- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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When super middleweight titlist Arthur Abraham of Germany defends his belt against England’s Paul Smith on Sept. 27 at Sparkassen-Arena in Kiel, Germany, Abraham will, of course, be the heavy crowd favorite.
But supposedly Smith (35-3, 20 KOs) has already sold some 2,000 tickets to British fans who intend to make the trip for the fight and, if you know British fans, they sure can make their presence known.
“It’s great that Smith is bringing so many fans to Kiel," Abraham, 34, said at Thursday’s kickoff news conference, where he came face to face with Smith at the arena. “English fans always create a good atmosphere -- even when they know their fighter will lose. This will be my fourth fight in Kiel and my fourth victory. Anybody who wants to celebrate with me on Sept. 27 should get their tickets now before they sell out.”
Said promoter Kalle Sauerland, who represents Abraham, “British boxers always have a great fighting spirit. Smith will try to get at Arthur from the opening bell and put him under pressure. Arthur will be aware of this and will be ready for whatever Smith has to offer. I think we could be in for a spectacular finish and another successful defense for King Arthur."
Abraham (40-4, 28 KOs) will be making his second defense since regaining the title by split decision against Robert Stieglitz in their third fight in March. A victory against Smith could set up a potential fourth match with Stieglitz, which would still be a big event in Germany.
The 31-year-old Smith has won four fights in a row since being knocked out by George Groves in the second round in a 2011 fight for the British and Commonwealth super middleweight titles.
This will be Smith’s first shot at a world title, and he is happy that he will have a cheering section in Kiel.
“It’s a dream come true to finally get my chance to fight for a world title,” Smith said. “I would like to thank Team Sauerland and my promoter, Eddie Hearn, for making this happen. I have a lot of fans traveling over to watch me become world champion, and they won’t be disappointed."
Hearn has reason to be confident in Smith’s chances to beat Abraham.
“I have worked with Kalle on two big fights recently,” Hearn said of Carl Froch-Groves II and Froch-Mikkel Kessler II, both won by Froch. “On both occasions my fighters have come out on top. It will be no different on Sept. 27."