Danish super middleweight Patrick Nielsen (28-1, 14 KOs) makes his long awaited return to the ring on Saturday night when he takes on Colombian southpaw Beibi Berrocal (17-3, 16 KOs) at the Struer Energi Park in Denmark.
Nielsen last fought in December 2015, stopping bitter rival Rudy Markussen in the third-round of their high profile domestic showdown. Following this fight, the 25 year-old was on the cusp of a World title challenge when a hand injury forced him to withdraw from a scheduled bout in May and left him sidelined for the rest of the year.
Speaking at a press conference today in Copenhagen, Nielsen says he feels better than ever and has promised to make a triumphant return in Struer.
‘’After a year out, I’m really looking forward to fighting again,’’ he said. ‘’I feel that I’ve matured a lot during this time and people can expect to see a new and improved Patrick Nielsen in the ring on Saturday night. I’ve had some tough sparring and my training has all gone to plan. This is a very important fight for me as I want to remind everybody of what I can do and show I’m ready for bigger challenges in 2017.’’
Standing in Nielsen’s way is the big punching 29 year-old Beibi Berrocal, who is looking for a statement win of his own, and has warned he has the power to cut short the Danish fighter’s World title aspirations.
‘’Patrick is a strong opponent, but I’m well prepared and I’ve come here to win,’’ said Berrocal. ‘’I never enter a fight looking for the knock out, but if the opportunity comes, I will take it. I know I have the power to hurt Patrick Nielsen, and if I connect, it could be an early night.’’
In a co-featured main event rising super bantamweight star Dina Thorslund (7-0, 5 KOs) meets Xenia Jorneac (7-1, 2 KOs) for the WBC Youth World title. Having taken the division by storm, the 23 year-old will attempt to claim her first championship belt when she fights for the first time at her hometown arena.
‘’I am very happy to be fighting for my first title and to do it at home in Struer makes it extra special,’’ said Thorslund. ‘’I feel that the whole town is behind me and they will cheer me to victory on Saturday. I’m very confident and hope this is the first of many title fights for me.’’
On the undercard, Mikkel Kessler trained middleweight, Abdul Khattab (15-1, 4 KOs) takes on ‘The Dane Slayer’ Arman Torosyan (17-3-1, 14 KOs). The Copenhagen boxer will attempt to avenge defeats to countrymen Torben Keller and Reda Zam Zam, who were both stopped by the German fighter on home soil.
‘’Arman will not defeat another Dane,’’ said Khattab. ‘’I am in the shape of my life and I will be too strong and too smart for him. I will get revenge for Torben and Reda Reda.’’
Promoter Nisse Sauerland praised Saturday’s Nordic Fight Night card and issued a rallying cry for Nielsen, who he says must prove himself after a year out of the ring.
‘’This is the first Nordic Fight Night of the New Year and we are back with a bang! We have a great card lined up and the fans in Struer and those watching at home can look forward to an exciting night of boxing,’’ said Sauerland.
‘’For me, it is important that Patrick not only wins but that he delivers an outstanding performance. After a year out of the spotlight, he needs to reclaim his spot at the top, and prove to himself, his fans and to us that he is ready for the bigger challenges that await.’’