Germany. The 6'1 fighter from Klein Luckow, Eastern Germany, won the world hw title in 1930 by way of disqualification in 4 rounds against Jack Sharkey, the reigning champion. He defended it against the incredible Young Stribling, who had a record of 238-13-17, stopping Stribling for the first and only time in his career by TKO15. In 1932, he was robbed of his title in a controversial split decision loss in a rematch with Sharkey. His most notable achievement lay ahead of him however; in 1936, he became the first man to beat and stop Joe Louis when he knocked him out in 12 rounds. In the rematch 2 years later, which was for the world title, he was knocked out in 1 round by Louis. There are rumours that Schmeling deliberately underperformed because he hated being Hitler's favorite champion and wanted to lose to a black man out of spite. Schmeling retired in 1948, with a record of 56 wins, 39 by ko, 10 losses and 4 draws. He was named the fighter of the year by The Ring in 1930. He was a terrific fighter with a big punch and boxing IQ who knew how to exploit his opponent's mistakes very well. Schmeling died in 2005, aged 99.

    2. Henry Maske
    A light heavyweight who had fine technical skills and boxing IQ, Maske won the middleweight gold at the 1988 Olympics and also the world amateur championships gold in 1989, competing for East Germany. A tall lhw at around 6'3, Maske used his height and his range well. He was never a really hard hitter, but could stop you if he landed enough hard shots. He turned pro in 1990 and in 1993 upset the long-reigning IBF champ Charles Williams in a UD win at home in Dusseldorf. He made 10 defenses, most notably stopping Iran Barkley by a corner retirement in 9 in 1994 and beating Graciano Rocchigiani by UD twice in back to back fights in 1995. He lost the title in a close fight, by split decision, to great technician and southpaw Virgil Hill, November 1996. He retired but came back for a revenge match with Hill in 2007, which he won by UD. His record is 31 wins, 11 by ko, and 1 loss. Called the Gentleman, Maske remains one of the greatest and most popular boxers Germany ever produced.

    3. Sven Ottke
    He belongs here mainly because of his number of defenses, which no other German champion came close to:21. Sven Ottke was a super middleweight WBA and IBF champion who had an unpopular style but was a clever fighter with a very good chin and physically rather strong. He won the IBF title in 1998 by getting an unpopular split decision against Charles Brewer of Philadelphia. He knocked out Anthony Mundine with a single shot to the temple in 10 rounds in 2001, after being behind on points. He also beat Glen Johnson, Thomas Tate, Robin Reid, Byron Mitchell, Silvio Branco and Rudy Markussen, although at least half of those wins were questionable. He won the WBA belt from Mitchell in 2003 and stayed undefeated until his retirement in 2004, after beating Armand Krajnc by UD, leaving behind a record of 34 wins with 6 ko's. He remains a controversia figure because of getting some preferrential treatment by the judges in some of his most important fights, but is nevertheless another beloved figure in Germany, due to his achievements and humble background as a plasterer.

    4. Felix Sturm
    Born as Adnan Catic to Bosnian parents in Leverkusen, he took the fighting name of Felix Sturm and after winning the 1997 junior world amateur championships and 2000 European amateur championships and competing in the 2000 Olympics, where he lost to Jermain Taylor on points in the quarterfinal, Sturm turned pro in 2001. He beat Hector Javier Velazco by SD to win the WBO middle title in 2003 and defended it once by UD against Ruben Varon. He was then chosen to take part in the great tournament in USA, where also Oscar de la Hoya and Bernard Hopkins participated. He took on De La Hoya in a fight at MGM Grand on 5 June 2004 and by all accounts beat him by at least two points, but was robbed by the judges and had to go home without his belt. Due to this experience, he never again fought in the States. He first won the WBA belt in 2006 on points against Maselino Masoe in 2006, but then lost it in an upset against Javier Castillejo by TKO10, also in 2006. He reclaimed it in a rematch by UD, in 2007. He would then hold the WBA belt until 2012, making 12 defenses in all. He beat Sebastian Sylvester by UD in 2008 and Khoren Gevor also by UD in 2009. In 2011 he defended his belt in a tough fight against Matthew Macklin of Britain and after losing the first 6 rounds came strong in the second half, in the end winning by a questionable SD. That same year he drew against Macklin's compatriot Martin Murray, who was 23-0 at the time, and then stopped Sebastian Zbik in his last successful defense in 2012, by corner retirement in 9. He was finally relieved of the belt by Daniel Geale, who beat him by a split decision 1 September 2012. In December 2013, Sturm stopped Darren Barker by TKO2 to win the IBF belt, but then lost it to Sam Soliman in his first defense, by UD. In 2015 he fought Fedor Chudinov for the vacant WBA super mw title but lost by another UD. They had a rematch next year which ended in a draw, which was Sturm's last fight. His record is 40 wins with 18 ko's, 5 losses and 3 draws. Sturm was a very good technical fighter with a sound defense and a good chin who always came to fight in top shape.

    5. Graciano Rocchigiani
    Another fine boxer was Graciano Rocchigiani, the rival of Henry Maske. He won the IBF super mw title in 1988, by stopping Vincent Boulware by TKO8. He made 3 defenses, the last one against Thulani Malinga by UD, before vacating the belt to compete as a light heavy in 1990. He won the Euro title here against Crawford Ashley by SD12, in 1991. In 1994 he went back down to 168 to challenge Chris Eubank for his WBO belt, but lost to him by a mostly-close UD in Germany. He challenged Henry Maske for the IBF belt in 1995, but lost to him twice in hard-fought wars, both times by UD. Some have said the first decision was unfair. After getting unfairly disqualified in a WBO-title fight against Dariusz Michalczewski in 1996, he finally won a world title at 175 against Michael Nunn, 21 March 1998, by SD. However, due to dirty politics by WBC, he was stripped in favor of returning champion Roy Jones and then sued WBC. He was later reinstated but after he had lost another fight to Michalczewski, this time by a 9th round corner retirement in 2000. His last fight was in 2003 and he lost on points to rising contender Thomas Ulrich. His record is 41 wins, 19 by ko, 6 losses and 1 draw. Rocchigiani was a tall smw and lhw who had pop and was a tough guy with boxing skills. Sadly, he was killed in an auto accident 2 October 2018. He was 54.

    6.Jürgen Brähmer
    Probably the best German fighter of the last 10 years, Brähmer is yet another famous and accomplished fighter from East Germany. He was the gold medallist as a welterweight at the 1996 world junior championships and claims a record of 95-5 here. He became a pro in late 1999. He racked up a record of 27-0 and won the WBC International super middle title in 2002 on points against Omar Eduardo Gonzales. However, Brähmer was always a wild type and had several brushes with the law and his career suffered somewhat because of this. His first loss was a controversial majority decision against Mario Veit, where Veit was down once, in 2006. He knocked Veit out in 4 later. In 2008 he tried to win the WBA lhw title but failed as he dropped a UD to Hugo Hernan Garay. In 2009, he first won the interim WBO title by stopping Aleksy Kuziemski by TKO11 and then won the full title against Dmitry Sukhotsky by UD that same year. He made one successful defense by stopping Mariano Nicolas Plotinsky by TKO5 before being stripped for pulling out of a fight with Nathan Cleverly on short notice. After winning the European title for the second time, in 2013 he won the WBA title by beating Marcus Olivera by UD. This time he made six successful defenses, among others stopping Enzo Maccarinelli by RTD5, before he lost it due to an injury which forced him to retire after 6 rounds in a fight against Nathan Cleverly, in 2016. At 38 Brähmer was now clearly past his best. His last fight was this year, so he has yet to confirm his retirement, but he has definitely already achieved everything he could. He is a great puncher and also has good boxing skills and also a tough guy who only got stopped once due to an injury. His record is an outstanding 51 wins with 37 ko's and 3 losses.

    7. Markus Beyer
    This accomplished super middleweight won the WBC title three times in his career and holds victories over Danny Green, Eric Lucas, Richie Woodhall and Omar Sheika. Beyer was another product of East German amateur school and he was the German light middle champion twice, also taking part in the 1992 Olympics and getting eliminated in the second round. His amateur record is 235 wins and 39 losses. He was trained by Ulli Wegner and managed by Wilfried Sauerland. Beyer turned pro in 1996 and won the WBC belt for the first time in 1999, by beating Richie Woodhall by a close UD after knocking him down three times. He defended the belt once by KO7 against Leif Keiski before he lost it to Glenn Catley by TKO12 in 2000. He reclaimed the belt in 2003 with a highly controversial decision over Eric Lucas, a SD. He then won by DQ5 in his first defense against Danny Green, after getting cut by an intentional headbutt and being unable to continue. He then surprisingly lost the belt to the unrated Cristian Sanavia in 2004, but reclaimed it in the rematch by knocking Sanavia out in 6 rounds. This time he made 5 successful defenses, among others a MD12 against Danny Green and UD12 against Omar Sheika, before losing it by devastating KO in 3 rounds against Mikkel Kessler, 14 October 2006. Beyer retired in 2008, after winning one minor fight. His record is 35 wins with 13 ko's, 3 losses and 1 draw. Sadly, he also died last year, 3 December, only 2 months after Rochigiani, of a serious illness. He was a fine boxer who had power but usually won by outboxing his opponents. He was good friends with Sven Ottke.

    8. Arthur Abraham
    A fine middleweight who is best remembered for his tenure as the IBF champ there, rather than his controversial super middleweight title reigns, Abraham was and is one of the strongest, toughest and most aggressive fighters that ever graced the European ring. He also had awesome power at 160. Armenian-born Abraham won the IBF middle belt in 2005 by KO5 over Kingsley Ikeke and defended it 10 times. His most notable wins are over Edison Miranda (UD12), Kofi Jantuah (UD12), Khoren Gevor (KO11) and Raul Marquez (RTD6). He also stopped Miranda in a non-title fight at 168, in 4 rounds and became the first man to stop the tough Colombian. In 2009, he took part in the great super mw tournament and first knocked out Jermain Taylor in 12 before losing by disqualification in 11 against Andre Direll in 2010, thus losing his unbeaten record as well. He was also soundly outboxed by Carl Froch later that year and then by Andre Ward next year, which exposed him as a technically limited fighter. He won the WBO title there however by decisioning Robert Stieglitz in 2012, but lost it in his second defense to the same man, when he got stopped for the first and so far only time in his career, in 3 rounds, in a big upset. In 2014 he again beat Stieglitz by UD to reclaim the belt and then defended it five times, beating Nikola Sjekloca by UD, Paul Smith twice in a row, also by UD, stopping Stieglitz by TKO6 and finally getting a controversial split decision over Michael Murray. He finally lost the belt in 2016, by UD to Gilberto Ramirez. In 2017, he was again outclassed in a poor performance by Chris Eubank jr, in a fight for the IBO title and subsequently lost by UD. In his last fight in 2018, he surprisingly beat the once-promising Dane Patrick Nielsen by UD. His record is 47 wins, 36 by ko, and 6 losses, 1 by ko.

    9. Marco Huck
    This Serbian-born and Berlin-based cruiserweight was a pure blood and guts fighter from the get go. He won the WBO cruiser title in 2009, after failing in his first world title attempt against then-IBF champ Steve Cunningham in 2007, who stopped him by TKO12. He beat the rated Argentinian toughman Victor Emilio Ramirez on points and then made 13 defenses, tying the record set by Johnny Nelson, also a former WBO-champion. He fought Ola Afolabi a total four times, first winning by UD, then by MD, before drawing against him in a third fight and finally stopping him by corner retirement in 10 in the fourth. He also beat former WBA champ Firat Arslan twice, first by a questionable UD and then by TKO6. He also knocked out the former WBA lhw champ Hugo Hernan Garay in 10. He holds a split decision win over Denis Lebedev as well, even tho most will agree it was a gift, despite the fight being rather close. Captain Huck finally lost his WBO belt to Krzysztof Glowacki in 2015, after not fighting for a year, getting knocked out in 11 after having Glowacki down before that. He won the IBO title after that in the aforementioned fourth fight against Afolabi and defended it by UD against Dmytro Kucher, but then lost it to Mairis Briedis by UD in 2017. He then fought Oleksandr Usyk for his old title in September that same year, but was stopped by TKO10 after a brave fight. He decided to become a heavyweight after that, after already having one impressive showing there against Alex Povetkin and losing by a majority decision in a very close fight, in 2012. His record is now 41 wins with 28 ko's, 5 losses and 1 draw. Huck has fast hands and a solid chin and always could hit hard enough, but his defense was always leaky and therefore he was easy to hit. He was always there to hit and be hit.

    10. Axel Schulz
    The best German heavyweight of the 90's, Axel Schulz is known as the nearly man who thrice attempted to win the world title but was each time denied in either a very close call or robbed by an unjust decision. A 6'3 powerhouse of a man, Schulz was more a strong technical boxer who brought pressure than a puncher. In 1995, he first lost to George Foreman in a fight for the IBF belt, held by Big George. Many observers thought Schulz deserved to win. Shortly thereafter, he was matched against Frans Botha for the same belt, stripped from Foreman for refusing to give Schulz a rematch. Despite controlling virtually every round from the middle rounds and on and despite fighting at home, Schulz somehow lost by a split decision to the slow and awkward Botha. After Botha got stripped for testing positive for steroids, Schulz was then matched against Michael Moorer in 1996 for the same belt, but this time lost by a close but, according to all accounts, fair decision. Schulz had a slow first half of the fight and paid for it, despite bringing it on in the second half. After stopping the 6'6 Irishman Kevin McBride by TKO9 in 1997, he beat the British Julius Francis by UD12 in an eliminator for the European title in 1998 and then the following year fought against Wladimir Klitschko for the title, but was dominated by the younger and bigger man and stopped by TKO8. He came back for one more fight in 2006, which he lost by TKO6 to Brian Minto. That was the end of his career and his record stands at 26 wins with 11 ko's and 5 losses, 2 by ko. He was actually the last ethnic German heavyweight to fight for a world title.

  • #2
    --- Good call ion Maske.

    Our ol' AOL buddy ice John Scully fought him in Germany and had high regard for his skills and physical attributes, definitely a cerebral fighter.

    Boxrec lists him as 6-2.5 but he's 6-4 as they used to list him, and returning after a long retirement to avenge his only loss against a rival on your list the heroic stuff of legends.

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    • #3
      --- I misspoke by mixing up Virgil Hill with Graciano whom he also fought twice.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by LondonRingRules View Post
        --- Good call ion Maske.

        Our ol' AOL buddy ice John Scully fought him in Germany and had high regard for his skills and physical attributes, definitely a cerebral fighter.

        Boxrec lists him as 6-2.5 but he's 6-4 as they used to list him, and returning after a long retirement to avenge his only loss against a rival on your list the heroic stuff of legends.
        Yeah, he was really clever. And you are right about the listing, I also saw him listed at 6'4. They go on my nerves, these sites who provide different data than the others. I found a site where idiots had Teofilo Stevenson at 6'3! If you've seen pics of him, esp with Ali (who was 6'3), you can see the man was CLEARLY taller than that! 6'5 is the "official" version but I think he was 6'6.

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        • #5
          I don't know why Calslappy swerved Ottke - would have beaten him - but that lad wouldn't fight him to unify for love nor money.

          Addendum:
          Rocchigiani was the resident/regular guest presenter on Ger Sport-1 channel for the last 4 years - will miss him greatly.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by selij;n961660[B
            ]I don't know why Calslappy swerved Ottke -[/B] would have beaten him - but that lad wouldn't fight him to unify for love nor money.

            Addendum:
            Rocchigiani was the resident/regular guest presenter on Ger Sport-1 channel for the last 4 years - will miss him greatly.
            You sure it wasn't the other way around? Who knows...I guess it's the same thing as with RJJ and Tiger Dariusz-neither wanted to fight in the other man's homeground.

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            • #7
              Thread edited! I took out Arslan and replaced him with Axel Schulz. I had forgotten about Axel.

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              • #8
                --- Arslan better with added longevity.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by LondonRingRules View Post
                  --- Arslan better with added longevity.
                  But who did he beat? A 43-yearold Virgil Hill, a green and always questionable Grigori Drozd...and that's about it.

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                  • #10
                    --- Who did Shultzie beat?

                    Rslan was a ranked Ring contender/champ for a long time.

                    Schultz never with a short, limited career, his best win a title eliminator. Hey, it's your list Boz and so be it!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by LondonRingRules View Post
                      --- Who did Shultzie beat?

                      Rslan was a ranked Ring contender/champ for a long time.

                      Schultz never with a short, limited career, his best win a title eliminator. Hey, it's your list Boz and so be it!
                      He beat GEORGE FOREMAN, but didn't get the credit. Also, Botha, obviously. And he didn't get stopped by STEVE FUCKING HERELIUS! That's right, it's MY list.

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