Starie faces biggest test
BIRTHDAY boy David Starie has the perfect present in his sights.The Suffolk boxer, 29 today, intends being crowned WBA and IBF world super middleweight champion at the weekend.
By Mel Henderson
BIRTHDAY boy David Starie has the perfect present in his sights.
The Suffolk boxer, 29 today, intends being crowned WBA and IBF world super middleweight champion at the weekend.
But former British and Commonwealth title-holder Starie will have to succeed where 30 other fighters have failed, and send Sven Ottke crashing to his first-ever defeat, in Magdeburg on Saturday night.
Local hero Ottke, 36, has only stepped into the ring once outside his native Germany and that was in neighbouring Austria in 1997.
Six of his 30 wins have come inside the distance and, when he beat Byron Mitchell in Berlin three months ago, he added the WBA crown to the IBF title he captured in October 1998.
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"No one should be under any illusions about how good this guy is," said Starie's trainer and manager, Gordon Holmes, today. "David has a mountain to climb.
"Ottke has all the faculties you would expect of a world champ. But so has David – and he's a good bit younger. That could be the key on the night.
"It will certainly have played a part in Ottke's preparation. He is too professional not to have taken that into account."
Starie is keen to make the most of this unexpected chance, which only came his way four weeks ago.
Having lost his last fight, when he surprisingly surrendered his Commonwealth crown to the unfancied Andre Thysse in Carnival City, South Africa, in March, he could hardly have anticipated an opportunity to seize two world titles at once.
But despite stepping in at short notice, Holmes insisted Starie is well prepared for the formidable challenge of ending Ottke's unbeaten reign in Saturday's 12-rounder.
He added: "The training went brilliantly and the sparring has been excellent – in fact, everything has been perfect.
"There is no reason why David can't be at his very best on the night. He's in as good shape as he could have wished and if he's in the zone on Saturday he will do the job."
Starie and his entourage were up in the middle of the night to leave Elmswell at 4.30am this morning in readiness for a 7.30am flight from Stansted.
Upon arrival in Magdeburg he was whisked straight into a press conference, followed by a public workout.
Weigh-ins are scheduled for Friday and again on the day of the fight, due to be screened live on Sky Sports 1 from 10pm on Saturday.
Venue is the 7,000-capacity Bordelandhalle in Magdeburg, where Ottke has successfully defended his IBF crown on six occasions.