BERLIN (AFP) – Super-middleweight champion Robert Stieglitz is wary of Japanese challenger Yuzo Kiyota's aggressive style ahead of Saturday's world title fight.
The 29-year-old Kiyota faces Stieglitz in his first professional bout outside of Japan in Dresden for the German world champion's WBO super-middleweight belt.
Kiyota raised a few eyebrows by turning up to the pre-fight press conference wearing a surgical mask, but explained he was concerned about picking up any illness before his title bout.
"It's common for Japanese athletes to protect themselves from infection. That's why I wear the mask," he told fightnews.com.
"Robert Stieglitz boxes very fast. He's a good fighter. I want to win this fight with a knockout."
Despite 21 knock-outs in 23 victories and three defeats, Kiyota is untested at this level and his last bout against an experienced fighter resulted in a first-round technical knock-out against Jameson Bostic of the USA in 2010.
Stieglitz regained his super-middleweight title he lost on a unanimous decision in August 2012 when he enjoyed a fourth-round technical knock-out against compatriot Arthur Abraham in the rematch last March.
The 2012 defeat to Abraham was the 32-year-old champion's only loss in the last four years and having won 44 of his 47 professional fights, Stieglitz said he will prove himself against Kiyota.
"The Abraham fight has clearly shown who the true champion is," said Stieglitz, who fights in Dresden for the first time since his unanimous decision win against Mexico's Enrique Ornelas in 2010.
"I have to use my physique and technical capability against Yuzo Kiyota and box with plenty of pressure.
"In my last fight in Dresden, the audience was great, so it's like boxing at home here.
"I've had a look at the last fights of Yuzo Kiyota. He boxes aggressively, goes forward and is physically strong.
"On Saturday, I must once again call on what I can do."