The Line: Three Popular Rising Heavyweights
By: Sergio L. Martinez
This past weekend, two of the televised boxing events showcased young heavyweights as NBCSP’s Fight Night’s Vyacheslav Glazkov and Showtime Network’s Deontay Wilder both picked up signature wins. For now, both are considered contenders in a weak division that can be best summarized as Wladimir Klitschko being two tiers above the current crop of “top” contenders. There can be hypothetical arguments on how competitive fights against the aging former Olympic gold medalist would be but there is little to argue on the outcome: Klitschko would win. Still, there is some new blood to be excited about as any fight between these pugs is sure to be fun to watch.
DEONTAY “Bronze Bomber” WILDER (31-0-0 with 31 KOs): Wilder’s actual boxing ability and response to adversity are not known commodities as the Olympic bronze medalist has boxed a total of 54 rounds in 31 professional fights. One thing is clear: the “Bronze Bomber” possesses scary, one-punch knockout power. Although his resume leaves a lot to be desired, Wilder has destroyed the weak opposition appropriately. His last outing against Malik Scott (36-2-1 with 13 KOs) was a real test for Wilder, but a left hook to Scott’s right temple in the first round ended the exam as he was unable to beat the count. Conjecture about the legitimacy of Scott’s condition is just that – conjecture – until proven otherwise. It is not clear on how far Wilder will go, but with equalizing power in both fists, it will likely be rousing to find out.
TYSON FURY (22-0-0 with 16 KOs): The Irish/English heavyweight is best known for outlandish remarks against alleged, would-be opponents. Tyson, named after heavyweight “Iron” Mike Tyson, had limited amateur credentials but his professional star is on the rise. However, there are still questions about him: How will he fair against upper echelon fighters? How good is his punch resistance? The latter comes after Fury was floored by the relatively feather-fisted American Steve “U.S.S.” Cunningham in the second round of their fight in March 2013. Although the former Commonwealth Heavyweight champion did not appear to be seriously hurt, the enquiry still looms. Fury scored a win over British boxing litmus test Derick “Del Boy” Chisora, but that was in 2011, and “Del Boy” is a much improved fighter now. A rematch against Chisora has been announced for July 26, so a lot more will be known about Fury by midsummer. Should he win big, Tyson will position himself as a top five contender of the new maximum weight harvest.
VYACHESLAV “The Czar” GLAZKOV (17-0-1 with 11 KOs): Unlike his fellow Ukrainian heavyweights the Klitschkos brothers, Glazkov is relatively small for today’s standards: he stands 6’3″ and normally weighs less than 220 pounds for fights. What “The Czar” does have in common with most successful European heavies is a long and excellent amateur pedigree: Glazkov is a former Olympic Bronze medalist amongst his many amateur accolades. He is also the most accomplished professional on this list, as he recently defeated longtime Polish heavyweight contender Tomasz “Goral” Adamek via a brutal 12th round unanimous decision. Glazkov showed a little bit of everything against the cagey Adamek. “Goral” may be considered a small heavyweight, but his professional credentials in the division are solid so this win is a big one for the young Ukrainian. His size and lack of professional experience do not make him Klitschko ready yet, but he is definitely one that will be engaging to witness his climb.
With continued television exposure, two of the three heavyweights on this list are on their way to becoming household names in the United States: Vyacheslav Glazkov and Deontay Wilder. Fury, on the other hand, continues to gain popularity by showcasing his fights through social media and internet exposure. In time, we will know how far each of these young prizefighters will go; but the buzz this trio has already caused just might be enough to bring the heavyweight division back into the American mainstream, as fans regularly crave watching two big men firing bombs at each other with evil intentions.