Power Shots: News and Views on the Heavyweight Division
By Johnny Walker
WHEN IRISH EYES AREN’T SMILING
This Saturday in Belfast, young giant Tyson Fury, of questionable origins, takes on a local hero in veteran Irishman Martin Rogan, in a battle for Irish heavyweight supremacy.
At issue throughout the fight’s build-up, and still up in the air at the time of this writing, is the Irish Heavyweight Title, which may or may not be at stake in this bout.
Rogan, who was visibly irritated with Fury during the final presser this week, has questioned his opponent’s credentials as an Irishman, and thus his eligibility to fight for the Irish heavyweight crown.
“I read it in the Boxing News last week, Martin Rogan’s been doing some questioning himself, digging up some gravestones,” Fury, 23, chuckled.
“I’m eligible to fight for the Irish title. All the papers have been shown, everything’s been done, it’s all official, so if you want to check it out you can do.
“With a name like Fury I can’t be Chinese. It didn’t come from Afghanistan, so … I don’t know where I’m from, actually.”
Rogan, 41, picked up on that last remark to chide his youthful opponent, who comes from a nomadic family of “travelers.”
“Sometimes you’re better off Tyson saying nothing, because you just digging yourself deeper into that hole,” Rogan spat.
“I have American family in America, [they] don’t say they’re Irish, they’re Americans. I have relatives in New Zealand, they’re from New Zealand.
“They have an Irish background, they’re of Irish descent.
“At the minute Tyson Fury doesn’t know where he’s from: he’s from Manchester, he’s from Nutts Corner, he’s from Galway . . . Look, that’s not my problem.
“If [being Irish] is what he wants, permit him. Come Saturday night … when I’m finished with him, he’ll not know where he’s from.”
As things currently stand, a dispute between the British Boxing Board of Control, which claims jurisdiction over Northern Ireland, and the Boxing Union of Ireland over the referee for the bout may yet render this one a non-title affair.
Rogan also bested the verbose Fury in the humor department after Fury had stripped off his shirt to show the press his chiseled new physique.
“That doesn’t impress me one bit,” Rogan laughed.
“The only six-pack he has is still in the fridge.”
SETH MITCHELL AND CHAZZ WITHERSPOON: ACADEMIC HEAVYWEIGHTS
During a conference call this week with American heavyweights Chazz Witherspoon and Seth Mitchell to promote their upcoming fight on April 28th in Atlantic City, some reporters got a little carried away over the fact that both men have college degrees.
Call hostess Kelly Swanson got so excited that she blurted out, “I just want to say I heard two college-educated, graduated heavyweights. I think it’s a first in boxing. Can’t you hear it in their articulation? I love it.”
While Power Shots also lauds both Witherspoon and Mitchell for their academic achievements, there are a couple of other heavyweights who have some schooling in their backgrounds.
Perhaps it says something about their status in America that Dr. Steelhammer and Dr. Iron Fist, Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, were forgotten in all the hullabaloo over advanced education.
Forgotten, that is, until Power Shots brought up the matter and asked both men to go against the grain and tell us what they like about the educated world heavyweight champion siblings from Ukraine.
“I’ve been in camp with Wladimir three times. I was in camp in the Poconos, in Austria and in Spain with him. And Wladimir is really, really a nice guy as far as if you didn’t know he was heavyweight champ of the world he wouldn’t tell you,” Witherspoon said.
“He’s not that type of guy. So he definitely is a class act. He likes the people that are in this camp to conduct themselves with class. He trains really hard. So, if anything, I would like to emulate training as hard as he does, just being a class act and carrying myself in such a way that I bring respect to the sport as he does.”
Mitchell agreed with his colleague’s analysis, and added some other observations.
“I concur with Chazz. I haven’t been in camp with [Wlad]. But as seeing him on tape and watching him he’s definitely a class act. Handling himself like a true champion and that’s something. If God blesses me to win the heavyweight championship of the world, I definitely want to conduct myself as he does outside the ring.
“As far as inside the ring I respect him. He uses his God-given attributes. He fights tall. He has a lot of power. He has that night switch power. Hit you one time and your lights could be out. I definitely wish I could add that to my arts, but I feel that I have real power. I’ve seen him turn that light switch off. So they don’t call him “The Hammer” for nothing. I think whichever [brother] it is, both of them can hit hard.”
ON THE HORIZON…
On May 18 at the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, top American heavyweight contender Franklin “Yah Yah” Lawrence, 14(9)-2-2, of Indianapolis, Ind., goes against Mike Mollo, 20(12)-3-1 of Oak Lawn, Ill. for the NABA Heavyweight Title.
Undefeated American heavyweight Bryant “By By” Jennings has signed a new three-year agreement with Peltz Boxing Promotions, Inc.
Jennings, 27, has quickly gained prominence by scoring victories over the previously unbeaten heavyweights Maurice Byarm and former WBO heavyweight champion Sergei Liakhovich.
Despite only having turned pro two years ago, Jennings is 13-0, 6 K0s, and on the verge of the Top 15. He will be back in action Saturday evening, June 16, at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, on the NBC Sports Network Fight Series show headlined by heavyweights Tomasz Adamek and Eddie Chambers.