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Bert Schenk wants to become the first Middleweight Champion out of Germany

Bert Schenk (Germany) vs. Freeman Barr (Bahamas)
For the vacant WBO Middleweight Championship
30 January 1999
Stadthalle Cottbus, Germany

Author: Fabian Weber

(Hamburg, 8 January 1999) For more than 59 years no German boxer has fought for the world middleweight championship. And even though Germany experiences a boxing boom for five years and currently has six world title holders with German licenses, the middleweight division has remained uninteresting - so far.

On 30 January the 28 year old Bert Schenk wants to change that, when he fights against American Freeman Barr for the vacant WBO title at 160 pounds (72,574 kg). The title was vacated by Otis Grant, who gave up the belt in order to challenge light heavyweight champion Roy Jones Jr. last year. According to the WBO rules the highest ranked and willing contenders have to fight for the vacant title then. These are Bert Schenk (WBO #1) and Freeman Barr (WBO #3).

Schenk, the German middleweight champion, is undefeated in 21 fights with 11 knockouts. "I feel mature for this fight", the man from Berlin explained confidently. "I'm going to use this chance of a lifetime. I'm sure it's a positive omen that the fight will take place in Cottbus, because this is where I had my pro debut."

His opponent Freeman "The Natural" Barr was born 25 years ago in Pleasant Bay on the Bahamas and now lives in Naples, Florida. Freeman Barr has won 18 of his 19 contests, 9 of them inside the distance. The native Caribbean suffered his single defeat in November of 1996, when Mexican Rito Ruvalcaba stopped him in the 8th round by a technical knockout.

Freeman Barr has won middleweight titles of IBC and IBO and is currently on a seven fight winning streak. Having fought during his whole career either in Florida or on the Bahamas this will be Barr's first excursion to Europe.

Should Bert Schenk be able to defeat Barr he would become the first world middleweight champion from Germany ever. German-Jewish refugee Erich Seelig was stopped in the first round by American Al Hostak in 1939 in Cleveland, Ohio for the NBA Middleweight title.Gerhard Hecht beat reigning champion Sugar Ray Robinson by disqualification in a nontitle fight in 1951, although that result was later purportedly changed to a no-contest by the Commision in Berlin.


Fabian Weber
International Press Spokesman
Universum Box-Promotion GmbH
Am Stadtrand 27
22047 Hamburg
Tel: +49 40 696559-0
Fax:+49 40 696559-50

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