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World Boxing Federation People: Olaf Schroeder
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FEATURE   Photo: World Boxing Federation (WBF) Executive Director & European Chairman Olaf Schroeder pictured with WBF World Champion Segolene Lefebvre.

As is the case with any organization, effective and professional team-work behind the scenes is necessary to make the World Boxing Federation (WBF) run as smoothly as possible. Thankfully, the WBF has been able to attract a line-up of very astute boxing personalities to make sure of this.

Most people will agree that boxing should mainly be about the boxers. They deserve the spotlight and the accolades more than anyone, but it is still a fact that the sport needs qualified and capable people working behind the scenes to make things happen.

In the WBF People feature-series, we try to shed some light on the men and women who makes the World Boxing Federation what it is. This time, WBF Executive Director and European Chairman Olaf Schroeder gets the nod



Since he refuses to reveal his birth-date, only reluctantly acknowledging it was “sometime during the last millennium”, lets just say that Olaf Schroeder, is no longer a “spring chicken”, and neither is he quite an “old geezer” yet.

But, most likely in his fifties, he has been in professional boxing the majority of his life, and worked in just about every capacity possibly in the business, outside the ring. He is what many would call a true Boxing Man, with all the quirks that comes with it.

A banker by trade, Olaf was born and raised in Bielefeld, along with a younger sister, his only sibling. Both parents were in the butchers trade, which is why, he says, “it took me so long to understand that animals are not created to be slaughtered and have a right to live”.

He never boxed competitively himself, something he claims was probably a good choice, but like so many others from his generation he gained a keen interest in the sport due to Muhammad Ali. The interest obviously later developed into much more, and eventually a career.

I started out writing articles about boxing for our local newspaper at a young age. Doing that, I met many people from the industry, and at some point I began working with some of these people, organizing and writing press releases.”

Suddenly I found myself doing match-making as well, in a time where the tools were just a land-line phone and the huge record-books which youngsters in the game today would not have a clue about."

That lead me to managing boxers, from journeymen to champions, and I even promoted a few shows over the years."

On top of that Schroeder also developed into a very good and respected cut-man, as well as a ring-announcer on big shows in Germany. But those two gigs came later on, and not before he felt he had paid his dues.

At the beginning, and for years, I followed a lot of promoters and managers very closely, trying to understand why they make certain fights, how they structure their shows, what they do as managers and so on”, Schroeder explains.

I really studied all these things, which is something nobody does anymore, it seems. I didn't really have a mentor as such, but I had endless conversations with so many boxing people, and tried to learn different aspects from people who were great at their jobs.”

Schroeder didn't just learn from people on the German boxing scene. While he is not one comfortable name-dropping, and actually more than once tried to get out of providing info and quotes for this article, he gained a lot of knowledge from some of the best the world has ever seen.

Dennie Mancini and Brendan Ingle mainly taught me about the science that is working as a cut-man, and with Johnny Bos I talked many nights, for ours on end, about the art of matchmaking.”

Probably there are a few more who allowed me to pick up on their knowledge, but you don't find better guys than Dennie and Brendan, and Johnny knew more about matchmaking than anyone I ever met.”

As a matchmaker, Schroeder has worked with all the major promoters in the Europe, and in the managing field he handled world class boxers such as Firat Arslan, Raymond Joval, Mihaly Kotai and Attila Kovacs, whom all went on to win world titles.

In the beginning, he juggled his banking work with his growing activities in boxing, but that all came to an end in 1990:

At that time, the bank-manager wanted to force me to stop my work in boxing, because back then banking had a clean reputation, while boxing was “the red light district of sports”. Ironically, nowadays its more or less the other way around.”

Anyway, I thought about it for a minute, and then walked out of banking right then and there, and never looked back. Boxing instantly became my only occupation.”

What followed was thousands upon thousands of kilometers on plains, trains and automobiles across the world, traveling to shows he was either the matchmaker for or had boxers he managed fighting on. Countless promoters over the years have benefited from his experience and know-how.

In 2009, Olaf joined forces with a group of other experienced and respected boxing-people to reform the World Boxing Federation (WBF), and from the very beginning he has been one of the main driving-forces behind the progress of the WBF.

Schroeder also runs a cut-man course, and lives in Spenge just outside of Bielefeld with wife Susi, teenage daughter Ranee, who in 2017 became the youngest boxing promoter in history at only fifteen, and family-dog Raja...a Boxer!

He would never say so himself, but quite a few people over the years have received a break from Olaf, helping them get into the boxing business, including the writer of this article. And if you are his friend, you can count on him doing all he can to help you, if required.

Olaf claims he looks forward to retiring, which is probably to be expected from someone who keeps his birthday a secret, but, when he does retire, boxing will be one true boxing-man poorer. Quite a few, including the writer of this article, hopes he wont retire before he IS an “old geezer”…

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