POWER SHOTS: News and Views in the Heavyweight Division
by Johnny Walker
CAN KUBRAT PULEV FIND AN OPPONENT?
Bulgarian heavyweight Kubrat Pulev has become the most avoided man in the heavyweight division these days. Put simply, the man can’t find anyone willing to fight him after his great year in 2012, in which he defeated big men in Travis Walker, Alexander Dimitrenko and Russian giant Alexander Ustinov, handing the latter man his first professional defeat. Boxing Insider named Pulev the top heavyweight of 2012 for his efforts.
Undefeated giant Tyson Fury was lined up to fight Pulev in an eliminator for a shot at world champion Wladimir Klitschko, but decided to opt out to fight a big money domestic battle with rival David Haye instead. Other proposed fights, including a rematch with Dimitrenko, have also fallen through.
Pulev’s search for an opponent may have been solved today when the EBU ordered a box-off between European heavyweight champion Pulev and Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora of the UK, who defeated American Malik Scott last weekend.
For his part, Chisora seems eager for the clash: “Kubrat Pulev would be a good opponent,” the fighter says on his Facebook page. “I’m open to anything and willing to fight against anybody!”
Should the Pulev fight fall through, Chisora has also expressed an interest in taking on American prospect Deontay Wilder.
There is also talk of Pulev taking on the new rejuvenated American heavyweight Tony Thompson, who has twice destroyed the heavyweight dreams of Liverpool’s fallen hero David Price.
FURY — HUGHIE, THAT IS — TO TAKE ON TONY THOMPSON?
While Tony Thompson decides his next move, he has been called out by the younger of the fighting Furys, Hughie.
The six-foot-six tall Hughie (8-0, 5 KOs), who has since turning pro been mowing down a succession of tomato cans with varying degrees of impressiveness (his last three opponents had records of 4-28-4, 19-20-0, and 7-40-6!) has apparently offered the American a sum greater than what he made fighting David Price, at least according to his father and trainer Peter, to take on the 18-year-old Fury on the undercard of his cousin’s fight with David Haye.
Peter Fury insists the offer is serious, though the Fury camp has proven expert in the past at calling out–or should I say tweeting out–bigger names in order to keep themselves in the boxing headlines. Tyson Fury even called out the reigning champion of another sport, MMA heavyweight fighter Cain Velasquez, with little intention of having to follow through. Fury, however, milked the resulting headlines when MMA fans got their knickers in a twist for weeks.
It’s a bit hard for this scribe to believe that Peter Fury would subject his youthful charge to the veteran likes of Thompson, who has proven that aside from the omnipotent Klitschko brothers, he is still a force to be reckoned with in the world of heavyweight boxing. That’s a massive leap up for Hughie from cans with 4-28 records. The result of such a possible mis-match could very well do great damage to Hughie Fury’s long-term aspirations in the sport, as well as to his youthful visage.
DEONTAY WILDER TO MEET THE WHITE WOLF
He was briefly a WBO heavyweight champion of the world in 2006 after a thrilling victory over Lamon Brewster, but since quickly losing the title via a flawed ring strategy, yielding up a last second knockout to a gassed out has been Shannon Briggs, things haven’t gone too smoothly for Sergei “The White Wolf” Liakhovich (25-5, 16 KOs).
The Belarussian brawler has lost four of his last six fights, including a brutal battle against Robert Helenius in which Liakhovich appeared to be holding his own in the early stages before being brutally knocked out. Neither man, to be fair, has looked the same since that bruising, bloody battle, with Helenius now struggling to regain his form (and relocate his killer instinct) after an injury to his shoulder.
Nevertheless, Liakhovich represents a significant step up from the inferior opposition American hopeful Deontay Wilder has faced on his way to amassing a 28-0 unbeaten record, with a gaudy 100% KO ratio. Wilder, with a brawny upper body and legs that look like toothpicks, was knocked down once by journeyman Harold Sconiers, and it’s an open question what will happen when he takes on someone with the boxing skills of a faded but still wily Liakhovich, who has faced some of the toughest opposition the division has to offer.
If Liakhovich can avoid Wilder’s sledgehammer right hand and drag him into deep waters, this one could get interesting.
The fight will be held on August 9 at the Fantasy Springs Casino, Indio, California.