Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Steve Cunningham defense rescheduled
By Dan Rafael
Cruiserweight titlist Steve Cunningham's postponed mandatory defense against Enad Licina was rescheduled Wednesday for Feb. 12 in Mülheim, Germany, promoter Sauerland Event announced.
Philadelphia's Cunningham (23-2, 12 KOs) was supposed to face Licina (19-2, 10 KOs) on Jan. 22 on the card, headlined by middleweight titlist Sebastian Sylvester against Mehdi Bouadla. However, the card was postponed when Sylvester withdrew a few days before the fight because of a virus.
Sylvester's bout has not been rescheduled yet, but Cunningham-Licina was moved to Sauerland's next show. The Feb. 12 card is headlined by interim cruiserweight titlist Steve Herelius (21-1-1, 12 KOs) against Yoan Pablo Hernandez (23-1, 12 KOs).
Also on the undercard is former middleweight titlist Arthur Abraham's tune-up fight before his Super Six World Boxing Classic semifinal match in May against titleholder Andre Ward. Germany's Abraham (31-2, 25 KOs), looking to end a two-fight losing streak in the tournament, will face Stjepan Bozic (24-4, 15 KOs) of Slovenia in a 10-rounder, Sauerland Event's Chris Meyer told ESPN.com.
Cunningham was already in Germany when the fight was postponed, but returned to Philadelphia to continue training.
"The small delay is no problem for me," said Cunningham, who be making the first defense of the vacant belt he regained by stopping Troy Ross in the fifth round in June. "I will be in top shape. I think Licina is a good fighter. He is not to be underestimated, and he will not [be]. He is the No. 1 contender. This is a serious level of boxing and I take him and this fight very serious."
Licina, a native of Serbia living in Germany, won a unanimous decision against Felix Cora Jr. in an eliminator in England in November.
"I have performed very well in sparring," Licina said. "That's why I go into this fight with a lot of confidence. I know that a lot of people keep underestimating me and don't think I can beat Cunningham. But everybody is beatable. Cunningham is a great champion but I will find a way to be victorious."
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.