Rocky Fielding (26-1) challenges Tyron Zeuge (22-0-1) for his WBA World super-middleweight title on July 14 in Offenburg.
The former British, Commonwealth and WBC International champion has impressed against top domestic rivals John Ryder and David Brophy recently while awaiting his world title opportunity.
The 30-year-old Liverpudlian now goes into hostile territory to the Berlin champion’s backyard in the ‘Fatherland’ against a man who captured the WBA belt with a 12th-round knockout over Giovanni De Carolis in November 2016.
This will be Zeuge’s fourth defence of his title and the second Brit to challenge him, having previously recorded a unanimous points win over Paul Smith Jr in Wetzlar last June.
TALE OF THE TAPE
Rocky Fielding Tyron Zeuge
Age: 30 Age: 26
Height: 6’ Height: 5’10 ½”
Fights: 26 Fights: 23
Won: 25 Won: 22
KO’s: 14 KO’s: 12
Lost: 1 Lost: 0
Drawn: 0 Drawn: 1
KO %: 52 KO%: 52
Rounds: 123 Rounds: 159
Titles: 7 Titles: 4
Rocky has racked up five straight wins since his devasting first-round KO loss to Callum Smith. That contest was viewed by many as a 50-50 fight between two unbeaten prospects, but Smith proved to be a class above and completely blew him away. The first right hand that landed took him off his feet and although he fought back bravely, that right hand from Smith decked him every time it connected.
He has since come back stronger from that loss and showed his durability and mental strength to jump straight back in the ring with European champion Christopher Rebrasse to win the WBC International super-middleweight title. However, it was a split decision verdict to Rocky so it’s worth noting that Smith won every round against Rebrasse in their earlier meeting.
He then landed the British belt against the skillful John Ryder, which is a very fine scalp to have on his record. Again, it went to a split decision verdict, so he won that belt by the narrowest of margins too.
In his next fight from there, he added the Commonwealth strap to his collection with a blistering first-round finish of David Brophy. Rocky told everyone he would knock him out and he lived up to his promise, but Brophy is only domestic level fighter.
Rocky is big and strong and can hit hard and is enjoying a good run of form since his Smith defeat. He didn’t allow that loss to define him so I admire his tenacity and determination to kick on in his career.
Zeuge is the defending champion and has the home advantage in a place notorious for it’s homebased decisions. He can box very well, has a sharp jab, counters quickly, can get in and out of range swiftly and intelligently, and can throw some nice combos.
He doesn’t have a great deal of power in his hands and is always there in front of his opponent, only ever taking half a step back at the most. This should suit Rocky, who will be looking to land heavy shots, but timing and speed will be the decisive factors in getting the better of these inevitable exchanges.
I can see this fight being played out in the centre of the squared circle with neither fighter wanting to give up ground. I believe that Rocky’s best chance of a win is to overwhelm Zeuge early in the fight and try to land those vicious hooks of his, but once it gets past the midway point, I think his chance of winning would have evaporated.
If Rocky can land heavily on Zeuge early then I predict an early KO win for the Brit, but once it reaches the fifth and sixth rounds, then I think Zeuge’s superior skill will take over and head towards a points win.
However, with the style of these two fighters in mind, it could also play out to be a bloody war in the middle of the ring with the speedier Zeuge getting the better of the exchanges and winning early if he lands cleanly and frequently enough.
This is the first step up to world level for the British and Commonwealth titlist who has previously beaten European champions and will be taking this opportunity with both hands, but his opponent has been operating at world level for the past two years and five fights so has the upper hand in experience.
If you like good odds then bet on Rocky to win in the first half of the fight, but if you’re a bit more sensible then go with your head for a Zeuge points win.