Professional boxer Simon Zachenhuber has to prove himself in a completely different sport.
Erding - “Let's Dance” is one of the most successful formats of the private TV broadcaster RTL.
In the live dance show, 14 celebrities each with a partner - professional or successful tournament dancers - compete against each other in standard and Latin dances.
At the end of each performance, the jury gives a score between one and ten.
Which couple will take part in the subsequent “Let's Dance” show and which will be kicked out is determined by the audience, who can vote for their favorite over the phone at the end of the show.
The 14th season, which starts on February 26th, also includes the Eittingen professional boxer Simon Zachenhuber.
The 22-year-old competes with singer Ilse DeLange, ex-ARD news anchor Jan Hofer, actor Erol Sander, RTL presenter Kai Ebel, ex-professional soccer player Rurik Gislason, model Kim Riekenberg, Barack Obama's sister Auma, singer Senna Gamour, actress Valentina Pahde (GZSZ), singer Vanessa Neigert, model Lola Weippert, Schlager star Mickie Krause and the former “Prince Charming” candidate Nicolas Puschmann, who dances with a man as an avowed homosexual.
Mr. Zachenhuber, how did you become a candidate for “Let's Dance”?
That was a highlight of my agency.
My manager Klaus Kärcher called me and asked: “Zache, are you in the mood?” At first I thought it was a bad joke and said: “You're crazy!” Of course I said yes right away.
It's a cool thing, and it's just right now, because there's not much going on in the sporting world at the moment.
Apart from training, nothing works at the moment, right?
I'm always in training, alternating between Stuttgart and Erding.
It is my responsibility to keep myself fit and ready when the fighting starts again.
Dancing, as it is practiced in "Let's Dance", looks pretty exhausting.
So I've heard from many directions that it's no picnic.
You need to be in shape - and I have it.
But I think that my good coordination as a boxer even gives me a slight advantage.
In your opinion, are there any similarities between boxing and dancing?
As far as I know, Muhammad Ali also took ballet lessons from time to time, and he was known for his inimitable prancing in the ring.
And they also say that as a boxer you prance your opponent out.
And then there's a famous boxer who took dance lessons.
Yes, the Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko.
His father sent him boxing when he was three, and in elementary school he always beat up his classmates.
Then his father sent him to the Ukrainian folk dance, and he wasn't allowed to box again until he was 13.
He was then twice Olympic champion, as well as world and European champion.
What does your trainer Conny Mittermeier actually say?
He's an old-school coach who's basically not keen on distractions.
Conny is a trainer through and through and always wants to train.
But he is happy for me and said that this is an amazing experience that I will have there.
You don't get such a chance very often.
But as long as I'm with “Let's Dance”, I will do a few boxing units in addition to the dance training.
It has to be easy.
In your early days as a professional, Conny Mittermeier was not at all satisfied with your footwork.
But now it works.
Maybe that's my big strength after “Let's Dance”.
I would like to take my stamina and coordination from boxing to dancing and later the footwork from dancing to boxing.
Do you already have some dance experience?
My experience is limited to the fact that I only recently saw the film “Dirty Dancing” for the first time (laughs).
Of course, I've been to the disco a few times, and I didn't just stand on the edge of the dance floor.
In your introduction video, which can be seen on www.rtl.de, you say that "Let's Dance" was part of your standard television program from an early age.
I'm more or less an imposed fan. We only had one television at home and “Let's Dance” was always on.
As children, we had nothing to report on TV programs.
Then I just looked at it - and learned to love.
And now you are suddenly right in the middle of it.
Yes, and I find it a huge honor.
When you see who's doing everything, I don't really care - still (laughs).
In any case, I'm really looking forward to it.
Speaking of family: How did your sisters and mom react to the news?
It was difficult for me at first because it had to be kept secret at first and I wasn't allowed to say anything.
When it was announced, mom completely freaked out.
She was really happy.
In any case, everyone is already excited, and mom is much more nervous than me.
And my sisters are fully behind it too.
But Amelie immediately gave me one because I suddenly got more attention on social media.
"You don't need to think that you are better now," she said.
Well, they'll bring me back down to earth.
What have you remembered about “Let's Dance” so far?
What I found really great was how Moritz Hans danced his way to the finals last year.
That was impressive.
And Sarah Lombardi also won me over in 2016.
You could see that female singers are not far from dancing.
That was already the highest professional level.
Do you already know who your dance partner will be?
I do not know that yet.
We won't find out until the first live show on February 26th.
Is there a dream partner?
No, the girls are all great.
And I don't even know who is involved.
One more word to the jury, with Motsi Mabuse, Joachim Llambi and Jorge Gonzalez.
All three have a special character.
I hope, of course, that I can convince them.
In addition, you have to convince the television viewers, who have the last word in the telephone vote.
And of course I hope that many from the Erding district will call for me.
In addition to boxing, are you already practicing dancing?
I've already had my dancing shoes on and really felt like it.
At the moment I am practicing at home in my room using YouTube videos.
Another question: you are still unbeaten as a professional and have won over half of your fights by knocking out.
Don't you have to be careful not to grip too tightly while dancing?
You might not believe it, but I also have a tender side that I never really show in the ring (laughs).
But with “Let's Dance” I have to and will of course unpack my tender side.
The interview was conducted by Wolfgang Krzizok.