The Elite Boxers in the Heavyweight Division
By: Oliver McManus
Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora produced the two best performances of the night on Saturday at the O2 Arena and with that set up the potential for super fights across the heavyweight division, here we take a look at the five ‘elite’ heavyweights in the world and assess their credentials before a subsequent article next week will look at five ‘contenders’ –
Anthony Joshua – WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO Heavyweight Champion of the World
Where else to start but the face of heavyweight boxing? Anthony Joshua is capable of selling out Wembley Stadium with just the mere mention of his name and his record in the sport is simply remarkable – a gold medallist at his home Olympics in 2012, the pressure was always going to be on but, boy, has he handled the pressure supremely.
The 12th of December 2015 saw emotion seep into his fight-mentality for the first time as he let the rivalry between Dillian Whyte and himself get the better of his, previously, cool and calculated game plan with Joshua drawn into a firefight. Arguably that was the best thing that ever happened to him because it brought out a completely different animal within him, the killer instinct was born.
Wladimir Klitschko was legacy defining, there can be no other way of putting it, and whilst that clash highlighted the fact AJ was mortal – hard to believe, I know – you simply cannot knock the Watford-man for taking on and pulling off a feat of monumental proportions that many had previously tried and failed in, in only his 19th professional bout.
Oddly you could say his stock has fallen or, rather, the gap has got closer between himself and his closest competitors over the weekend with Chisora destroying Carlos Takam in a fashion far more convincing than Joshua and Dillian Whyte dropping Joseph Parker – once legitimately, once questionably – on the way to a unanimous decision.
Joshua is a rare breed of fighter in that he is seemingly willing to fight anyone and up against Alexander Povetkin in September he faces, previously, one of the most feared heavyweights in the world and, certainly, a huge puncher but someone that should be a relatively easy fight over Joshua’s last few tests.
2019, then, is the year for Anthony Joshua to continue in his pursuit of ever-lasting greatness.
Deontay Wilder – WBC Heavyweight Champion of the World
The ‘Punch’ to Anthony Joshua’s ‘Judy’ – a reference which anyone outside of the UK will need to Google – Deontay Wilder has a rather reasonable claim to being the hardest puncher in the current heavyweight division and is famed for his “windmill” shots which, when unloaded, signal a trademark finish to the fight.
Questions have, rightfully, been raised at the quality of Wilder’s recent opponents with the likes of Chris Arreola, Bermane Stiverne (the second time) and Artur Szpilka not exactly screaming “world class” but, having said that, Wilder has consistently dispatched the people put in front of him in a fashion you’d expect from the WBC Champion of the World.
Against ‘King Kong’ Luis Ortiz in March this year, the American was in the toughest fight of his career and took the best that Ortiz threw at him. Whilst the fight was a strong 50-50 prior to the stoppage that the Bronze Bomber managed to pull out of the bag, the contest showed that Wilder was capable of taking a shot to land a shot and that is the phrase that best defines his style.
Even when in with the best, genuine elite level fighters, he sticks to what he does well and that, very simply, is PUNCH. Now some may argue that shows a weakness in ability to adapt to the styles of challengers and whilst that is something that could be his downfall in the future, it’s worked with tremendous success thus far.
Not necessarily a household name in the United States – indeed you could say he’s more well-known on this side of the pond than in his own backyard – you can understand the strategy from those around him of building him up with all-American match-ups (Dominic Brezeale is rumoured to be the next defence) which enable him to gain profile and keep the belt with, relatively, easy fights.
BUT then comes the question of why on earth should a world champion need to have his profile built up? The fight with Anthony Joshua is a fight that NEEDS to happen in order for Deontay Wilder to be able to put to bed questions regarding the legitimacy of his reign and, for many, we’ve still yet to see the WBC champ fully tested.
Dillian Whyte – WBC Number 1 ranked heavyweight contender
Whyte proved his doubters wrong on Saturday with a scintillating win over Joseph Parker, make no mistake, he was sincerely rocked and challenged by the former WBO Champion, dropped to the canvas at one point, but what was most impressive about taking the barrage of punches was that he proved his chin has developed far more than anything else since he faced Anthony Joshua in 2015 –we always knew he had the agility, the power, the energy, that was never in question.
It’s hard to believe that it’s 18 months since Whyte went to war with Dereck Chisora, winning a split decision, but that bout seems to be symbolic of the way he goes about every fight – with an attitude of “guts and glory”, leaving everything on the line, and that’s something you cannot criticise because it produces excitement galore.
Up against Robert Helenius, Whyte really failed to click into gear when in the ring with the Nordic Nightmare and whilst the fight wasn’t aesthetically pleasing it was a valuable lesson for the Brixton Bomber because it showed him that, sometimes, you can’t go all-out for a knockout and have to box around the opposition, out-working them and simply fatiguing them into defeat.
With Deontay Wilder having been offered a princely sum – a career high pay day – to face Whyte (in the United Kingdom) and turning it down, there can be no doubt as to the stature of Eddie Hearn’s fighter and the attributes he possess all point to him being a world-champion in waiting.
Mild controversy erupted when he, and his team, turned down fights with Luis Ortiz and Kubrat Pulev in world title eliminators with many saying he was ducking the respective fighters but the fight with Joseph Parker seems to have answered all the questions being lobbied at him because whilst Parker isn’t as explosive as Ortiz he is faster, he is more sprightly and he’s every bit as technical as Pulev so, in a way, he got the best of both worlds.
I wouldn’t have said it three years ago but Dillian Whyte has proved me, and many critics wrong, and I’m happy to hold my hands up with regards to that because it was never anything personal but, for me, Dillian Whyte is the best heavyweight outside of the world title holders.
AJ in April? Sounds like a plan.
Kubrat Pulev – IBF Number 2 ranked heavyweight contender
Pulev is an interesting character, vastly underrated by fans and extensively avoided by fellow fighters, his technical style of boxing is one that hasn’t exactly played into his hands because with him not being a HUGE puncher, his technical and defensive aspect are exponentially enhanced and it makes him one heck of a challenge for anyone brave enough to take him on.
Dillian Whyte opted not to travel to Bulgaria to face Pulev and Jarrell Miller is another to have avoided stepping into unknown territory for the fight – which the IBF sanctioned, in both cases, as a final eliminator – and it’s not the location that is the sticking point but rather the risk-reward factor which strayed significantly into the risk region.
As I’ve said, Pulev relies on the technical fundamentals not to blast his opponents out of the ring but rather to get the better of them in the longer run, over the scheduled distance, with calculated punch output, shot selection, and beautifully timed footwork culminating in style of fighting bordering on art but so under-appreciated.
Another fighter to have taken on Dereck Chisora, emerge from the fight win the win and be levied with headlines of “Chisora fails to perform” as opposed to “Pulev outclasses Chisora”, Pulev hasn’t been one to avoid fights for the duration of his career and as a former European champion the Bulgarian has produced convincing wins on the big stage for a long, long time with the likes of Alexander Dimitrenko, Alexander Ustinov and Tony Thompson all falling foul of The Cobra’s leathal bite.
A former world title challenger Pulev has the experience of that level and whilst he’s not looked as sharp as his previous years, since his loss to Klitschko (in 2014) he has looked mentally more prepared whenever he steps in the ring – albeit against lesser opposition – and many were expecting him to provide Anthony Joshua with a stern test when they were scheduled to face-off and with Pulev back in the world title scene, there could still be life in the ageing cobra yet.
Tyson Fury – Lineal heavyweight champion of the world
This isn’t wrote in any order so before anyone gets in a huff as to my positioning of Fury in this list – or indeed my inclusion of him at all – let me explain why the lineal champion is in this “elite” overview;
Whatever you think of his last opponent – Sefer Seferi – Tyson Fury was the man who beat the man and, in doing so, made Klitschko look average and that is an achievement that simply cannot be overstated, it was beyond unexpected and Fury produced the goods.
Further to that his mental strength is, for me, the best of anyone in the division. He has had several well documented struggles and, let’s be clear, earned more than enough money for him to afford to retire and live comfortably for the rest of his life. So there was no need for Fury to comeback, he had proved his doubters wrong, but it was his inner motivation to prove that he was better than Joshua, better than Wilder, better than everyone that pushed him to return and lose 8stone in the process. That’s super-human.
Fury himself is unconventional in fighting style with the ability to switch stances with ease combined with his freakish height and surprisingly lucid movement marking him out as one of the most unpredictable men in the ring – one second he’ll be staring out into the crowd and the next launching a furious flurry into the body of his opponent.
And that is what marks him out from the other guys on this list because whilst they are all exceptional fighters in their own right, they are distinctly predictable – you know what you’re getting with each of them – but with Fury you get the impression that not even he knows. He’s no stranger to being an underdog, either, and dealing with the pressure of fighting in the away corner so his ability to handle those situations are incredible.
Fighting Francesco Pianeta on August 18th, Fury is targeting two further fights by the end of 2018 before mounting a serious challenge to the belts he used to own and with discussions already being held about the potential for a fight with Deontay Wilder, you’d be inclined to suggest it’s only a matter of time before he’s back where he belongs.
AND THERE WE HAVE IT, a look at the heavyweight elite boxers and of course the use of the term elite is entirely subjective, it’s merely my top 5 and there are plenty of guys that could have warranted being featured but, hey, nobody said it was easy!
Joshua, Povetkin, Wilder and Whyte – Amidst the Heavyweight Jungle
By: Daniel Smith
Alexander the “White Lion” Povetkin is certainly no palooka Joe opponent for the current WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF world heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua. The Russian bulwark and former WBA champion comes equipped with explosive hooking-bombs and an attacking ferocity that’s set to a hair trigger. A steely seasoned pro, a lethal brawling-scrapper who conducts his affairs inside the ring without pomp, pretence or pantomime grudges for that matter. A rough, tough fighter, who’s more than ready to upset the order of the food-chain amidst the heavyweight jungle!
Let’s take an analysis of the hardboiled Russian’s attributes.
Povetkin – a 6ft 2″ and 16 stone, solidly conformed, power-punching, pit-bull of a man. A heavyweight brusier who blasts out opponents from his inside fighting style and punishing combinations. Povetkin’s not a man to be tangled with, as his impressive record of 34 wins in 35 fights demonstrates his fighting caliber. The former two time heavyweight, Ring Magazine, Lineal and WBO, WBA, IBO and IBF champion, Wladimir Klitschko is only man to have beaten the “White Lion” – a win that came by unanimous decision, not before the Russian was knocked-down in round 2 from a quick left hook, and 3 knockdowns in round 7.
However, since his defeat against “Dr Steel-Hammer”, Povetkin has showcased and examplified his brutish-brawling aptitude by contiuing his winning streak in his last six bouts – his most recent victory coming by way of a chilling knockout against the 6ft 7″ heavyweight, British contender, David Price. Povetkin, prior to the knockout was staggered backwards, crashing into the ropes in round 3 before recovering and deploying a sledge-hammering hook to the chin that rendered Price out for the count in round 5.
In addtion to the hardboiled Russian’s rampart-esque attributes; Povetkin is “no piece of cake” for any fighter, including Mr Joshua. His resilience, grit, iron-determination and his rapcious pangs to be world champion once again, position him within the mix of top-tier heavyweight lions that trade leather in the squared cirlce.
AJ – some have regarded the heavyweight champion as the ‘complete boxer’. A fighter who posseses a furnished slew of a proficient pugilistic attributes, whilst equally equipped to slug it out in a gritty brawl when the chips are down. You just have to look no further than his win over Wladimir Klitschko, back in 2017.
Joshua is a boxer who appears to prefer fighting guys of similar height and weight. In his last two bouts, AJ fought Carlos Takam and Joseph Parker – two relatively smaller fighters within the division and two guys who he didn’t blast out of the ring or chin with smashing uppercuts. But that said, I feel the days of Anthony whamming fighters across the ring, maybe drawing to a close.
Nowadays, AJ seems to tread with caution, taking a more strategic chess- match enforcement; utilising dynamics, fundamental advantages, such as speed, skill, reach, knowledge and now, experience, rather than emptying his tank after six or seven rounds from firing-out a barrage of sheer velocitised power-punchers. Joshua seems to struggle slightly when figting the smaller heavyweights – his punching power becomes somewhat blunted with the shift of gravitational direction, from channelling his momentum downwards instead straight ahead or up.
But I’m confident Josh’s record will be sporting another notch come September, 22nd, 2018, for he’ll undoubtedly treat the Povetkin fight with the respect and earnestness it demands, not looking past the extremely dangerous opponent who thretens his rein. However, if he does emerge as the victor against the solid Russian; would the unfication bout between himself and Deontay Wilder be back on the cards in 2019? I have to be honest – I’m not completely sure it will come to fruition.
And here’s my thoughts as to why.
Not for a moment do I believe AJ harbors any fear or doubts in his ability to beat Wilder, nor do I believe he is ‘ducking’ the WBC champion (even though that’s how it may appear to some). However, I do believe Joshua is conscious he would be facing an opponent that is capable of destryoing his Lineal champion dreams, by sparking him out-cold. It may well in fact be Matchroom who are calculating the “risks vs. benefits” assessment of a unification battle with “the bronze bomber”, Deontay Wilder. And it’s a possibilty Hearn who’s avoidng the clash, in an attempt to have another ‘sing-song around the money tree’ or to ‘make hay while the sun shines’, as the old phrases go.
So, what are the risks and benefits of the WBO, WBA, IBO and IBF world heavyweight champion, (21-0) Anthony vs. the WBC world heavyweight champion, (40-0), Deontay Wilder?
Let’s take a look.
Wilder – a formidable powerhouse banger who dishes out brutal beatdowns like they’re going out of style. A dangerous fighter, a certified knockout merchant whose punching power detonates on impact like brass knuckles shattering a glass jaw. A man whose boxing forte is not within the parameters of pugilistic sophistication; nor could he lay claim to any proficient technique or graceful footwork. However, Wilder more than compensates and counters with a raw, brutal strength and a primal-predatory ferocity that detects fighters vulnerabilities and weaknesses, like a shark sensing a mere droplet of blood in miles of ocean before attacking its prey.
A towering 6ft 7″, 15stone 10lbs, physical heavy weight- hybrid whose lanky- skinny legs scaffold a lean and muscled statue that configures a physique that becomes a perilous weapon of mayhem and destruction, throwing a torrent of hard-solid shots, wildly swinging muscly spaghetti-like arms in a frenzied punching onslaught, demolishing and obliterating fighters into a straggled heap.
Deontay is understandably frustrated, as he’s not being given the opportunity to display his devastating punching aptitude against AJ – and I’m sure he’s rehersed the fight a million times, as he envisions himself beneath the lights of the squared circle, in the midst of a sell-out rip-roaring, blood-thirsty arena crowd, while he throws mostrous knockout shots before the ref waves off the fight and he emerges as unified heavyweight champion of the world; carving out a legacy along with the memories of career best performance within a battlegound domain that’s embellsihed with the blood, sweat and spit of a classic bout between two hard-hitting heavyweights – the best of their era.
In my opinion, Joshua would be taking the greater risk in this bout as he would be trading leather with an extremely ferocious opponent in Wilder, with an uncalibrated distribution of the belts at stake. I suppose that’s why the proposed uneven see-saw of financial spoils are being generously distributed in Matchroom and AJ’s favour.
It’s fair to say, only relevant people involved from both camps truely know what’s going on and when or if the fight will ever happen. It’s evident there are risks involved for both men, as it’s the heavyweight divsion and it the world can come crasing down with one big punch.
So there’s obviously a lot going on behind the scenes we don’t know about. However, what we do know is Anthony Joshua’s takes on Povetkin, while Wilder will probably have to defend his title to the mandatory challenger, Dominic Breazeale (19-1).
However, outside Joshua and Wilder, Dillian “the body snatcher” Whyte is the one to watch and possiblly the sleeping, unification giant of the heavyweight divsion – providing he makes an example of Joseph Parker by way of knockout. A potential cracker-jack of a fight that takes place on July 28th, 2018 at London’s O2 arena.
Light Heavyweight : The Division For the Taking
By: Michael Cooke
2017 was a historic year for the sport of boxing. From the heavyweight division all the way down to the Flyweights we saw the best fighting the best, and great fight after great fight. Joshua vs Klitschko, Canelo vs GGG, Thurman vs Garcia, Superfly 1, Lomachenko vs Rigo, Spence vs Brook, and of course the rematch between the top 2 Light Heavyweights and top Pound 4 Pound fighters Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev. Despite being knocked down early in their first fight Andre Ward came back to win on scores of 114-113 across the board. The decision was highly disputed and led to a 2017 rematch that saw Andre Ward out-work Kovalev to the body and eventually winning by stoppage in the 8th round despite the Krusher never hitting the canvas.
After that fight Andre Ward vacated the WBO, WBA, and IBF Light Heavyweight Titles and announced his retirement from boxing; leaving the Light Heavyweight division completely up for grabs. Adonis Stevenson holds the WBC title but hasn’t fought a top contender in what seems life forever, and the rest of the titles were left vacant following Ward’s retirement.
Even though Light Heavyweight lost their top guy in Ward there was no shortage of talent at the top. Sergey Kovalev has since regained the WBO title, Artur Beterbiev has claimed the IBF title, and Dmitry Bivol has dominated thus far and has won WBA title in the process.
Which brings us to where we are right now: Outside of the champions we have former WBA and former Super Middleweight champion Badou Jack is challenging Adonis Stevenson for the WBC title, the talented Sullivan Barrera has only lost to Andre Ward and will now challenge the young talented Dmitry Bivol on the undercard of Sergey Kovalev’s WBO defense against Igor Mikhalkin. American prospect and former Olympian Marcus Browne is ready to challenge for a title, and so is the talented Oleksandr Gvozdyk. The division is on fire right now, and if the best continue to fight the best than the 175 lb division looks like it may be able to compete with 147 as the most exciting division in boxing.
WBC: Champion: Adonis Stevenson vs Badou Jack on May 19th
WBA: Champion: Dmitry Bivol vs Sullivan Barrera on March 3rd
IBF: Champion Artur Beterbiev – No Fight Date/Opponent Currently
WBO: Champion Sergey Kovalev vs Igor Mikhalkin on March 3rd
Other Top Contenders: Marcus Browne, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Eleider Alvarez, and Joe Smith Jr
Prospect to Watch : Anthony Yarde
Are We Experiencing a Heavyweight Revival?
By: Jose Cuevas
With Anthony Joshua’s victory over Wladimir Klitschko in April of last year boxing fans and pundits argued that this was a major turning point for the fledgling Heavyweight division. Not only was it an exciting fight, but it drew major numbers with around 90,000 people in attendance across the pond in England. Also, when Showtime and HBO are actually sharing the broadcast rights you know it is going to be a monumental fight, given their tumultuous relationship.
One of the other severely underscored elements that made this fight a turning point for the heavyweight division was the fact that Klitschko passed the torch to Joshua. He wasn’t given the torch he took it from Klistchko. Joshua became the man in the Heavyweight division because he won a tough competitive fight against the fighter that ruled the division for so many years. Now there are whispers, or rather blaring horns, of mega fights in the Heavyweight division.
Yes we know about Joshua, but who else?
Deontay Wilder, the New American Hope
Every great fighter needs a foil, a rival, and Joshua has that in Deontay Wilder. Wilder has been annihilating competition ever since becoming a professional boxer. He has explosive power in both hands and overall is just a phenomenal athlete. Whether he has been tested by solid opposition is in question as he has mostly fought boxers who most would qualify as B or even C level fighters. What makes Wilder so exciting is that he’s for one an American Heavyweight, a throwback to when American Heavyweights dominated the division, He is explosive, you shouldn’t blink when he fights as the knockout can come at any minute and they are usually vicious….look at what he did to Artur Szpilka, Lastly, who shows enough wrinkles in his game that one can see him having possible issues when matching up with other fighters in the division.
Again looking at the fight with Artur Szpilka, in that fight Wilder looked a bit perplexed as Szpilka was outboxing him in some portions of the fight. With Stiverne in their first meeting he fought well, but seemed limited in his attack options relying on the 1 – 2 far too often. It helps to have the wingspan and incredible power he has, but I know fans and pundits alike can see this being an issue against other fighters in the division. However, I don’t for a second believe that Wilder is afraid of anyone in the division, which makes the Heavyweight division incredibly exciting to watch as fighters at the top level with some noticeable wrinkles can make for some phenomenal fights.
To Wilder’s credit he is yearning for a career defining fight, or at least a fight that will test him and in return shut the naysayers up. He has tried to secured bouts against Alexander Povetkin that have been called off due to positive PED results on behalf of Povetkin. He also tried to step in the ring with the incredibly dangerous Luis Ortiz who also failed a drug test, however the fight is again on for March 3rd. Maybe fighters failing PED tests is a testament to how feared Wilder is in the division, just some food for thought….
Luis Ortiz- The boogeyman of the division
Ortiz is a sensational fighter with power that rivals Wilder’s. The interesting thing about Ortiz is that he is also a product of the Cuban Amateur system. The Cuban system emphasizes racking up points while minimizing confrontation. A style illustrated by Erislandy Lara and Guillermo Rigondeaux. Some would even argue that it is “boring” as the fights usually involve a Cuban fighter pot shotting and running laps around the ring. Ortiz has been able to use his Cuban heritage to be a technical boxer in the ring while homing onto an opponent and crushing them with great power.
It’s scary to also see his counter-punching ability. He is phenomenal at catching punches and shooting his own. His record is 28-0 with 24 Kos an impressive record indeed. His career has definitely been stymied by the ridiculous nature of boxing politics where some promoters refuse to work with others to the point that dream fights don’t happen or happen too late. Now he seems to be in the clear and is set to fight Deontay Wilder on the 3rd of March.
There is only one problem that comes to mind when you think of Ortiz, his age. He is 38 and is creeping on 40. At that age boxers slow down and don’t have the same prowess they did in their twenties or early thirties. Wilder may expose Ortiz given Wilder’s athleticism and youth, but don’t count Ortiz out…but just know father time is undefeated.
Tyson Fury- The outlaw of the division
Fury is an interesting character in and out of the ring. He rose to prominence after snapping Wladimir Klistchko’s winning streak and stranglehold on the Heavyweight division, in turn winning all major belts except the WBC crown held by Deontay Wilder. However, it seems like the brightness of the lights got to him as he went on a downward spiral that resulted in him losing all of his belts due to battling his own personal demons.
He seems committed to returning to the ring and reclaiming what he never lost in the ring. Fury’s fight with Klistchko was a dud by most accounts, however he did the trick. If Fury returns to the ring expect him to give Ortiz, Wilder, or Joshua a tough fight. The biggest piece to this puzzle is if Fury can get back into top ring shape and remain focus on the sport of boxing.
He has long range, good power, and is ridiculously tall for a heavyweight. These factors give him an advantage over any fighter on this list as he knows how to use his size advantage over his opponents. He frustrated Klitschko who frequently relied on using his size to wear out and beat his opponents. The heavyweight division is one where a size advantage can mean a lot, given that all of the fighters in the division are strong and dangerous.
The matchups and theatrics
Any possible match up with the fighters on this list will make for a great fight…not just because of their skill level, but because of the charisma and bombast all these fighters have. Can you imagine the press conferences between Wilder and Fury? Or what about Fury and Joshua? Or the fight everyone wants Wilder vs Joshua? This is something that has been missing in the Heavyweight division for a while. And while it’s the skill of the fighters that brings people to the fights, some pre-fight shenanigans always help create interest in the fight.
Match them up how you like as the Heavyweight division is getting hot again. There are other up and coming heavyweights like Jarrell Miller and Dillian Whyte who are making a buzz. It’s a great time to be a boxing fan as boxing in general is enjoying a renaissance. From the lower weight classes up to heavyweight new stars are emerging and they are making for exciting fights. As always, all we can do is hope that the complications of boxing politics don’t limit who can fight who in an era where there is so much depth in the sport of boxing.
Joseph Parker Makes a Statement in Disappointing Bout
Joseph Parker Makes a Statement in Disappointing Bout
By: Eric Lunger
On Saturday night in New Zealand, Joseph Parker (20-0, 17 KO’s) was looking to move his career beyond his native islands, where he is something of a cult figure, and to join the mix at the top of the heavyweight division. Currently sitting at 7th in Ring Magazine’s ratings, Parker has not really fought anyone well known, or much of a challenge for that matter.
Enter Alexander Dimitrenko (38-2, 24 KO’s), a Germany-based Ukrainian heavyweight with 15 years of professional experience and only two losses (both against quality opposition). Dimitrenko is big (6’7”), possesses good skill and agility for his size, and was clearly a big step up for Parker.
Kevin Barry, Parker’s trainer admitted at the weigh-in on Friday that Dimitrenko was part of a plan for pushing Parker to the next level, though Barry was respectful enough to give credit to Dimitrenko for his preparation and for his potential danger as an opponent. Dimitrenko, in fact, weighed in at 253 lbs, and looked very fit. Parker was giving up 3 inches in height and 7 inches in reach.
But the real story of the fight was hand speed. Dimitrenko was clearly the larger and more powerful fighter, but that didn’t matter. Parker’s hands were simply too fast for the Ukrainian to process mentally and to defend. In the first round, Dimitrenko had good position, was establishing lead foot dominance to some extent, but every time he prepared his jab (left shoulder forward, prepping the strait right), Parker beat him to the punch, either jabbing to the body and then blasting up top, or simply countering with a left hook. The knock down with 1:40 left in the round was a result of a crisp left, right combination that Dimitrenko saw but could not defend.
In the second round, Dimitrenko was obviously trying to increase his activity level, but Parker caught him with a right hook after an awkward exchange.
Dimitrenko went down, but felt the punch was to the back of the head. Dimitrenko smiled wryly at the referee during the count, as though he knew he wasn’t going to get a break in that building. The second knock down was clearer, and again Dimitrenko simply could not cope with Parker’s hand speed.
The fight ended midway through the third round in a disappointing series of events, to say the least. Parker continued to land hard shots, and Dimitrenko began to close the distance and clinch. On the second clinch, Parker leaned on the bigger man and Dimitrenko dropped onto his left knee. With Dimitrenko down, Parker fired a vicious right-handed dig into Dimitrenko’s body. As the big Ukrainian writhed on the matt holding his ribs, referee Marlon White counted him out. Parker’s last shot came in a series of body punches. Was it a dirty punch? Probably not, Parker seemed to be finishing a sequence of blows. “Protect yourself at all times” is not just a formality in boxing, it’s an essential part of the sport. Dimitrenko hinted at this in the post fight, according to the New Zealand Herald, “He hit me, but OK, this is the boxing business, the heavyweight division. I was down on one knee but this is heavyweight boxing.”
Joseph Parker did what his team wanted him to do on Saturday. There is no question that has elite level skills and speed. Did he do enough to attract interest from the promoters of the big names in the division? Time will tell, but for me, Joseph Parker vs. Anthony Joshua would be a dynamic matchup, and a treat for boxing fans on both sides of the globe.
The Working Class Charm Of Chris Arreola
The Working Class Charm Of Chris Arreola
By: Sean Crose
I remember the conference call like it was yesterday. I was on the phone with boxing media and Chris Arreola…foul mouthed Chris Arreola. I wasn’t expecting to be impressed – but Arreola proved my pre conceived notions to be wrong. Sure enough, the experience reminded me not to judge a book by its cover. For Arreola was, for lack of a more professional term, really cool. Friendly, gregarious, personable – he had all the traits needed to be well liked. Whatever his flaws might have been as a pro athlete, it was hard not to leave the conference call impressed with Arreola’s proficient renegade people skills.
Truth be told, I don’t think I was much different than a whole lot of fans that day. People, simply put, like Arreola the person, if not the fighter. Think about it, here’s a guy who actually admitted that he doesn’t deserve the heavyweight title shot he’s getting next week against the very colorful – and, admit it, talented -Deontay Wilder, yet few are condemning the state of boxing for creating such a match up.
This may have something to do with Alexander Povetkin, who was supposed to face Wilder, testing positive for a banned substance, of course. An immediate replacement was needed and Arreola was available. Still, I think there’s something more at work here. Arreola, as has been pointed out (I think by Dan Rafael and a fan during one of Dan’s online chats), is apt to enter the fight out of shape and unprepared. Understandable, perhaps, since he took the bout on short notice – but still perfectly in keeping with Arreola’s reputation for being less than disciplined.
Sure enough, Arreola is likely to enter the ring on any given occasion as big as a figurative three family house. He’s also likely to struggle against less than lauded opposition. Yet through it all the man fights and fights. Ultimately, Arreola strikes fans as being a working class guy, a jovial tough customer who might not be the picture of industry, but is still all heart. He’s the guy to bear hug you a party, the kid in grammar school who would take care of the playground bully for you. He’s the guy who steps up to the plate each and every time and gives it his all – whether he’s bothered to properly prepare himself or not.
So yeah, there’s a lot to like about Chris Arreola. With that in mind, it would be one hell of a shock to see him get past Wilder, a fighter with his own charms…and heart. Say what you will, this fight won’t be a snooze fest.
The Odd Title Reign of Tyson Fury
The Odd Title Reign Of Tyson Fury
By: Sean Crose
Tyson Fury stunned a good part of the boxing world late last year when he captured the heavyweight title – or at least the vast majority of it – from longtime heavyweight kingpin Wladimir Klitschko. Those who knew of Fury beforehand, those who were familiar with his mouth and antics, knew right off the bat that the fight world would henceforth be in for a wild ride. And, truth be told, Fury hasn’t disappointed. For the Englishman has crashed a post-fight ring party in New York for fellow titlist Deontay Wilder, has offended the cultural sensibilities of his home country and has been stripped of the IBF portion of the heavyweight title pie.
With a rematch with Klitschko on the way, however, some are pointing out that Fury isn’t taking his next fight seriously. If true, this is a big mistake on the part of the new champion. For he himself has recently admitted that Klitschko nearly knocked him out a few times in their first bout – though this might come across as news to anyone who saw the bout. Still, it’s being noted that the man has put on weight, and that he’s appearing nonchalant about his ring future. Whether most – or any of this – is true or not is anyone’s guess.
Nonetheless, it adds to Fury’s reputation for being an outlier and even something as a loose cannon within the sport. Those who are familiar with Fury’s story, of course, are aware of the fact that Fury either accepts his outsider standing or even relishes it outright. As a member of Britain’s Irish Traveller minority, Fury is part of an ethnic subculture that has more than seen its share of discrimination. In other words, Fury’s never been a mainstream guy.
With that in mind, however, there’s no denying that the undefeated champion’s behavior and words are often contradictory and/or erratic. For instance, Fury has recently claimed that Klitschko intentionally lost their first fight. Who in the world says that about the man he’s won a title from unless there was serious evidence to suggest as much?
Then there’s the instance of Fury diminishing rising star Anthony Joshua’s Adonis-like physique while speaking admirably of the man a short time later (or was it before?). The truth is that no one, perhaps this even includes Fury himself, knows what Fury is apt to say or do next. One moment he’s hungry to put down his peers, the next he’s close to dismissing his profession entirely. Needless to say, it’s all quite confusing.
Perhaps, however, that’s all part of the trick. Perhaps Fury wants to confuse people, to have them not know whether he’s coming or going. If one thing was certain at the end of last year, it was that Fury had gotten inside Klitchko’s head. Whether he was dressing up as Batman for a press conference or getting the better of his man, via verbal sparring, it was clear Fury was bullying the Ukranian legend effectively.
What to make of this odd title reign, then? Will it end quickly? Will Klitschko rapidly reestablish himself (at least to a large degree) when the two men meet again this summer (this time in Britain rather than in Germany)? Or will Fury prove himself again? If so, it may be clear to everyone that Tyson Fury won’t be going anywhere. Unless, of course, he himself chooses to. Or unless a talented up and comer gets to him. People would be well advised not to write the man off, though.
For Fury is nothing if not absolutely full of surprises. In fact, that’s arguably part of this weird guy’s charm.
Showtime Boxing International Preview: Charles Martin vs. Anthony Joshua, Selby vs. Hunter
Showtime Boxing International Preview: Charles Martin vs. Anthony Joshua, Selby vs. Hunter
By: William Holmes
Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley are not the only big names fighting on Saturday, as Showtime Showtime Boxing International will televised two world title fights live from the O2 Arena in London England. The main event of the evening will feature newly minted IBF Heavyweight Champion Charles Martin putting his title on the line against the hard hitting uber prospect Anthony Joshua. The opening bout of the afternoon will be between IBF Featherweight World Champion Lee Selby and Philadelphia contender Eric Hunter.
The main event will have big implications in the heavyweight scene moving forward, as the other two world titlists have big title bouts coming up in the near future. Tyson Fury is set to defend his title again against Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder will be traveling to Russia to face Alexander Povetkin. The winner of the bout between Martin and Joshua will have big money options in the near future.
The following is a preview of the IBF Featherweight and IBF Heavyweight title bouts.
Lee Selby (22-1) vs. Eric Hunter (21-3); IBF Featherweight Title
Lee Selby is the current IBF Featherweight Title holder and has fought outside the United Kingdom once in his career. However, on Saturday night he will be fighting in the United Kingdom yet again and will have the fans in attendance cheering for him.
Selby will have a two and a half inch height advantage as well as a one inch reach advantage over his opponent. They are both twenty nine years old and in the peek of their athetlic prime.
Neither Selby or Hunter has any notable international amateur accomplishments and both have average power for a featherweight. Hunter has stopped eleven of his opponents while Selby has only stopped eight.
Hunter’s record is a bit deceiving, as two of his losses were by disqualification, to Mike Oliver and Luis Franco, and his other loss was by split decision to Carlos Vivan way back in 2007.
Selby has defeated the likes of Fernando Montiel, Evgeny Gradovich, and Joel Bunker. Hunter’s biggest wins have come against Jerry Belmontes, Yenifel Vicente, Antonio Escalante, and Rene Alvardo.
This should be a close fight and will likely be action packed. Both boxers like to throw a high volume of punches, and this bout could go either way. But Selby, at this point, has faced the tougher competition and fighting in front of his countrymen should make him a favorite on Saturday.
Charles Martin (23-0-1) vs. Anthony Joshua (15-0); IBF Heavyweight Title
Charles Martin wasted little time in challenging himself after he defeated Vyacheslav Glazkov for the IBF Heavyweight title and accepted a challenge from one of the best prospects the heavyweight division has to offer.
Martin has incredible power and has stopped twenty one of his opponents, but Joshua has even more impressive knockout numbers as he has stopped every single opponent he has faced and only one guy has made it past the third round.
Martin, a southpaw, will be giving up one inch in height and two inches in reach to Joshua. Martin did have some success in the amateur circuit as he is a former National Police Athletic League Champion and was the National Runner up in the Golden Gloves. Joshua however, has reached the pinnacle of the amateurs by winning the gold medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Martin’s biggest victories to date have come against Vyacheslav Glazkov, Vicente Ssandez, Kertson Manswell, Glenddy Hernandez, and Joey Dawejko. Joshua’s biggest victories to date have come against Dillian Whyte, Gary Cornish, Kevin Johnson, and Raphael Zumbano Love.
This will be the first time Martin has ever fought outside the United States. Joshua has never fought outside the United Kingdom and will have a friendly crowd in attendance supporting him.
Both boxers have been very active the past two years. Martin fought once in 2016, four times in 2015, and five times in 2014. Joshua has fought five times in 2015 and seven times in 2014.
Martin has the power in his hands to score the upset, but Joshua comes from a strong amateur pedigree and has even more power in his hands than his opponent. The longer the fight goes the better the odds are of a Joshua victory, but regardless Joshua should be the favorite to win on Saturday night.
David Price KOs Sam Sexton to Win British and Commonwealth Heavyweight Titles
by Johnny Walker
Hulking Liverpudlian David Price continued his rise in the heavyweight division today by knocking challenger Sam Sexton out cold in the fourth round at the Aintree Equestrian Centre, in Liverpool, England. With the win, Price picks up the British and Commonwealth titles recently vacated by Tyson Fury.
The 6’8 1/2″ tall Price (13-0, 11 KOs) used an impressive array of punches, working behind a popping left jab and mixing in body shots, left hooks, and right uppercuts, to bust up Sexton (15-3, 6 KOs) almost as soon as the opening bell rang. Price showed excellent discipline as he boxed to a plan, not in any particular rush to take the game but overpowered Sexton out.
After winning the first two rounds, Price began to open up more and caught Sexton with a glancing right to the top of the head just before round three ended. Sexton still appeared wobbly in round four, and finally hit the canvas again from a hard Price right uppercut. Sexton’s nose was now bloodied, and about two minutes into the round, Price connected with a crushing right cross that sent Sexton crashing to the mat.
Referee Howard Foster dispensed with a count, as the prone Sexton was in great difficulty. David Price was declared the British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion at 2:07 of round four.
“It’s exactly what I’ve worked for since I’ve been a professional,” the genial Price said of his new titles.
“I felt I used my jab well and boxed the plan.”
As the talk of him becoming the heir apparent to the heavyweight champion Klitschko brothers gets louder, Price intends to move to the European level next, and a fight with Kubrat Pulev, who recently stopped Alexander Dimitrenko to win the European heavyweight crown, is one tantalizing possibility.
Heavyweights David Price and Sam Sexton Weigh-In
UK heavyweights David Price and Sam Sexton weigh in for their British and Commonwealth title bout in Liverpool, England.
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Power Shots: David Price Is Big; Franklin Lawrence, Razor Ruddock and Kevin Johnson Talk Big
Power Shots: News and Views on the Heavyweight Division
by Johnny Walker
David Price: the next BIG (and we mean BIG) thing?
Those fans of heavyweight boxing in the UK and elsewhere turned off by the current (overblown, in our opinion) controversy regarding the Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora and David Haye matchup will find respite this Saturday night as rising British star David Price (12-0, 10 KOs) goes up against sturdy challenger Sam Sexton (15-2, 6 KOs) in Liverpool, England.
Veteran British fight promoter Frank Maloney-—a rival of the man putting on the Haye-Chisora grudge fight, Frank Warren—has been busy in the lead-up to this scrap for the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles (recently vacated by Tyson Fury when a fight with Price couldn’t be agreed upon), promoting the genial 6’8” tall giant Price as the anti-Chisora/Haye/Fury of UK boxing.
Price tends to avoid trash talk and likes to let his fists speak for him in the ring.
“David and Sam are both gentlemen and will give fans a fight to remember, “ says Maloney.
“There has been no trash talking and whoever wins will be proud to call themselves British and Commonwealth champion.
“[Tyson] Fury tried to lessen the title by refusing to face David. Chisora and Haye have brought bad publicity to the sport.
“Obviously I am backing David to win, but Sam is a very good fighter and been a delight to work with during the build-up.”
Price himself says that the buzz about him at home has grown so deafening that he escaped to the quiet of Germany to train for the Sexton fight.
“I needed to get away because there are a few distractions at home in the city. A lot more people want me to be here, there and everywhere,” says Price.
“It is nice to know you are in demand, but training is the most important thing so I had to get away and focus.
“Just a few different things were getting in the way of my preparations. It has done me the world of good. There was nothing there apart from the hotel and the gym so there was plenty of time to focus.”
While Price impressed many last time out with a first round destruction of rugged John McDermott, one observer who wasn’t moved by the fight was none other than his rival, the ever-opinionated Mr. Fury.
“He’s a bum,” Fury says of Price.
Haye vs Chisora: The People’s Choice
While there has been a lot of moaning from Frank Maloney and others in the boxing business re the Haye versus Chisora grudge feud scheduled for July 14 in London, England, two different polls this week show that the boxing public is massively in favor of the fight taking place. A poll in Boxing News showed 75 percent of respondents in favor of the bout, while another in the Daily Mail had the pro-fight faction at 71 percent.
Franklin Lawrence and Mike Mollo: Big Talk
Closer to home, American heavyweight contender Franklin “Ya Ya” Lawrence takes on Mike Mollo for the vacant NABA heavyweight title this Friday night at the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, Dover, Delaware.
Lawrence (17-2-2, 12 KOs), coming off of five straight wins, sounds very confident, if not downright arrogant, as he takes on a man who hasn’t fought since 2010.
“Mike Mollo can’t fight,” Lawrence says flatly. “He just swings wildly.”
“Andrew Golota boxed him and then beat him half to death.
“The guy has no inside game and he is not ready for me. He doesn’t do anything textbook but I will give him credit because he does take a good beating.”
Lawrence is also convinced that the heavyweight titles held by the Brothers Klitschko are soon to be his.
“I will be fighting for the championship within a fight or two. My ratings would be higher except the guys ahead of me are ducking me,” Lawrence contends.
“Once the networks see what I can do, they will know I am a serious challenger for the title.”
Mollo (20-3-1, 12 KO’s), however, is unimpressed by Lawrence’s future plans, which he sees as delusions of grandeur, and says he’ll upset “Ya Ya’s” apple cart with a win on Friday night.
“Not only am I going to win but I will win in spectacular fashion,” Mollo vows.
“I have been putting in the hard work and have been in training camp for ten weeks.
“[Lawrence] beat an out of shape Jason Gavern and Jason Estrada. He has gotten off easy in those fights and if he wants to live off that, then he is fooling himself.
“This fight will get me back in the spotlight and I am not looking to squeak by with a decision.”
If the fight is as heated as the trash talk, this should be a good one.
The Return of Razor Ruddock?
Speaking of delusions of grandeur, you may have heard of the press release making the rounds announcing the return of former contender Donovan “Razor” Ruddock (38-5-1, 29 KOs).
Ruddock joins the ranks of Jameel “Big Time” McCline, Evander Holyfield, James “Lights Out” Toney, and Antonio Tarver, all 40+ aged fighters who are looking for that coveted (and lucrative) shot at one or both of the heavyweight kingpin Klitschko brothers.
“First thing, I want my Canadian Heavyweight title back,” says Ruddock.
“I really respect Neven [Pajkic, current Canadian Heavyweight champion].
“He’s a warrior who carries the title with class and pride. But, sadly for him, he’s wearing the belt that I want.
“Then when Neven is healing up, hopefully he’ll take some comfort in the fact that I’ll be putting Tyson Fury, Chris Arreola, Derrick Chisora, David Haye, Bermane Stiverne, Seth Mitchell, and Tomasz Adamek, on the exact same pudding diet too.
“And after I feast on the appetizers, I’ll dive in for two helpings of Chicken Kiev,” says Ruddock in a reference to the Ukrainian champions.
Power Shots contacted Canadian champion Pajkic regarding Ruddock’s grandiose remarks, and he didn’t seem too impressed with the 48-year-old former contender’s big plans.
“HAHAHAHA,” Pajkic replied via Facebook. “What can I say brother, out here in TO [Toronto] crack is cheap !!!”
Prizefighter Heavyweight Tournament to Feature Kevin Johnson, Albert Sosnowski, Kali Meehan
Another heavyweight who is never lacking in the trash talk department, Kevin “Kingpin” Johnson, is already yapping ahead of the Betfair Prizefighter International Heavyweights tournament set for Wednesday June 20 at York Hall, Bethnal Green in the UK.
Both Johnson and fellow tournament entry Albert Sosnowski have been vanquished already by WBC heavyweight champ Vitali Klitschko, but while most would rate Sosnowski’s effort as a game one, Johnson’s negative performance against the big Ukrainian earned him the sarcastic moniker, “Safety Pin.”
Johnson made a move back toward heavyweight relevance recently when he disposed of Aussie heavyweight contender Alex Leapai, stopping him via a ninth-round TKO.
And that’s all Johnson needed to start talking very big once again.
“I’m ready to put the American heavyweight boxing scene back on the map starting with the Betfair Prizefighter tournament on June 20,” Johnson says.
“Like I tell everybody, I am the best American heavyweight – bar none! If people see me, they will know it. Don’t worry about Seth Mitchell, Chris Arreola or any of those other clowns. Just focus on me and watch me deliver. I’m the best heavyweight in the world that’s not named Klitschko, and after Prizefighter, I’ll take care of that too.”
Power Shots has to wonder: has Kevin Johnson been talking to Razor Ruddock, by any chance?
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WBC President Sulaiman: “Vitali Can’t Fight David Haye”
By Johnny Walker
According to a post on promoter Frank Maloney’s website, WBC president Jose Sulaiman has nixed the idea of a fight between his heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko and former WBA champ David Haye of England.
Both Klitschko and Haye have been chomping at the bit to fight each other, with Haye even announcing last week via Twitter that the fight was on.
Now, in opposition to both fighter’s wishes, Sulaiman has thrown rhetorical cold water over the whole idea.
“The WBC will not accept David Haye,” writes Sulaiman.
“He is not rated by the WBC. And, The British Board of Boxing Control, can’t issue anything against someone who’s not affiliated to them any more. If he was licensed, he’d for sure have his license taken away from him. It would be setting a bad example for boxing if we accepted David Haye.
“This is a long feud, but I believe Vitali must think of the world, and not just limit himself to the area where he’s been fighting recently. I think he should now look for something more important and worldwide.”
Exactly who Sulaiman has in mind is the real question here.
There are few if any other fighters in the heavyweight division who can sell a fight like the “retired” British motormouth, so for pre-fight publicity and resulting fan interest alone, Haye versus Vitali is a sure-fire world-wide winner–especially after the recent highly publicized post-fight brawl in Germany featuring Haye belting his UK counterpart Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora in the face.
But Sulaiman isn’t having it.
“I would not like to mention David Haye again, because for me today, he’s not a good example for boxing,” he says. “Let’s talk about someone else that could be a reality. This is a joke!”
Some might say that the WBC president’s sudden worries about the image of the boxing are also a joke, but that is another story for another day.