November 24, 1999
Dr. Vitali Klitschko vs. Chris Byrd
WBO Heavyweight World Championship
April 1, Estrel Convention Center, Berlin
Sat.1 22:20 (German time), HBO (11pm ET)
Berlin - March 28, 2000. When Dr. Vitali Klitschko will make the third defense of his WBO heavyweight world title against the skillful American southpaw Chris Byrd on Saturday the undercard will present four German fighters, each of them undefeated and top rated.
Luan Krasniqi, 13-0 (5 KOs), a German who lives in Rottweil since his childhood, will take on former French champion Antoine Palatis, 23-11-2 (12 KOs), in a heavyweight contest over eight rounds. The 28-year-old Krasniqi turned pro after winning bronze at the 1996 Olympic games of Atlanta where he was unable to compete against Felix Savon in the semi finals due to an eye injury.
The 26-year-old Mario Veit, 27-0 (15 KOs), is ranked #7 by the IBF and #1 by the WBO in the super middleweight division making him the mandatory challenger of champion Joe Calzaghe. The two may clash later this year. In Berlin Veit will face 25-year-old Englishman Mark Smallwood, 15-2 (6 KOs). The 6-foot-4 Veit is international German champion and holds the WBO intercontinental title.
Welterweight contender Michel Trabant, 30-0 (13 KOs), is another undefeated German who is in position for a world title shot this year. The 21-year-old Trabant is ranked #5 by the WBA and #1 by the WBO. Champion of the World Boxing Organization is Russian Ahmed Kotiev who like Trabant is managed by Universum Box-Promotion. On April 1st Trabant will step into the ring against American Kevin Payne, 11-2-1 (5 KOs). Trabant is the current German and WBO intercontinental champion at welterweight.
The fourth undefeated prospect fighting on Saturday is German light heavyweight champion Thomas Ulrich, 16-0 (13 KOs). The handsome and crowd pleasing Ulrich will fight for the vacant WBO intercontinental title against unbeaten 28-year-old American Cleveland Nelson, 13-0 (5 KOs), from Detroit. The 24-year-old Ulrich captured bronze at the 1996 Olympic games of Atlanta. He is currently ranked #9 by the WBC and #6 by the WBO.