Promoter Nisse Sauerland gives Boxing Social’s Luke G. Williams his thoughts on what the future holds for three of the most talented fighters in the Sauerland Promotion stable – Filip Hrgovic, Abass Baraou and Sophie Alisch…

It’s a frustrating time for boxing promoters right now, as they battle with the negative consequences that successive Covid-19 induced lockdowns have engendered.

Sauerland Promotion – one of the powerhouses of the European boxing scene – are a case in point.

Nisse Sauerland – who leads the company his father founded while brother Kalle is engaged with World Boxing Super Series business – admits that promoting in the company’s usual base of Germany is well-nigh impossible right now.

“In Germany you can’t promote at the moment,” Nisse said, with a sigh. “There’s a gym show happening but it’s all totally locked down. No crowd. And they [the authorities] could come along and cancel a fight on the day. It’s just a waiting game. I think we’re at the end of it though and this should be the last lockdown we have. But let’s see!”

Sauerland has asked its stable of fighters to stay by the phone in a state of readiness for when the lockdowns finally do ease.

After firstly giving Boxing Social the lowdown on new signing Chris Eubank Jr, Nisse then proceeded to give his thoughts on the future for three of his most talented fighters – Abass Baraou, Sophie Allisch and Filip Hrgovic.

“Abass is moving to the UK full time,” Sauerland said of the Berlin-born super-welterweight prospect of Togoese extraction. “He’s been training with Adam Booth. Adam wants to get him a couple more fights before we move on to another big one.”

After an accomplished amateur career, which included World Championship bronze and European gold in 2017, Baraou has been fast-tracked to world level in double quick time since turning over in 2018.

He won the German super-welter title in his second pro bout and beat former IBF world title holder Carlos Molina and ex-IBO ruler Ali Funeka in his fifth and sixth paid starts respectively.

Although Baraou lost his unbeaten record last August after dropping a debatable split decision to Jack Culcay, Sauerland remains upbeat about his long-term prospects. (Baraou is now 9-1, with 6 KOs).

“He would take the Culcay rematch tomorrow with the right judges,” Sauerland stressed. “That was just his tenth fight and, the way I see it, we were the winners there. Abass is more known because of that debatable decision than if he’d got the result.

“Let’s also not forget that Culcay is a world-class fighter. He gave [Demetrius] Andrade a very good fight and he almost beat [Sergiy] Derevyancheko. He’s world class and I believe Abass beat him in just his tenth fight. The sky’s the limit for Abass. He’s supremely talented and with the link-up with Adam he can become a world champion.”

We next turn our attention to Croatian powerhouse Filip Hrgovic, who Nisse says is looking to move into a higher class soon. The 2016 Olympic bronze medallist is currently 12-0 (with 10 KOs) and last fought in November.

“Filip is traning at the moment in Croatia,” Nisse said. “He’s ready. I believe he’ll be fighting in March and I think it will be another step up. We’ve said all along that we’ll fight people like [Martin] Bakole or [Sergey] Kuzmin, all of them. But it’s about risk and reward and I get it from their side. It needs to make sense from a business point of view. We’re hoping for a step-up for the next fight.”

Hrgovic’s fellow Croatian Alen Babic has made some insulting noises about his countryman, but Nisse insists that a Croatian grudge match between the duo is not presently on the cards.

“Honestly, we tried to get that fight and were told Babic is a while off it. I think he’s quietened down lately. They’re talking about Babic versus David Price. I think Price knocks him out. I’ve no problems with Babic – I know he needs to promote himself by using Filip’s name.

“He’s trying to build himself, but from what we’ve seen – when push comes to shove – he doesn’t want the Hrgovic fight and I don’t blame him. He’s a year off it. Personally, I think Pricey’s a step too far for him. Having said that I thought Tom Little would be too much for him and he proved me wrong.”

Finally, women’s boxing has enjoyed a growth in profile during the pandemic and Nisse is confident that in 18-year-old Sophie Alisch, Sauerland has “the most talented up and coming female boxer in the world” on its books.
“She can do it all and she’s only 18,” he says with awe. “Within a year or so she’ll be challenging for a world title.”

Alisch is currently 6-0, 1 KO and last fought in September.

Here’s hoping that she – as well as other fighters from the Sauerland stable and the world of boxing as a whole – are back in action soon.