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Team Sauerland

Sauerland Event History

Operating from the famous Max-Schmeling-Gym in Berlin, Sauerland Event currently manages over 30 fighters, including IBF middleweight champion Arthur Abraham, WBA heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuev, 2004 Olympic gold medal winner Alexander Povetkin as well as WBA/WBC female welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus. It was Wilfried Sauerland who ignited a true boxing boom in Germany during the nineties when he led “The Gentleman” Henry Maske to stardom. Thanks to the tireless work of General Manager Chris Meyer and Sports Director Hagen Doering, Sauerland Event these days delivers 12 first-class shows per year and has a long-term TV contract in place with German public TV giant ARD. It has turned into a global operation, with events being staged across Europe and the TV rights being distributed to over 120 countries all over the world.

Wilfried Sauerland´s success story actually started over 30 years ago. Having fallen in love with the sport as a small child when his father took him to Dortmund´s Westfalenhalle to see Heinz Neuhaus in action, September 30, 1978 eventually marked the beginning of an astonishing career – a career Sauerland had never envisioned.

In the seventies, he had successfully started his own business in Africa where he owned bottling plants with offices in Johannesburg, Lusaka, Harare, Nairobi, Lagos and Cotenou. Then something odd happened. The Zambian foreign minister Banda made a special request for him to buy one of Sauerland´s manufacturing plants. He asked the German entrepreneur, who was living in London at that time, to use his connections and look after Zambian boxer Lottie Mwale to get him international exposure. Unwilling to threaten the business deal, Sauerland agreed and promoted his first show in Lusaka on September 30, 1978, featuring Lottie Mwale.

Sauerland never looked back. Two years later, he staged his first show in Germany. In front of 600 fans in Cologne, his fighter Chisanda Mutti knocked out Uwe Meinicke in the third round. But the strong fighters from Africa, like Mwale and Uganda’s John Mugabi (who in 1989 won the WBC light-middleweight title), found it hard to attract huge crowds in Germany, leaving Sauerland in the need of local fighters. Germany´s René Weller, who later won the European lightweight title, and Manfred Jassmann soon pleased the German fans, as did Ralf and Graciano Rocchigiani, who under Sauerland won the IBF super middleweight title in 1988.

However, it was “The Gentleman” Henry Maske who then ignited a gigantic boxing boom in Germany. The fights of the IBF light heavyweight champion, who reigned from March 1993 to November 1996, as well as from heavyweight Axel Schulz generated record viewing figures for TV station RTL. Packed stadiums and reliable partners finally allowed Sauerland to make up for the financial losses he had suffered before. Things really took off from there, with boxing turning into one of the most popular sports in Germany, attracting an incredible fan interest and gigantic TV interest.

Even after the retirements of Schulz and Maske, the boom would continue. Sauerland Event moved from Cologne to Berlin, where under the guidance of head coach Ulli Wegner more than 20 boxers work out in the Max-Schmeling-Gym. Sven Ottke fascinated the German public by winning all of his 22 world title fights before retiring as the undefeated WBA/IBF super-middleweight champion in March 2004. Markus Beyer also won the WBC super-middleweight title three times. Nowadays, the likes of King Arthur Abraham, the undefeated IBF middleweight champion, WBA heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuev and 2004 Olympic gold medal winner Alexander Povetkin fascinate boxing fans all over the world. In March 2009, the “First Lady” Cecilia Braekhus – Team Sauerland´s first-ever female fighter – lived up to her billing and won the WBA/WBC female welterweight titles. Up-and-coming youngsters like European champions Marco Huck and Karo Murat as well as IBF intercontinental champion Enad Licina are certain to continue the success story in the future.

Apart from the Max-Schmeling-Gym near Berlin´s Olympic Stadium, Sauerland Event also operates gyms in Frankfurt/Oder (Manfred Wolke), Berlin-Hellersdorf (Otto Ramin) and Berlin-Marzahn (Kasten Rower).



Homage "25 Jahre Sauerland", 2005