Rob Brant: "I Am Confident That I Will Win The Entire Tournament"

October 25, 2017

When the super middleweight and cruiserweight fields for the World Boxing Super Series tournaments were unveiled this past summer they were light on American fighters.

The only American of the 16 boxers in the two eight-man fields is Rob Brant, whom some boxing insiders have tabbed as the dark horse candidate to win the super middleweight tournament. Brant begins his quest for the Muhammad Ali trophy that will be awarded to the tournament winner on the road in his opponent’s hometown when he meets former light heavyweight world titleholder Juergen Braehmer on Friday at the Kongresshalle in Schwerin, Germany.

The fight will be televised on tape delay in the United States on Saturday on DirecTV’s Audience Network beginning at 7 p.m. ET.

“I feel good, in great shape and I am ready to show that I still have what it takes to be the best. I predict a tough night for Brant.”

Juergen Braehmer

Brant (22-0, 15 KOs), 27, of St. Paul, Minnesota, who took up boxing at 15 and was a standout amateur, has gotten a little exposure on Showtime’s “ShoBox: The New Generation” series but is largely unknown. He hopes to change that with a strong run in the tournament.

“I hope the best for everyone in boxing, for everyone fighting to win the Muhammad Ali Trophy in the World Boxing Super Series, because I know they are going through the same things as me, the same struggles as me,” Brant said. “I wish them the top amount of success, just not when they are facing me. I want success for myself more than anything and that is just the competitive nature in me.

“Juergen Braehmer is a veteran. He is a very good fighter. He has been in the game for so long. I am not going to be able to do anything in there that he has not seen before. He has done everything before and that has to be respected, but let us see if I can put some doubt in him. I want to beat him in every round. I want to treat every round as a fight in itself. I just have to be better and more prepared than Braehmer.”

Before Brant entered the tournament he was in position as the mandatory challenger for the winner of the secondary middleweight title fight between Ryota Murata and Hassan N’Dam in May. N’Dam ended up winning a controversial decision and a rematch was ordered, which would have further delayed Brant’s opportunity.

So the decision to move up in weight and enter the tournament looks like a wise one as it is about to begin. Greg Cohen, Brant’s promoter, is extremely confident in Brant and that was one of the reasons they opted for the tournament rather than waiting for the Murata-N’Dam winner.

“We, as a team, opted to enter the WBSS, because we felt Rob would win the whole thing,” Cohen said. “I believe he stops Braehmer and wins every round before doing so. This is the breakout opportunity he has craved for and he is 100 percent right mentally and physically.”

Cohen said he views the fight as a changing of the guard and they had no problem fighting in Braehmer’s hometown.

“Juergen Braehmer is a veteran. He is a very good fighter. He has been in the game for so long. I am not going to be able to do anything in there that he has not seen before. He has done everything before and that has to be respected, but let us see if I can put some doubt in him. I want to beat him in every round.”

Rob Brant

“You have the perfect ‘changing of the guard’ type of fight here: an undefeated young buck against an aging former champion,” he said. “Rob doesn’t care where they fight. He knows he’s got too much for Braehmer. This fight will be his formal introduction to the boxing world. He’s in top shape and ready for anything coming his way. After this fight, Rob Brant will no longer be the secret wild card of the tournament. He’s going to win the whole thing.”

Though Brant is going to Braehmer’s hometown and has vastly less experience, he is the betting favorite, likely because of his youth and the fact that Braehmer is coming off a year layoff and is near the end of his career.

“I feel I am an underdog to win this tournament, but for every fight my odds will get better,” Brant said. “After I beat Braehmer — and I am very confident I will beat Braehmer — I will move on to the next level. I am confident that I will win the entire tournament.”

Braehmer (48-3, 35 KOs), 39, is moving down in weight to return to the super middleweight division, where he has not boxed since 2007, and he is coming off a sixth-round knockout loss in which he lost his light heavyweight belt to Nathan Cleverly last October.

He said he respects Brant but believes he still has what it takes to beat top opponents.

“I have never underestimated an opponent and I will not underestimate Brant either,” he said. “Brant has won the Golden Gloves tournament as an amateur and the three other seeded fighters in the World Boxing Super Series, who could choose their opponents, obviously didn’t want him as an opponent. That speaks for itself and I am not taking anything for granted.

“I feel good, in great shape and I am ready to show that I still have what it takes to be the best. I predict a tough night for Brant.”

The Brahmer-Brant winner will advance to the semifinals in early 2018 to face Callum Smith (23-0, 17 KOs), 27, of England, who outpointed Erik Skoglund in the quarterfinals on Sept. 16.

The other semifinal will be an all-British match between world titleholder George Groves (27-3, 20 KOs), 29, and Chris Eubank Jr. (26-1, 20 KOs). Eubank, 28, won his quarterfinal match on Oct. 7 by third-round knockout of Turkey’s Avni Yildirim and Groves advanced by knocking out countryman Jamie Cox in the fourth round to retain his title on Oct. 14. The final is due to take place in May at a site to be determined.

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