Boxing is cruel. For the few fighters who make it to the very top of the game there are many more left behind attempting to scratch out a living by filling some kind of role within the sport. Some boxers, as is the case with the subject of this interview, don’t even get the opportunity to experience high profile nights or enjoy the spoils of big paydays as an injury puts an end to their hopes and dreams suddenly and unexpectedly.
Tobias Kuehnauer turned pro in 2015 and was 1-1-0 when he was forced to stop due to a serious injury. I was made aware of Tobias after a friend of mine met him by chance while he was visiting Glasgow in June. My quick thinking pal took Kuehnauer’s details in case I would be interested in asking him a few questions about his boxing career and beyond. Tobias was obliging and here is the result.
CM: Hi Tobias, can you let the readers know about your history in boxing from when you started right up until you decided to turn pro?
TK: I started boxing when I was seven years old. I was inspired by my parents who knew one of the best German fighters, Graciano “Rocky” Rocchigiani, and took me to all of his fights. Then I became Berlin vice champion when I was ten years old. I decided to change to Thai-boxing and trained with a professional trainer from Thailand four times a week. After that there was a break where I became pretty serious about skateboarding. But after all the years of spending my time in the gyms I decided to become a professional boxer. We knew a lot of professionals and they said it didn’t matter that I hadn’t been an amateur. They advised that I should become a professional boxer immediately – so I did.
CM: BoxRec tells me that you have a 1-1 record as a pro, both bouts being back in 2015. Talk about the fights you had and then what happened.
TK: I started my professional career with a fight in Wismar, Germany. I won by TKO in the first round. It was a good performance. After that I wanted to fight again very soon. I trained for my second fight and everything went very well. The fight was going well for me and I was preparing to win. I wanted to deliver a knockout punch but my shoulder was very badly injured, forcing me to retire in the second round, and I was taken to hospital. The doctors checked me and said the shoulder is very badly damaged and that it would be impossible to fight again as a professional. It was also not possible to fix my shoulder in surgery.
CM: How did you feel as the doctors were giving you this news and did it take you a while to accept that your days boxing as a pro were over?
TK: It was a great shock for me and I had problems coming to terms with it. It took a long time to accept that my career as a pro was finished. My father has very good contacts in England and I would’ve had the opportunity to be in very good fights against English pros. Because of the injury all of this was no longer possible.
CM: Any interesting sparring stories from your days in the ring?
TK: I remember the sparring for my first fight in Wismar. I was ill a few days before and had a high temperature. That could have gone wrong for me because it is not a good plan to train hard when you are ill. You make such mistakes when you are young and want to become a champion. Now I would never do anything like this again.
CM: You’re now a trainer in Northern Germany. Tell us a bit about your gym. Do you train all comers? What are participation numbers like?
TK: I am a trainer for boxing and Thai-boxing at the gym YU-SPORTS in Kiel, Northern Germany. The gym opened in August 2014. They also offer Taekwondo and K1 training and have about 250 members. My group is still growing and many boxers from other gyms want to train with me. My training sessions are very hard and I show the customers how to fight hard and well.
CM: Do you still follow boxing as a fan?
TK: I often attend professional boxing cards. Recently I was in Wetzlar for the fight between Paul Smith and world champion Tyron Zeuge. My father is friends with Paul. I know Tyron well as we started boxing together in Berlin when we were seven years old.
CM: Finally, from being involved in the German boxing scene, are there any good up and coming fighters that we should look out for?
TK: It’s difficult to say if there are upcoming fighters for the world boxing scene. I will do my best as a trainer to create a “home made” champion.