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November 2002
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Interview with Markus Beyer
By Uwe Betker

Originally, Markus Beyer was to fight for the world championship in super middleweight on December 7 in Leipzig. However, the fight was cancelled because his opponent, the Canadian Eric Lucas had fallen sick of thyrotoxicosis. Beyer will now fight for the interim world championship against the British David Starie. Should Lucas take longer to recover the interim title will be changed into the world championship title. Beyer talked to Uwe Betker about the forthcoming fight, the loss of his title and the long way back to the top.

You were Lucas' mandatory challenger and had prepared to fight for the world championship. Instead, you will now box David Starie for the interim world championship. How does it feel, when shortly before the most important fight of one's entire carreer, the opponent falls ill and the title, which had been in such a close reach, disappears again in the far distance?
Of course, I do not wish such an illness on anybody. But for me it's not a pleasant situation. The first days I was quite pissed. But then, that doesn't help the situation. You have to get yourself together and concentrate on the next match.

Do you find it difficult to adjust to your new opponent?
That actually isn't much of a problem. I was an amateur for a long time. In those times I never knew who my next opponent would be. There was always enough time to get prepared. Of course, I had prepared myself for Lucas, especially psychologically. Psychologically, I was ready to fight for the world championship. That is more the problem, not the opponent.

What can you say about the weaknesses and the strong points of Starie?
It won't be a pleasure to box him. He is what we call a stinker. But then, you have to take the opponents as they come.

Have you already planned on a strategy?
I will box my style and force my fight upon him. This way I will prevail against him.

What do you expect from your fight against Starie?
To win. That is the basic condition.

On March 9, 2002 you defended your WBC Intercontinental title successfully against Antoine Robinson. At the same event in Frankfurt, Danilo Häussler defended his title as European champion against Glenn Catley. What were your feelings when you saw Catley who, after all, had dethroned you as super middleweight WBC champion?
I have no problems with that. In fact, we are very good friends. When we see each other, we embrace. After the fight we sat together till 6 in the morning. We are really good friends. I know what it was that I lacked in my bout against him. I know the problems that I had. They are gone now. It had nothing to do with the fight. Now is a different time. It wasn't Catley's fault that I lost against him. He just did his job.

What kind of problems are you referring to?
Injuries. Six weeks before the fight I had to undergo an eye operation. At the time of the fight I hadn't yet quite healed. So, the preparatory training had been hampered. Also, there was another, although smaller, problem: I had been notified only five minutes before the fight actually started and immediately put on my gloves. I hadn't had the time for a warm-up and I think this is why I kind of slept through the first three or four rounds.

Do you think that Catley and you will meet again in the ring?
It's possible. I wouldn't rule it out. After all, he continues with his career just as I do. So, you can never know.

It has been said that your KO victory against Robinson was a particularly important fight. What do you say yourself to that?
Particularly important, no, I wouldn't say that. It helped me gain self-confidence though. I think that I performed quite well, but I wouldn't say that the fight was a turning point in my career.

After the fights that followed you made some critical comments on your performance. You didn't seem satisfied with yourself. Did you find it difficult to get in step again or had you become more critical?
I have always been very self-critical. In fact, I am my biggest critic. I don't see why, if I lose a fight, I should look the reason elsewhere. Primarily, the reason is always me. Ok, there are influences from outside, but it is I standing in the ring. It is I who has to fight. I must defend myself. I set the standard for the fight and not anybody else. Yes, I am self-critical. This is why sometimes I made some comments in that line. When I am not satisfied with myself I do that even after I have won a fight.

Until the Catley bout you had been undefeated. How does one cope with such an overthrow?
Actually, that passed quite quickly. I knew what had been the cause. My girlfriend helped me a lot in that time. In the first days she screened me from outside contacts, like the telephone. She took care of everything and let me come to myself. At the same time she informed me about everything that went on. This way everything went over quickly. Later, my trainer and I discussed very calmly what had happened.

Has your attitude towards boxing changed by that fight?
It has taught me something - you shouldn't take everything that is written and said about you so personal. This is certainly something that has stayed with me. As for my attitude, I have become even more scrupulous in my training.

Your team mate Sven Ottke who trains together with you in the same gym and has the same trainer is IBF world champion. Another team mate, Danilo Häussler, is European champion. Could you conceive a fight against one of them? Would it matter to you that you are team mates?
No way, first of all, my manager would not allow such a fight. Against Sven in no case because we share the same trainer. And neither against Danilo, simply because we box for the same promoter. Why should a manager play out his trump cards against each other?

Is there something like rivalry between boxers of the same weight class who fight for the same promoter?
Yes, there is a healthy competition. We get on well with each other, in a very normal way. It's our job. Everybody does his part. There is neither jealousy nor grudge.

What are your wishes for the future?
First, to become world champion. After that - defend my title.

Does the verdict Graciano Rocchigiani against the WBC affect you personally?
I hope not. I hope that the sentence needs some time to be put into effect. Because, it might well be that after that the WBC ceases to exist. Of course, on the other hand, I don't begrudge it to Rocky.


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