Danish cruiserweight Micki Nielsen (25-1, 15 KOs) has been forced to withdraw from his WBO International title contest with Artur Mann (13-0, 8 KOs) on June 2 at the Swiss Life Hall in Hannover, Germany, after injuring his hand in sparring.
“I’m really disappointed,” said Nielsen. “It was an accident in sparring. I hit my opponent on the top of the hip and piece of bone came loose in my left hand. I’ve been to the hospital for X-rays, and I hope the injury won’t keep me out of the ring for long."
Mann, who headlines his hometown arena, will instead meet undefeated countryman Alexander Peil (10-0, 6 KOs) in an all-German duel for the WBO International belt.
“It’s a pity Micki got injured. I was looking forward to that fight,” said Mann. “I had prepared perfectly, but now it’s Alexander Peil who stands in my way, and the audience can now look forward to an exciting contest between two undefeated German fighters."
Despite taking the fight at late notice, both Peil and his manager Rainer Gottwald have expressed their delight at landing this title challenge at the Swiss Life Hall in Hannover.
"We’ve been wanting to fight Artur Mann for a long time and now we finally get him,” said Gottwald. “Even though the preparation time is very short for Alexander - we’ll give everything in Hanover to take the title!"
"Finally I get to fight Mann. I am very happy about that,” adds Peil, the 28 year-old from Hennef, Nordrhein-Westfalen, who returns to the ring following a first-round stoppage victory over Tibor Varga at the Ufgauhalle, Karlsruhe on March 3.
Peil is not the only fighter who can benefit from another man’s injury. Having impressed on his professional debut, Team Sauerland new boy Abass Baraou (1-0, 1 KO) has agreed to challenge Hamburg’s Denis Krieger (14-5-2, 9 KOs) for the German Super Welterweight title after Krieger’s scheduled opponent Deniz Ilbay was ruled out with a broken hand.
The 23 year-old now has the chance to collect his first title in only his second professional bout. "It’s fantastic that I should get such a big opportunity already. I’m very grateful for that and I will do my very best to win the German championship on June 2," said Baraou.
Baraou has the backing of legendary trainer Ulli Wegner, who believes within twelve-months the young talent from Aalen will be ready to compete against the World’s elite.
"We must not underestimate Denis Krieger, but Abass was European Champion in the amateurs and he already has the quality needed to fight for the German championship," said the 76 year-old star coach. "This is the start of big things for Abass. I am sure that after one year, he will be ready to fight the best in the World."
Said promoter Nisse Sauerland: "I would like to wish Micki Nielsen and Deniz Ilbay speedy recoveries. It’s unfortunate to lose two fighters to hand injuries in this way, but we’re delighted to have secured top-level replacements. Artur Mann will face an undefeated opponent in Alexander Peil, while Abass Baraou can write history by challenging Denis Krieger for the German Super Welterweight title in just his second professional fight."