Super middleweight titlist Arthur Abraham, who claimed his belt in August, will return in relatively short order to make his first defense against Mehdi Bouadla on Dec. 15 in Nuremberg, Germany, promoter Sauerland Event announced Tuesday.
Abraham claimed his 168-pound belt on Aug. 25, winning a competitive unanimous decision against Robert Stieglitz in front of a crowd of about 14,000 in Berlin in one of Germany's most significant fights of the year.
The victory was a big rebound for Abraham, a former middleweight titleholder who had been a washout in the 2009-to-2011 Super Six World Boxing Classic super middleweight tournament, in which he went 1-3 against the elite of the division.
After the tournament, the 32-year-old Abraham won two fights in the division this year against lesser opponents to set up the shot at Stieglitz. Now Abraham (35-3, 27 KOs) of Germany will face Bouadla (26-4, 11 KOs) of France.
"It was such a relief after I won the title against Robert Stieglitz," Abraham said. "There were quite a few experts who said I wouldn't be able to become the super middleweight champion. Now I have to prove that I deserve to be at the top. I cannot afford to be complacent when I take on Mehdi Bouadla."
"Lately, Arthur Abraham showed what he can do as a super middleweight," Sauerland Event managing director Chris Meyer said. "Now, in Mehdi Bouadla, he has someone in front of him who has the willpower to take advantage of this chance."
The 30-year-old Bouadla's résumé is thin, and he lost the only time he faced a top-10 opponent, getting knocked out in the sixth round by former three-time titleholder (and Super Six participant) Mikkel Kessler in June 2011 in Denmark. Kessler was coming off a 14-month layoff because of an injury, yet had little issue in dismissing Bouadla.
Since the loss to Kessler, Bouadla has won four bouts in a row.
"Of course, Arthur is the favorite. He is the world champion," said Ulli Wegner, Abraham's trainer.
However, Wegner is also eager for Abraham not to be too confident.
"Bouadla shouldn't be underestimated," he said. "He is one of these guys who is always looking to get at his opponent. He also has a lot of heart. Arthur will have to be very careful."