News and Views on the Heavyweight Division
By Johnny Walker
It was widely reported last week via the Internet boxing news echo chamber that WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko (44-2-0, 40 KOs) would be making possibly his final ring appearance against the obscure challenger Manuel Charr (21-0-0, 11 KOs) in Ukraine.
However, reports from Europe today contradict the notion that the Vitali-Charr fight is a done deal.
Klitschko brothers manager Bernd Boente was quoted in a German publication today saying that while a Vitali fight will take place on the “1st or 8th September, definitely in Europe,” the parties are still “in contract negotiations, in some ways still a long way apart.”
Boente says Charr is only “one of four possible candidates,” and he expects the choice to be finalized “next week”.
Other names rumored to be in contention for Vitali’s possible–depending on the result of the mayoral election in Kiev–farewell fight are rising Polish challenger Mariusz Wach, and Canadian power puncher Bermane Stiverne.
ANOTHER MISHAP? MIKE MOLLO’S BAD LUCK STREAK CONTINUES AS ARREOLA CANCELS FIGHT
We had reported yesterday that heavyweight journeyman “Merciless” Mike Mollo (20-3-1, 12 KOs) has suffered an amazing run of bad luck, a string of cancelled fights that has kept him out of action since 2010.
Last month, Mollo was all set to face top-ranked American heavyweight Franklin “Yah Yah” Lawrence when a questionable MRI scan nuked the fight literally at the very last minute.
A fight with another top American challenger, Cristobal Arreola, on the June 23rd Ortiz-Lopez card at The Staples Centre in L.A., was set to finally change the fortunes of the man we dubbed Mike “Mishap” Mollo.
But then the black clouds rolled up again….
And now Arreola has cancelled– for a second time no less–a fight against Mike Mollo.
According to Arreola’s trainer Henry Ramirez, an arm injury has already forced Arreola out of the bout that was just finalized a day earlier.
Leaving poor Mike Mollo back where he was at the start of the week: on the outside of the ring looking in.
TYSON FURY TO FIGHT VETERAN VINNY MADDALONE
When rising young British heavyweight Tyson Fury (18-0-0, 13 KOs) dumped his British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles rather than face countryman (and fellow giant) David Price, he said he was looking outside of Britain toward bigger and better fights in the future.
No disrespect to the always game American journeyman Vinny Maddalone (35-7-0, 26 KOs), but he wasn’t exactly who we had in mind for Fury, who scored an easy win over veteran Irish tough guy Martin Rogan in his last outing.
Nevertheless, Fury and veteran American tough guy Maddalone are now set to meet at the Hand Arena in Somerset, England on Saturday, July 7. And the fighters are making all the right noises so far.
“I promise to give everything I’ve got-the Brits are going to experience one hell of a fight and I plan on making lots of new fans,” says Maddalone.
“I respect Tyson Fury, hats off because he shows lots of balls. I’m really happy for this opportunity. Two guys with balls will make for a great fight.”
Tyson Fury returns the compliment: “He’s a good opponent,” the Brit says of Maddalone, “a real tough guy, who leaves nothing in the changing room, he certainly comes to fight!
“Training has gone well and I’m in the best shape of my life and I’m looking forward to some good rounds and after I beat him maybe we can go out and get something to eat.”
ARTUR “THE PIN” SZPILKA SET TO MEET JAMEEL “BIG-TIME” McCLINE
Entertaining Polish bad boy Artur “The Pin” Szpilka (11-0, 9 KOs) returns to the ring on June 30 against comebacking American heavyweight veteran Jameel “Big Time” McCline (41-11-3, 24 KOs). The fight will be part of the undercard for the Roy Jones Jr. vs. Dawid Kostecki bout being held at the Atlas Arena in Lodz, Poland.
At age 42, McCline has seen his comeback stuck in neutral so far, with a loss to Harold Sconiers (17-23-2) casting doubt on the veteran’s chances against a dynamic young fighter like Szpilka, 23, who knocked out Gonzalo Omar Basile (54-7-0) on June 2 of this year in Poland.
RICHARD TOWERS IN ACTION ON SATURDAY
6’8″ tall British giant Richard Towers takes a big step toward joining boxing compatriots Tyson Fury and David Price on the heavyweight buzz list when he takes on Gregory Tony of France for the European Union heavyweight championship this Saturday in Manchester, England.
The hulking Towers, who is promoted by former British boxing star Ricky Hatton, was in and out of prison for much of his adult life, and at age 32 is ready to commit mayhem in the boxing ring rather than in the streets from now on.
“I do feel quite fresh mentally and physically,” the boxer tells Sky Sports.
“I think a big factor in me doing seven years, without glorifying or justifying it, is I’ve been put on ice.
“I’ve not been subjected to late nights, getting involved in different relationships and with regard to physical health such as drinking or smoking, I’ve never been involved in anything like that so I do feel young and fresh.”