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Groenwald: 'Its my destiny to become world champion'

By Clive Bernath: Never underestimate the power of the worldwide web. No sooner had our Australian Contributing Editor Paul Upham posted his article informing of the withdrawal of Danny Green from his October 23 clash with fellow contender and WBC No.1 Scott Pemberton last weekend, than London based super-middleweight Ruben Groenwald emailed SecondsOut offering to face Pemberton instead.

The 27 year-old from Brakpan in South Africa has only fought twice since dropping a split decision to Anthony Farnell in September 2002 and is desperate to break into the world super-middleweight rankings. The very likable and cheerful Afrikaner puts the rematch defeat to the now retired Farnell, down to struggling to make weight, and claims there is no super-middleweight in the world that he cannot handle-including the top four champions, Mikkel Kessler(WBA),Jeff, Markus Beyer (WBC)and Joe Calzaghe (WBO).

"I really do not like making excuses but I really was struggling to make the weight against Farnell," insisted Groenwald. "But the fight was a good opportunity for me so I took it. I walk around at about 12st 5lbs so super-middleweight suits me."

"It has been very difficult for me to get fights since then (Farnell)," added a frustrated Groenwald. "So when I read that story about Green on SecondsOut I thought I'd drop you guys a line. I'll jump in and fight any one of these guy's and beat them all, honestly. You know I don't like all this calling out of fighter's thing but I honestly believe I can beat all the top guy's out there. Jeff Lacy, Markus Beyer, Joe Calzaghe or Mikkel Kessler. Believe me man its nothing personal, Mikkel (Kessler) is a good friend, we have sparred many times and I have even been to his mother's house but trust me I would beat him. I do know what I'm talking about I just need the opportunity."

Groenwald, who boasts a mediocure record of 19-4-3-(7), has predominantly been forced to make a living as a sparring partner over the last couple of years, and believes all the rounds he has totted up against the top fighters in the division has stood him in good stead and provided him with invaluable experience. "You must believe me," continued Groenwald. "When I say I know how to beat Kessler and Markus Beyer. I have had to make ends meet sparring but I am no sparring partner I can match these guys.

"You know when you're a champion you should fight everyone and that includes me. I have Kessler's and Beyer's number, man and they know it. Markus is a great guy as well but this is business. I have great respect for Mikkel and Markus outside the ring but inside I have no respect for no one. All I ask is a reasonable amount of notice."

The 27 year-old former WBU champgrew up in Brakpan, South Africa and fought there 13 times before coming to London and dropping a 12 round decision to Delroy Leslie for the WBF middleweight title in March 2000. Two more wins back home in Brakpan followed before Groenwald decided to base himself in London for the foreseeable future. It was not long before the South African got an unexpected break in June 2001 by unanimously out-pointing Anthony Farnell in an upset in front of thousands of the Mancunian's hostile fans at the MEN Arena in Manchester. Success was short lived, however, when Farnell gained revenge by clinching a split decision in the rematch.

Since then Groenwald has fought just twice, partly due to contractual problems and partly because, Groenwald believes, British promoters will not risk there up and coming stars against such a dangerous opponent. He may have a point. One opponent that did face Groenwald though was former European super-middleweight champion Danilo Haussler, who out-pointed him over eight rounds in October 2004.

"Believe me, I beat Haussler, no doubt," insists Groenwald. "They (judges) had him win by unanimous decision but the crowd knew who really won. I begged the promoters for a rematch but not surprisingly they refused."

On previous performances it would appear Groenwald would indeed fall some way short, having not fought at the highest level but he believes family tragedy and an incredible will to win will eventually allow him to realise his dream and win a recognised version of the world title.

"You know it is my destiny to become a genuine world champion," said Groenwald. "You know god took my twelve year-old brother Lionel away in a car accident before I was born. God replaced him with me. My father used to tell me what a wonderful boxer he was and how he would have been a world champion one day. Now I must become champion for my brother."

[September 5, 2005]

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