Robin Krasniqi (49-5, 17 KO) defends his claim to the European super middleweight title against Stefan Haertel (17-1, 2 KO) in an all-domestic matchup from Germany. Originally set to face each other last November, the two finally square off on May 11.
Krasniqi, a 32-year-old Kosovan based in Munich, has won three fights in a row and six of his last seven since a loss to Arthur Abraham in another German showcase. He’s longer in the tooth than the 31-year-old Haertel but lacks the pedigree of his younger counterpart.
Haertel, of Berlin, is known for reaching the quarterfinals of the London 2012 Olympic Games. He then turned his focus on the professional ranks. Turning pro in 2014, he reeled off 15 straight victories before jumping up to 175 pounds in March 2018, suffering the first loss of his career in the form of a contested split-decision. The 31-year-old technician leveled back down to super middleweight and capped off the year right with back-to-back victories.
Both men will be proud to represent Deutschland.
Krasniqi vs. Haertel Betting Odds
Heading into the weekend, Krasniqi is a heavy favorite (-950, Bovada) to win while Haertel sits at +575 dog odds to turn in an upset.
TV: MDR Fernsehen (VPN required)
Time: 22:35 local (4:35 p.m. ET)
All Krasniqi had to do to fight for a world championship was win 38 consecutive bouts, meeting Nathan Cleverly in 2012 for the WBO light heavyweight title. In London, Krasniqi proved no match for the slippery Welshman, losing by a wide decision. Another loss to world champion Juergen Braehmer proved Krasniqi was a notch below world level. But the defeat also convinced the rangy German puncher that he’s better suited for the super middleweight ranks
Krasniqi, born with the first name Haxhi, has lost just once since dropping to 168 pounds (to Abraham) and enjoyed a successful time winning minor and regional belts—headlining shows all over Germany. He rebounded from that loss to go 3-0 in 2018, picking up the European title in the process and defending it once. The judges, though, were kind to him against Stas Kasthanov, a Ukrainian-born Russian brawler. Krasniqi boxed well, potshotting his way to an early lead over Kasthanov before the visiting fighter stormed back to steal the latter stages of the bout. The Russian transplant would storm right out of the ring when Krasniqi was announced the winner by a large margin.
The EBU beltholder was more convincing last time out against Ronny Landaeta. He turned away the visiting Spaniard unanimously, knocking Landaera down early and fighting him off as the challenger led with his head. Krasniqi’s cardio was on display, never slowing down, having trained for 12-rounders since 2011 when Haertel was competing in a singlet.
The same night Krasniqi lifted the European strap, Haertel was on the undercard decisioning an unheralded opponent over eight rounds. And he hasn’t fought since. Top 15 in the world according to the WBO at the beginning of 2019, inactivity cost him his world rating. Naturally ripping the EBU title from his veteran countryman would place him back among the division’s best.
The lone loss of Haertel’s career came at the hands of a southpaw by name of Adam Deines, who has yet to lose in his career. He lost by split-decision but it was a pick ‘em fight for the better part of the action until the final three rounds where Deines began driving Haertel into the ropes with punches. Like most nights, Haertel was supremely accurate fighting behind a cultured lead left hand. But he doesn’t have the power to keep his opponents honest. The German didn’t punch in a TKO until his 13th pro fight and now 18 bouts in, only holds two knockouts to his name. The ringside panel obviously appreciated Deines’ attack and turned in a points loss for Haertel.
However, in his previous fight before taking on Deines, the judges clearly showed Haertel too much leniency as he was lucky to defeat former Olympian Viktor Polyakov. The older German overpowered Haertel throughout their 10-round contest only to be robbed by the powers that be.
Krasniqi vs. Haertel Money Play
Oddsmakers surely had Krasniqi’s experience in mind when setting the line. But 14 years into a professional career, the 32-year-old could grow old over night—as the elder are wont to do in this unforgiving sport.
Some coin on Haertel pulling off an upset could be worth it.
After all, Haertel is a younger, smoother boxer and an expert in mid-range. And for lacking an equalizer punch, he is surprisingly dedicated body puncher, continually plugging a lead left hook into his target’s rib cage off of his jab. He won’t stop his man this weekend but if he does flip the odds, a decision is how he’ll do it which can be found as high as +750 over at bet365 or straight up at 5dimes for +700.
All told, Krasniqi is the harder hitter here, to be sure, but lacks a killer instinct. He has a mean overhand right, but he fights from the outside-in, relying on singular shots. He was complacent jogging off the final couple rounds in his last two outings.
This fight is guaranteed to see all 12 rounds. Paddy Power offers the fight going the distance at ¼ or -400. Bovada does the same at one-to-four odds. It’s a lock.
Play: Fight to go the distance