Tag Archives: russia

Chinese & Russian Boxers to Watch in Fanlong Meng & Egor Mekhontsev


By: Ken Hissner

Back in 2012 this writer was in New York watching USA vs China. Two boxers stood out one from each team. From team USA it was Philadelphia’s Jesse “Hard Work” Hart, now 22-1. He lost that fight in his September title shot to Gilberto Ramirez the WBO Super middle champion. The Chinese team had a boxer I thought may have been from Mongolia but I was wrong for he was from Chifeng, China.

I have seen Meng, fight professionally in Atlantic City, NJ, when he defeated Zab Judah’s brother Daniel, 24-10-3, in July of 2016, scoring a fifth round knockout. That was his 8th fight. I saw him in his third fight at Beach Haven, NJ, beat Michael Mitchell, 3-5-2, of Paterson, NJ. Mitchell defeated Wildwood’s Chuckie Mussachio, 19-3-2, in January of 2017.

Meng’s first four fights were in the US then one in Puerto Rico. Then back to the US then China and when he beat Judah. In April of 2017 in his last US appearance he won all eight rounds defeating Brad Austin, 12-23, from Tennessee, right after Austin beat Greg Brady 5-1.

After the Judah fight in September of 2016 Meng defeated Zura Mekereshvili, 18-5, from the country of Georgia. Meng came off the canvas twice to win an eight round majority decision. Zura now has 22 wins with 18 by KO. In Meng’s next fight which was in January of 2017 Meng won the vacant WBO Oriental light heavyweight title with a first round knockout in his first ten rounder over Russian Gasan Gasanov, 12-4-1, in April of 2017.

In Meng’s next fight he returned to the US beating Austin. Next in his last fight in October he defeated Emmanuel Danso, 28-1 (23), from Ghana, winning all ten rounds in Macao as the co-feature to an IBF Female world title fight. He is now 12-0 with 7 knockouts.

Meng represented China in the 2012 Olympic Games defeating a Moroccan, 17-8, then came a Brazilian that ended 17-17 and they gave it to the Brazilian. Meng fought in the 2009 and 2011 World Amateur Championships. In 2009 he was 1-1 and in 2012 he won his first three matches then losing to a boxer from KAZ named Adilbek Niyazymbetov. This brings me to my other prospect who defeated Niyazymbetov when they ended up 15-15 in the Gold Medal round of the 2012 Olympics.

That fighter is Egor Mekhontsev from Asbest, Russia who is 13-0-1 as a professional with 8 knockouts. He’s a 33 year-old light heavyweight southpaw now living in Los Angeles, CA.

Mekhontsev was a quarter-finalist in the 2005 World Amateur Championship going 2-1, in China. In 2009 he moved up to heavyweight and won the same tournament defeating among others the current WBO World Cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk from the Ukraine, who won the 2012 Olympics defeating the boxer who defeated him in the 2008 Olympics Clemente Russo of Italy, in Milan, Italy.

In 2011 Mekhontsev was a Bronze medalist as a light heavyweight in Baku, Azerbaijan, where he won his first three matches including defeating Marcus Browne of the US, 14-6, who is 20-0 (15) as a pro. Mekhontsev then beat a boxer from the Ukraine but lost to the Cuban Julio Cesar la Cruz 20-15, who won the Olympic Gold Medal in 2016, the World Amateur Championships in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017.

Mekhontsev was the Gold Medalist in the European Amateur Championships in 2008 in the UK and in 2012 in Russia. In the 2012 final he defeated Tervel Pulev, now a cruiserweight from Bulgaria who is 6-0 (6), as a pro, and lost to Usyk in the semi-final round of the 2012 Olympics. Tervel is the older brother of Kubrat Pulev, 25-1, only losing to Wladimir Klitschko in a world title bout.

Mekhontsev’s first six fights ended in knockouts with four of them in the US, one in Macao, where he stopped Thailand’s Atthaporn Jaritram, 4-0, February of 2014. Only in his first bout did he fight someone with a losing record in December of 2013. He was 6-0 in 2014 stopping boxers Dwayne Williams 5-1, Mike Mirafuentes, 2-0, Samuel Miller 28-8 and Jinner Guerrero 7-2 while decisioning Joey Vargas 17-9-1, winning 7 or 8 of the 8 rounds.

In 2015 Mekhontsev was 3-0 stopping Marcelo Leandro Da Silva, 21-3 (dislocated left arm), of Brazil, Hakim Zoulikha, 21-5 of France, and Jackson Junior 17-3, of France. In 2016 he was 2-0-1 Felipe Romero, 19-10-1, of Mexico and knocking out Victor Barragan 12-9-1, then drawing in a majority decision with Alexander Johnson, 16-4, while getting a 78-74 in his favor.

It was close to a year without fight with his only 2017 fight in Moscow in July. Top Rank released him two years ago. Mekhontsev’s opponents as a pro are 105-55-6.

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Why Is America Missing Out On Joshua-Klitschko?


Why Is America Missing Out On Joshua-Klitschko?
By: Sean Crose

A public workout was held Wednesday. In Wembley Stadium. In front of a significant, loud and very energetic crowd. With Michael Buffer introdrucing the fighters before they actually, you know, worked out. This, friends, was something special. And little wonder. For the first time since Mayweather-Pacuiao, the days are winding down to a legitimate superbout. For, in case you haven’t heard, rising British Star Anthony Joshua will be throwing down against former longtime champion Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday in a battle for heavyweight supremacy. They fact that the two men will be fighting in front of 90,000 people – that’s 90,000 people – gives some indication as to just how big this match is.

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While the fight is indeed finding itself onto sports’ pages in the states, it leaves this Yank feeling a bit sad that Joshua-Klitschko isn’t getting the attention it deserves here. Not sad for the fighters. Not sad for boxing. Sad for my countrymen. No kidding, I feel a bit down about this. For one of the single biggest sporting events of 2017 – if not THE single biggest – is happening this very weekend and few Americans are even aware of it. Oh, the fight will be there for us Amerians to watch – live on Showtime and later Saturday night on HBO – but how many of us will even know it’s on? And why are so many of us missing out on a major international sporting event?

First off, it helps if we face facts here. Boxing isn’t that big in the states anymore. Not when the name of Floyd Mayweather isn’t somehow involved. Boxing has done much of this to itself, of course, thanks to ridiculous management and a plethora of poorly judged fights. The American media has much to do with it, as well, however. The truth is, those who are supposed to get “the scoop” aren’t interested in the scoop when it comes to professional boxing (unless, again, Mayweather is involved). It’s hard for people to know about a major fight if the general media isn’t really discussing it…or it isn’t informing people of the sheer scope of the event.

Yet it’s not just the media who is to blame here. Americans interested in boxing can be an oddly indifferent bunch. “They both suck,” an individual training a young man on the pads in a local gym told me today. He was speaking, of course, about Joshua and Klitschko. Without giving another second of his time, the giver of that flip comment went back to work. Perhaps he just didn’t want a pain in the ass reporter in the gym…but I know of others with their fingers on the pulse who aren’t exactly jumping up and down over this bout, either. Is it because an American fighter isn’t involved? Maybe, but Alabama native Deontay Wilder is waiting in the wings with what seems to be intense interest. Wouldn’t that make American fans at least somewhat intrigued? Apparently not all of them. Unfortunately, America’s jaded boxing fans may have become way too hard to impress…suffice to say, we can forget about word of mouth spreading any kind of interest in this weekend’s bout.

Then, of course, there’s the issue of this weekend’s American television broadcasts Showtime has been doing a wonderful job with it’s boxing programing lately (while HBO seems too disinterested in boxing to even let subscribers know how disinterested it is), but this fight would have been perfectly suited to air on network television Saturday afternoon. It would then have gotten stray eyeballs from general sports, fans who would undoubtedly be impressed by the sheer size of Saturday’s event (it’s hard to keep 90,000 people from being noticed) and hopefully from the action inside the ring itself (both fighters can hit, after all). Sadly, though, the world’s newest superbout will be aired on the channels that give us “Shameless” and “Game of Thrones.” People will tune in, of course, but not as many as could or should have.

If anything, Joshua-Klitschko shows that boxing is far from dead. Too bad the American public isn’t being given the chance to realize it.

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When the Man Gaydarek Gaydarbekov Beat the Man “GGG” 2004!


WHEN THE MAN “GAYDARBEKOV” BEAT THE MAN “GGG” 2004!
By: Ken Hissner

In the mind of many boxing fans including this writer Gennady “GGG” Golovkin the WBC, WBA and IBF world middleweight champion is the best p4p boxer in the world today!

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I once did an article on who was in that 2004 Olympics which in the middleweight division it included Jean Pascal, Hassan Ndam Njikam, Karoly Balzsay, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Russian Gaydarek Gaydarbekov. Gaydarbekov in the 2000 Olympics defeated Utkirbek Haydarov of UZB, Eromosele Albert (NIG), Jeff Lacey (USA) and Zsolt Erdei (HUN) before losing in the finals to Cuban Jorge Gutierrez 17-15. Lacey, Ndam Njikam, Balzsay, Pascal and Erdei would go onto win professional world titles.

In the 1998 Goodwill Games Gaydarbekov defeated Jermain Taylor. He would return in the 2004 Olympics like earlier mentioned. His style was typical amateur by landing many light jabs scoring a point with each one and an occasional right and move around the ring trying not to be hit. He never turned professional and would not have been a good one if he did.

After Gaydarbekov defeated boxers from the Philippines, UZB, Cameroon, Thailand and in the finals a boxer from KAZ. In the other bracket was GGG who had defeated boxers from Pakistan, Egypt and the USA’s Andre Dirrell before gaining a Silver Medal in losing in the finals. In his past amateur bouts in 2000 he defeated boxers from China, Germany, Sweden, Russia and Cuba to win the Junior World championship. 2001 East Asian Games win Gold defeating boxers from South Korea, China and Australia’s Daniel Geale future IBF world champion. In 2002 defeating boxers from AZE, CAM, Russia and Cuba in the Asian Games. In 2002 winning Silver in the Asian Games defeating boxers from AFG, Qatar, So KOR and Thailand. In the 2003 World championship defeating Matt Korobov of RUS, Andy Lee of IRE a future pro world champion, Lucian Bute of ROM a future pro world champion, Yordanis Despaigne of Cuba and Oleg Mashkin of the UKR. In the 2005 World Cup won a Bronze after defeating boxers from GEO, ALG and Yordanis Despaigne of Cuba. In the 2005 World Championships defeat a Serb before losing to an Egyptian who never turned pro. Ending up 345-5 but may have had at least 8 losses. Not bad out of over 350 fights.

So when the finals came in the 2004 Olympics two of the best amateur boxers in the world would meet.

1999, 2001 and 2002 Gaydarbekov would be the Russian champion. He is now 40 years-old.

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HBO PPV Preview: Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward, Hooker vs. Perez, Chilemba vs. Gvozdyk, Stevens vs. De La Rosa


HBO PPV Preview: Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward, Hooker vs. Perez, Chilemba vs. Gvozdyk, Stevens vs. De La Rosa
By: William Holmes

On Saturday night Roc Nation Sports and Main Events Promotions will team up to deliver one of the best fights that could be made in boxing on HBO Pay Per View. The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada will be the host site for the WBO/IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight Title fight between Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward.

Ten fights total are featured on this card, including the highly anticipated debut of two time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields.

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HBO appears to be ready to televise four fights on the pay per view, and the following is a preview of all four bouts.

Curtis Stevens (28-5) vs. James De La Rosa (23-4); Middleweights

This bout is on the pay per view card despite the fact it’s highly unlikely that either participant will be fighting for a world title in the near future.

Curtis Stevens is a fan favorite and shocked many in his last bout when he beat undefeated prospect Patrick Teixeira.

He’ll be giving up ½ inch in reach and about three inches in height to De La Rosa. However, he has faced significantly better competition and has a deep amateur background than his opponent.

De La Rosa lost his last two fights and only has thirteen knockout victories. Stevens has twenty one knockout victories and is known for delivering exciting bouts.

Both boxers only fought one time in 2016, zero times in 2015, and three times in 2014.

Stevens has beaten the likes of Patrick Teixeira, Tureano Johnson, Patrick Majewski, Saul Roman, Derrick Findley, and Elvin Ayala. He has lost to the likes of Gennady Golovkin, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Andre Dirrell and Jesse Brinkley. De La Rosa has defeated the likes of Alfredo Angulo but has lost to the likes of Jason Quigley, Hugo Centeno Jr., Marcus Willis, and Allen Conyers.

Stevens has been inconsistent throughout his career, but this is a bout that he should win in a fan pleasing fashion.

Isaac Chilemba (24-4-2) vs. Oleksandr Gvozdyk (11-0); Light Heavyweights

Not many boxers can claim to have lasted twelve rounds with Sergey Kovalev, and Isaac Chilemba is one of them.

However, he’s facing a highly decorated Ukranian amateur that is managed by Egis Klimas, who has an impressive stable of boxers under his control, and many consider Gvozdyk to be future world champion material.

Gvozdyk has nine stoppage victories in only eleven professional bouts and is a 2012 Summer Olympics Bronze medalist. Chilemba has ten stoppage victories in thirty professional bouts, so Gvozdyk has a clear edge in power. Chilemba also does not have the amateur experience of Gvozdyk.

Gvozdyk will be the same height as Chilemba but will also have a two and a half inch reach advantage. They are of the same age. Gvozdyk has also been considerably more active than Chilemba. He fought three times in 2016 and four times in 2015, while Chilemba only fought once in 2016 and twice in 2015.

Gvozdyk has already defeated the likes of Nadjib Mohammedi and Tommy Karpency before he has faced his twelfth opponent. Chilemba has defeated the likes of Doudou Ngumbu, Maksim Vlasov, Edison Miranda, Denis Grachev, and Vasily Lepikhin; but he has also lost to the likes of Sergey Kovalev, Eleider Alvarez, Tony Bellew, and Willbeforce Shihepo.

Chilemba is a tough opponent with a strong chin, but he’s not on the same level of technique as Gvozdyk and he doesn’t have the power to score an upset knockout.

This should be a good showcase fight for Gvozdyk to show off his skills.

Maurice Hooker (21-0-2) vs. Darleys Perez (33-2-1); Junior Welterweights

Maurice Hooker is one of the most intriguing prospects on the undercard, as his reach and height has many people comparing him to Paul Williams.

Hooker will have a four inch height advantage as well as an amazing ten inch reach advantage over Perez. He’s also six years younger than Perez.

Hooker is known for being a hard puncher and has stopped sixteen of his opponents. Perez has twenty one stoppage victories, but his best days appear to be behind him.

Hooker fought three times in 2015 and twice in 2016 while Perez fought one time in 2016 and three times in 2015.

Perez has the edge in amateur experience. He represented Columbia in the 2008 Summer Olympics while Hooker’s biggest claim to fame in the amateurs was when he won the Dallas Regional Golden Gloves Championship.

This bout is a big step up in competition for Hooker. He has defeated the likes of Ty Barnett, Wilfrido Buelvas, and Eduardo Galindo. Perez has beaten the likes of Argenis Lopez, Jonathan Maicelo, and Jaider Parra. His losses have come to Anthony Crolla and Yuriorkis Gamboa.

Perez was the former WBA Lightweight champion, but he’ll be competing at a higher weight class on Saturday and will be facing a good opponent with a ridiculous reach advantage.

The ten inch reach advantage will be too much for Perez to overcome.

Sergey Kovalev (30-0-1) vs. Andre Ward (30-0); WBO/IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight Title

The main event of the night is one of the best fights that could be made in boxing today and the winner will likely have a claim to the top pound for pound spot on the mythical list.

Kovalev, at the age of 33, and Ward, at the age of 32, are nearing the end of their physical primes but neither have shown signs of slowing down inside the ring.

They both are six foot tall, but Kovalev will have a slight one and a half inch reach advantage when they are both inside the ring.

Ward has the deeper amateur background of the two as he won the Olympic Gold Medal in 2004. Kovalev also had success as an amateur and was a former Russian Champion as an amateur, but he never competed in the Olympics and was engaged intense competition with two other Russian amateur standouts, Matt Korobov and Artur Beterbiev.

Kovalev has the edge in power. He has stopped twenty six of his opponents while Ward has only stopped fifteen. However, Ward is a gifted defensive boxer and is excellent with his counters, and Kovalev often leaves himself open for counters after he throws one of his heavy combinations.

Kovalev has defeated the likes of Isaac Chilemba, Jean Pascal, Nadjib Mohammedi, Bernard Hopkins, Blake Caparello, Nathan Cleverly, Ismayl Sillah, Cedric Agnew, and Gabriel Campillo. He has fought twice in 2015 and once in 2016.

Ward has fought twice in 2016 and once in 2015. He has defeated the likes of Alexander Brand, Sullivan Barrera, Paul Smith, Edwin Rodriguez, Chad Dawson, Carlo Froch, Artur Abraham, Sakio Bika, Allan Green, Mikkel Kessler, and Edison Miranda.

This is a tough fight for many to pick, mainly because Ward has never faced a power puncher like Kovalev and Kovalev has never faced a slick boxer like Ward.

However, Ward’s jab is his best weapon and he’ll likely use it often to keep Kovalev at bay. History has shown that a slick boxer will usually beat a power puncher if everything else is reason, and Saturday should be no different.

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1964 Olympic Gold Medalist Valeri Popenchenko


1964 Olympic Gold Medalist Valeri Popenchenko
By: Ken Hissner

Known as Mr. Knockout!

In a recent visit to the office of neurologist Igor Porotov I asked if he was Russian? He said he was so I asked him if he ever heard of Nikolai Valuev and he said he did. He then asked me “have you ever heard of Valeri Popenchenko?” I said I didn’t but when he handed me Wikipedia of Popenchenko the 1964 Gold Medalist in the middleweight division I really found myself interested.

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Popenchenko took up boxing at the age of 11 in 1948. By 1959 he was more interested in track & field. Eventually being a natural athlete he was asked to return to boxing which he did. In 1959 he won his first Soviet title. He came in second in 1960, but reclaimed the title in 1961 through 1965. He retired in 1965 and was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour.

In 1968 Popenchenko graduated from the Leningrad Military Higher School of the Border Service and from 1970 until his death worked as a head of physical culture department of the Bauman Moscow State Technical University. I guess I should get back to his winning a Gold Medal at the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 1964.

Popenchenko had a record of 200-13 winning the Gold in 1964 and being voted the Val Barker Trophy, becoming the only soviet boxer to receive the honor as the best boxer in the Olympics. He had won the 1963 Moscow European Amateur Championships and the 1965 Berlin Championships.

Let’s take a look at the Olympians that year who were Gold Medalists like “Smokin” Joe Frazier who would become the heavyweight champion of the world. At flyweight Fernando Atzori of Italy would go onto win the European Flyweight title as a pro and finish up at 44-6-2.

Bantamweight champ was Takao Sakurai of Japan had a record of 138-13 and went onto finish with a 30-2 record as a pro only losing to Lionel Rose in a world title fight and stopped by Ruben Olivares. Nothing to be ashamed of. At featherweight was Stanislaw Stepashkin of the Soviet Union who finished at 193-11. At that time Communist countries like the Soviet Union and Poland were not permitted to turn professional.

The lightweight champion was Jozef Grudzien of Poland who then went on to win the Silver Medal in the 1968 Olympics with one of his wins over Ronnie Harris 4-1 of the USA. At light welterweight was another Pole Jerzy Kulej who was a two-time Gold Medalist also winning in 1968 in Mexico City defeating a Cuban. In 1964 he defeated a Soviet Union opponent. His amateur record was 317-25-6.

The welterweight was Marian Kasprzyk of Poland who in 1960 was a Bronze Medalist. He suffered an injury in the semi-final and couldn’t compete. In 1964 he broke his thumb in the first round of the final. The light middleweight was Boris Lagutin of the Soviet Union who in 1960 won a Bronze Medal, and win back to back Gold Medals in 1964 and 1968. He finished at 241-11. At light heavyweight was Cosimo Pinto of Italy who would not go onto a professional career. In 1967 he was a Bronze Medal at the European championships. He was the Italian champion in 1965 and 1967.

Valeri Popenchenko won the Val Barker award and out performed this fine group of boxers.

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Why Did the Klitschko’s and 7’0” Giant Nikolai Valuev Not Meet?


Why Did the Klitschko’s and 7’0” Giant Nikolai Valuev Not Meet?
By: Ken Hissner

Nikolai Valuev was the WBA heavyweight champion winning 50 out of 52 fights with 34 by knockout! At 7’0” he was the tallest boxer to ever win a world title. The “Russian Giant” or “Beast from the East” won the Russian title, PABA title, WBA International title, WBA Inter-Continental title and the WBA World title.

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Valuev fought in 10 different countries like Germany, Switzerland, Korea, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Japan, Australia, Russia, United Kingdom and the USA. His highest fighting weight was 348 lbs. and his lowest 310 lbs. He made 4 successful title defenses winning the WBA title twice. Much was expected from him due to his size.

Valuev turned professional in October 1993 stopping American John Morton, 10-28, in Berlin, Germany. He then won 3 straight in St. Petersburg, Russia. He would not return to Russia for 4 years. He would travel to the UK and Australia winning a pair by knockout in each country. He then would make his USA debut in Atlantic City, NJ, which would be only one of the 3 appearances in that country. It was May of 1997 and he stopped Terrell Nelson, 6-3, in 2 rounds. It was his 8th stoppage in 9 fights.

Valuev would travel to Japan on the undercard of a world title fight and back to Australia posting a decision win and a stoppage before returning to fight in Russia 11-0 with 7 stoppages. Then off to Germany and Australia before returning to Russia defeating a pair of Americans with American referee’s handling the action. Two fights later he won his first title becoming the Russian champion in January of 1999. He would go to the Czech Republic against future German champion Andres Sidon which ended during the sixth round when the referee left the ring and it was scheduled for 6 and ruled a no-contest.

In June of 2000 he would win the interim PABA title over 12 rounds. Two fights later he won the PABA title outright stopping American George Linberger, 19-6-1, in the first round in Atlantic City, NJ. In his next fight he would make his first defense defeating the OPBF champion Toakipa Tasefa, 27-2-2, of New Zealand putting him into retirement. In February of 2004 he stopped American Dickie Ryan, 54-7, in the first round in Germany. Ryan was the fighter who defeated Brian Nielsen who was 49-0 at the time.

From the time Valuev defeated Ryan he was defeating only fighters with winning records such as Argentina’s Marcelo Fabian Dominguez, 37-4, Nigerian Ricardo Bango, 16-0, of Spain, Italian champion Paolo Vidoz, 17-1, of Italy. Next was his fight with American Gerald “The Jedi” Nobles, 24-0, with 19 knockouts out of Philadelphia. Nobles was a powerful puncher but had problems getting inside of Valuev and when he did he was holding and finally got disqualified in the fourth round. Next was Sweden’s Attila “The Hun” Levin, 29-2, a 1996 Olympian who had most of his fights in the USA trained by Angelo Dundee. Valuev stopped him in 3 rounds.

Valuev would stop American Clifford “the Black Rhino” Etienne, 29-3-2, and follow up with a majority decision over Larry Donald 42-3-3, earning him a WBA title fight with John “the Quiet Man” Ruiz, 41-5-1, defeating him by majority decision to win the WBA title in December of 2005. It was his twelfth straight win in Germany. Neither Klitschko held a title at that time. Vitali was inactive from December 2004 until October 2008 due to being in politics in Kiev UKR.

In Valuev’s first title defense he stopped Jamaican Owen “What the Heck” Beck, 25-2, in 3 rounds. It was his 43rd straight win. In his second defense in October of 2006 he returned to the USA stopping Monte “Two Gunz” Barrett, 31-4, in Rosement, IL, in the eleventh round though well ahead. A month after this Wladimir was making a defense against Calvin Brock. Why did they not unify at that time? In January of 2007 in his third defense he would take on Jamal “Big Time” McCline, 38-6, in Switzerland in January of 2007. McCline retired in the third round injuring his knee. Two months later Wladimir was defending against Ray Austin. Once again why didn’t they unify?
With a 46-0 record Valuev would go 10 months before meeting Chagaev in December of 2009. In the meantime Wladimir defended in June of 2009 defended his title. Vitali fought 3 times during that period in March, September and December of 2009. Valuev returned to Germany making his fourth defense in October of 2009 but lost for the first time to Uzebekistan’s Ruslan “White Tyson” Chagaev, 22-0-1, out of Germany by majority decision. Chagaev defended his title 8 months later and then not fight until 13 months before losing to Wladimir Klitschko. Wladmir had no problem unifying with Chagaev but never Valuev for his WBA title.

Valuev would return to action some 5 months after suffering his first loss not being able to get a rematch with Chagaev he defeated Canadian Jean Francois Bergman, 27-0, the WBA-NABA champion by a lopsided decision. He followed up with a win over former WBO champion Siarhei Liakhovich, 23-2, of the Belarus though living in the USA, taking every round in a WBA eliminator.

In August of 1980 Valuev would fight for the vacant WBA title and once again defeating John “the Quiet Man” Ruiz, 43-7-1. He would return to Switzerland defending against Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield, 42-9-2, who had held 3 of the title’s all but the WBO title. In his previous fight he lost to WBO champion Sultan Ibragimov some 14 months before. Thinking Holyfield was on the down side Valuev was in for a big surprise taking a majority decision. Valuev had almost scored a knockdown in the eighth round. In the tenth round both scored heavy punches. Holyfield spent most of the rounds bouncing around the ring with Valuev trying to corner him. The announcement of the decision many felt was controversial. In the previous month Wladimir was defending against Tony Thompson. Why no unification?

It would be 11 months in October of 2009 before Valuev would fight defending against David “Hayemaker” Haye, 22-1, of the UK. Valuev would lose for only the second time in 52 fights by majority decision in Germany. With no rematch clause it would be John Ruiz getting the first defense by Haye who would eventually lose to Wladimir Klitschko in his third defense. Vitali Klitschko after losing to Lennox Lewis who would retire not giving Klitschko a rematch re-won the WBC title holding it until 2012. Vitali would come back after a 4 year absence to fight Samuel Peter in October of 2008 for the WBC title.

The 7’0” Russian Giant, Nikolai Valuev, ended his 16 year career 50-2 with 34 stoppages. He didn’t fight in Russia after 2002. He had 13 bouts in his homeland but oddly enough he never won or defended his WBA World title there.

There were talks of Vitali meeting Valuev but promotional issues between Don King and Sauerland. Valuev announced his retirement 3 days after losing to Haye. His family physician confirmed that due to “serious bone and joint. problems” putting any comeback decisions out the window. His wife Galina is 5’02” and they have children Irma and Grisha. He is a Russian Orthodox Christian. In 2009 he started the Nickolai Valuev Boxing School. In 2010 he founded the Valuev Youth Sports Foundation. The tallest boxer ever to win a world title is Nikolai Valuev!

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HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Sergey Kovalev wins by Unanimous Decision


HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Sergey Kovalev wins by Unanimous Decision
By: Matthew N. Becher

On a special Monday night edition of World Championship Boxing, HBO presented a title fight from Ekaterinburg, Russia. The fight between the WBO, IBF & WBA Light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (30-0-1 26KO) and the challenger Isaac Chilemba (26-4-2 10KO) was a homecoming for Kovalev, who last fought at the DIVS in Russia in 2011, when he defeated Roman Simakov, who tragically fell into a coma after that match and passed away three days later.

This was most importantly a tune up fight for Kovalev, who has a date set for a mega fight in November against former unified Super Middleweight champion Andre Ward.

Kovalev started the fight as the aggressor, looking for and targeting the head, as usual. Chilemba was able to pump out and land a steady jab.

Chilemba showed to be a very strong and tough opponent, landing his best shots to Kovalev’s head, more often than most of Kovalevs previous opponents.

Unfortunately Chilembas lack of power did little to stop the come forward style of Kovalev.

Kovalev was mostly looking for head shots and possibly working on some different techniques instead of ending the fight in certain situations. After a big right hand landed in the seventh round, knocking Chilemba down, Kovalev may not have gone “all in” to end the fight. As well as in the eighth round, after landing a monster shot, snapping back the head of Chilemba, Kovalev stepped off the gas pedal and was content with putting in some more work.

Chilemba landed some solid shots of his own, but Kovalev never looked hurt against the hardest, cleanest shots that Chilemba could land. Also Kovalev may have possibly wanted to get in a full twelve round fight, after knowing that he was not in any real trouble. He will not be fighting again until November, so the extra rounds could prove vital for the future fight.

The fight went longer than most expected, but Kovalev still looked extremely dominant. The next step is the match up against Andre Ward. It is the best fight that can be made in the sport and this was a great stay busy fight for the Light heavyweight champ, and hopefully erasing some of the demons that have stayed with him from the last time he fought in his native land.

Kovalev UD12 117-110, 116-111, 118-109

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Isaac Chilemba: “I Truly Believe I Am Where I Was Meant To Be”


Isaac Chilemba: “I Truly Believe I Am Where I Was Meant To Be”
By: Sean Crose

“We will find a way for people to see it.”

So said Main Events boss Kathy Duva on Tuesday during a conference call to promote Sergey Kovalev’s July 11th light heavyweight title fight in his native Russia against Isaac Chilemba. “It was hard to find the right partners to work with,” Duva stated in reference to making the fight in Kovalev’s homeland. “That was a lot of work.”

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Kovalev’s opponent, the crafty Chilemba was on the call from South Africa to promote the event, as well. Although he was hard to hear at times due to connection problems, he came across as a pleasant, even thoughtful guy. Whether or not he will have what it takes to surprise the world on July 11th, however, remains to be seen.

For his own part, though, the underdog fighter seemed confident. “There’s no such thing as an easy fight,” he said, adding later that “The pressure’s on him (Kovalev). He’s the one fighting at home.” I asked if he felt that getting a fight with Kovalev after losing a controversial decision to Eleider Alvarez last time out shows that wins don’t always matter, even in this era where a perfect record is held in such high regard.

“Yes, he said, adding that “I truly believe I am where I was meant to be.” Chilemba’s famed trainer, Buddy McGirt, concurred. “I believe,” McGirt stated, “that good things come to those who wait.”

Duva herself also had some pointed things to say on the matter. “My job is to make good fights,” she said. “There’s a lot of fighters out there these days who seem to prefer to not take a risk…that’s crazy.” The lionization of having an undefeated record at the expense of challenging oneself is something Duva clearly found puzzling.

“It’s sad that people think that’s extraordinary,” she said.

Although the 24-3-2 Chilemba clearly isn’t afraid to risk having another “L” on his resume, he and his team also appeared confident heading into the fight. “This is one fight where Isaac can pretty much be Isaac,” McGrit said.

Still, the trainer made it clear that no one was going to take it easy. “Personally, I think that the key to victory is to box,” McGirt stated. “Everyone sees Kovalev as a puncher. I don’t see Kovalev as just a puncher. Kovalev can fight.”

“But,” he added. “My guy can fight, as well.”

Duva made it clear that she was pleased to give Chilemba a crack at the title, especially in an era where people are said to avoid the 29-0-1 Kovalev (“We know where they stand,” she said, referring to Adonis Stevenson’s camp). “Issac very much wanted a title shot,” the promoter stated. “He did everything we ever asked him to do.”

Perhaps Chilemba was right when he claimed that ultimately “being a good fighter is what it is about.” Will he be good enough for the Russian terror, though? What’s more will western fans be able to see the fight live when it goes down in Russia? Duva promises they will, one way or another. Referring to HBO possibly not showing the fight, she appeared unperturbed.

“It’s more a matter of logistical issues than anything else,” she stated.

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