Vitali Klitschko Receives Arthur Ashe Courage Award at 2022 ESPYs
By John “Gutterdandy” Walker
Ukrainian heavyweight boxing legend and current Mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, was presented with the Arthur Ashe Award For Courage Wednesday night at the 2022 ESPY awards.
Known as “Dr. Ironfist” during his boxing career, where he amassed a glittering record of 45-2 with 41 wins coming by way of knockout–an 87.23% KO percentage–Vitali and his younger brother Wladimir dominated the boxing world for over a decade. Vitali held both the WBO and WBC world titles, and was named “Eternal World Heavyweight Champion” by the latter organization.
Remarkably, in 2008, Klitschko came back from a retirement of over three years due to an injured knee to regain the WBC title strap by making Samuel Peter retire on his stool. Having lost just two matches, both due to injuries, before his initial retirement from boxing, Vitali would remain undefeated during the utterly dominant second phase of his career.
After retiring from boxing for the second time in 2013 at the age of 42, Vitali Klitschko found a second career in politics, becoming the Mayor of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city, in 2014.
Both Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko have been back in the headlines of late for their bravery as they battle against the Russian invasion of their country. Actor Dwayne Johnson, accepting the award on Klitschko’s behalf, called Vitali “a man who will tell you very plainly, that sports is part of the reason he is where he is.”
“Vitali is a hero, who has shown the world what courage truly looks like,” Johnson added.
The ESPY award, named for African-American tennis great Arthur Ashe, recognizes those who find ways through sports to make a difference far beyond the field.
A video of Klitschko’s life story played during the broadcast, and retold his journey from heavyweight boxing champion to mayor of Kyiv.
Klitschko Brothers Object to Dimitry Bivol vs Canelo Matchup; Bivol Says “It’s Sad” They Have Become Politicians. Plus: Will Tyson Fury Show in Vegas?
by John “Gutterdandy” Walker
Former heavyweight champions of the world the Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali, won’t be cheering on WBA light heavyweight champion Dimitry Bivol when the latter man takes on superstar Canelo Alvarez this Saturday evening at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Though Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs), a Russian, has spoken out against the war his country has chosen to wage against neighboring Ukraine, the Ukrainian Klitschko brothers are far from satisfied about Bivol is getting a world wide platform to perform against Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) in the middle of a bloody conflict that his country started.
According to former unified world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, currently fighting on the front lines with his brother [the current mayor of Kyiv] Vitali, it’s nothing personal against Bivol, but a matter of principle.
In an interview with the BBC, Wladimir recently opined that “[Bivol should] absolutely not [be facing Canelo]. Every sanction, and it’s nothing against the personality or athletes, it’s about the politics of Russia.”
“Every Russian representative in this case needs to be sanctioned, because this way we show to Russia that the world is against this senseless war and that there’s no good in this war,” Klitschko said.
Bivol, of course, sees the issue differently, and claims the realms of sports and politics should be kept separate.
“All his career I support [Wladimir], I liked how he was fighting and of course I was glad when he won,” said a somber Bivol.
“He is [a] sportsman, he should know sports and politics is different. He was [an] athlete. Now he is politician. It is sad that wants to shake it up and mix sport and politics,” a downcast Bivol told Britain’s IFL TV.
While the Klitschkos won’t be making a Vegas trip to see Bivol defend his title against Alvarez, one face to look for at ringside is that of current “retired” WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
Last weekend, Matchroom promotions honcho Eddie Hearn put on a successful women’s boxing headliner featuring popular Irish fighter Katie Taylor at Madison Square Garden in NYC.
Irish compatriots such as former pugilist Matthew “Mack The Knife” Macklin, and according to rumor, Tyson Fury himself were slated to fly to Manhattan to cheer on their woman, but Mackin and “other boxing figures” were refused entry into the USA due to their connections with former MGM/MTK honcho and reputed Irish mob kingpin, Daniel Kinahan (“MTK” is an acronym for Mack The Knife).
Fury, rumor has it, was tipped off not to get on the plane to Manhattan. The WBC champion, who recently made light work of hapless challenger Dillian Whyte, was very friendly with Kinahan until the FBI offered a $5 million reward for the mob boss, at which point an agitated Fury was adamant that he knew nothing of Kinahan’s business and split ties with him.
If Fury, who recently bought a home in the Las Vegas area, and who is due to meet with the WBC next week to discuss his retirement plans–which he claims are 100% irreversible–fails to show at the Canelo vs Bivol tilt, the rumor mill over Fury’s own legal status regarding Kinahan and the now-defunct MTK Global promotional outfit will surely go into overdrive.
Rematch Chaos: Team Klitschko To Take Team Fury To Court
Rematch Chaos: Team Klitschko To Take Team Fury To Court
By: Sean Crose
“Some big news coming in the next few days!”
So tweeted undefeated heavyweight kingpin Tyson Fury this week. Yet there was some other big news that rattled the fight world, and that came from the camp of arch rival Wladimir Klitschko, who Fury is supposed to rematch this fall.
“Unfortunately,” Klitschko claimed on a twitter video, “team Fury is trying to change the terms of an already-signed contract multiple times and it is going on endlessly. To protect my own rights and eventually see the rematch, I am forced to go to court.” Add all this to the PED allegations Fury is facing at home in England and it’s clear this is a chaotic time for the man known as The Gyspy King.
In a sense, however, this almost could be seen as par for the course for the enormous Englishman. While it’s no surprise that Fury isn’t afraid to speak his mind, it was notable earlier this year how much weight the guy had gained while enjoying the fruits of his labor after reaching the peak of the heavyweight mountain. What’s more, Fury spoke of losing interest in the sport of boxing. On top of all that, the Klitschko rematch, which was set for this summer, was pushed back after Fury hurt himself in training.
Some are claiming Fury is avoiding the rematch this October. Perhaps this is true, but anyone who followed Fury’s training camp on video this spring and summer would be hard pressed to say Fury didn’t look serious. Indeed, the man took off a ton of weight in a short period of time, seemed to be working very hard and appeared to have his mind in fighting shape. Looks can be deceiving, of course, so it’s yet to be clear what exactly the problem is. Needless to say, queries directed to team Fury and team Klitschko yesterday have so far gone unanswered.
To be sure, this is a match well worth seeing go down. While it’s true, the original fight was a snooze fest for many, it remains one of the biggest upsets of recent times (though not to this author) and fans have a right to be curious as to whether or not Fury’s victory was a fluke, or if Klitschko is truly on the way down as a fighter. It may be easy to write off both men, but their formidable records – Fury is 25-0, while Klitschko is a whopping 64-4 – indicate underrated skill sets. Needless to say, it would be nice to see who the better man truly is in the ring.
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Wladimir Klitschko Returns to the USA vs. Bryant Jennings
by Johnny Walker
When World Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko steps into the ring on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City, it will have been over seven years since his last trip to the Big Apple.
For that fight against WBO heavyweight champion Sultan Ibragimov–and previously for Wlad’s big KO win at MSG over the at-the-time rising American heavyweight Calvin “The Boxing Banker” Brock–the “Q” subway train that takes passengers from South Brooklyn, places like Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay, where more Russian and Ukrainian dialects are heard spoken than English, to Manhattan, was full of excited fight fans on their way to “the Mecca of boxing.”
Perhaps the Klitschko Brothers, Wladimir and his older brother (now retired and mayor of Kiev, Ukraine) Vitali, never really achieved mega-fame in the USA, but you wouldn’t know it in South Brooklyn. Here, most people know of the Klitschkos, and they have a guaranteed fanbase who will help fill up the Garden again this coming Saturday night for Wlad’s return to Manhattan and to the HBO network.
That appearance seven years ago, however, didn’t leave a lot of Wlad’s own fans happy, even though he virtually shut out opponent Ibragimov (who then retired from the sport) and took the latter’s WBO world championship belt away with ease.
After tasting Klitschko’s power early, Ibragimov decided it would be a wise move to stay as far away from his opponent as possible, at times leaning so far back out of the ring that one feared he might fall completely out of it. Klitschko was cruising to an easy unanimous decision win, and it wasn’t until the crowd’s boos intensified later in the bout that the fighter and his late trainer Emanuel Steward realized that nothing less than a highlight reel knockout was going to be seen as a success by many on this night.
Alas, Klitschko tried to turn up the heat, but the elusive Ibragimov managed to stay on his feet, take the money, and run, literally, never to be seen in a boxing ring again. It was too little, too late, for a KO. And the boos, which sounded much louder in the arena than they did on TV, rained down on the fighters, especially the bewildered champ, who had just unified the belts and won by a wide UD.
Since then, Wladimir Klitschko has continued his domination of all who stand across from him in the squared circle, much to the annoyance of some of his detractors in the USA, whose criticisms often have the aroma of sour grapes.
With Vitali retired, Wlad how has the heavyweight division to himself. In Wlad’s last fight, he took on the very talented, unbeaten Bulgarian with an excellent amateur pedigree, Kubrat Pulev, who decided, unlike most of Wlad’s opponents (that means you, David Haye), not to run from the champ.
In that fight, Klitschko, who has been accused of having a shaky chin, showed just how far he’s come in that area. Just before Wlad delivered the final knockout blow to his opponent in round five, Pulev snapped Klitschko’s head back hard with left-right combination. It was the kind of wicked shot that might have discombobulated or even dropped an earlier version of Klitschko, but not this time. He recovered almost immediately and knocked Pulev senseless with a left hook, again walking out the winner.
This latter version of Klitschko (63-3-0, 53 KOs) will no doubt have the boos that rang in his ears after the Ibragimov fight, the boos from all of those “Q” train riders from Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay, weighing heavily on his mind as he enters Madison Square Garden this Saturday evening. Lennox Lewis still seems to be stinging from the boos he took in Los Angeles at the Staples Center after what turned out to be his final fight (with Vitali Klitschko, no less). It’s something no fighter likes to hear, or to remember.
This is likely very bad news for Klitschko’s somewhat inexperienced but unbeaten American challenger Bryant “By-By” Jennings (19-0, 10 KOs) of Philadelphia.
Jennings is a good fighter, but a good fighter against one of greatest heavyweights of all time, which Wladimir Klitschko has now become, is not likely to be enough.
Unbeaten Jennings has had some shaky outings, one of them coming against Bowie Tupou in 2012, where he was rattled hard, and, had more time been left in the round, might have experienced his first loss. Other scores, such as a wide UD victory over Steve Collins at the Newark Center in New Jersey, were very flattering to Jennings, as Collins in actuality showed that Jennings could be slowed by a good body attack.
Jennings also beat perhaps the biggest name on his resume, former champ Sergei Liakhovich, the fight following a hellacious beating “The White Wolf” took from pre-injury Robert Helenius. More recently, he did well in beating Poland’s Artur Szpilka, who spent the entire fight week flying around the world due to visa issues, and took a split decision over Mike Perez, who understandably hasn’t looked the same since his tragic bout with Magomed Abdusalamov in 2013.
Nothing has really prepared Jennings for what will be coming at him on this Saturday night. In fact, Kubrat Pulev would likely still be favored to beat Jennings, much less Wladimir Klitschko.
As far as a “resurgence of the American heavyweight,” this fight should help settle that issue.
Really, the best American heavyweight is still likely the cagey veteran Tony Thompson, who not only destroyed the world title dreams of the UK’s giant David Price with two stoppages, but also finally rid the division of the overrated Odlanier Solis with two more wins, his most recent by stoppage.
After that, there’s WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, who beat a clearly sub-par (for whatever reason) Bermane Stiverne over 12 rounds. Other than that win, there is virtually nothing on Wilder’s resume. So for now, this writer still gives the “best American heavyweight” title to good ol’ double T, Tony the Tiger, until someone proves otherwise.
As for this Saturday night in the Garden, expect Wladimir Klitschko to do his best to turn the boos he remembers from the Ibragimov fight into cheers, as he goes after Jennings early and knocks him out by round five, at the latest. Round three might not be a bad bet.
Opening the televised HBO card will be a battle between welterweights Sadam “World Kid” Ali (21-0, 13 KOs) against Francisco “Chia” Santana (22-3, 11 KOs). Ali, whose chin has been questioned, has been rocked hard a few times, even hitting the canvas against Jay Krupp at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2011. Yet he still survived to keep his unbeaten record intact.
Santana’s record doesn’t exactly indicate that he is a power merchant, but nether does it indicate that he’s a slouch. He’s currently riding a 10-fight winning streak, his last loss being to Jermell Charlo back in 2011.
Hopefully, no matter who wins, this welterweight showdown will whet the appetite for the return of the World Heavyweight boxing champion to the Big Apple.
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“Let’s Go Champ” — Shannon Briggs Scores Another KO
David Haye: “I will never turn down a fight with Vitali!”
By Johnny Walker
Former WBA heavyweight champion David “Hayemaker” Haye and his manager Adam Booth have struck back hard against claims made yesterday by the Klitschko brothers and their manager Bernd Boente to the effect that the UK fighter ducked a September matchup with WBC champion Vitali.
“I offered Haye a fight for September, but he obviously does not want to fight me. He ducked out to face [Dereck] Chisora instead,” Vitali Klitschko said yesterday while in Britain to promote the Klitschko biopic.
“I don’t think it [Haye-Vitali] will happen,” Boente added.
“It will definitely not happen in September because we are already talking to a couple of different opponents for then and it is too close for Haye to fight him after his fight against Chisora.
“[Haye] never really wanted to fight Vitali. “The guy is always talking. He barks like a dog and is mostly afraid.”
These new claims by camp Klitschko were somewhat surprising, given the Hayemaker’s claims that the biggest reason for his recent unretirement was the allure of a fight with the elder Klitschko brother.
And today, Haye and his trainer/manager Booth fired back on the fighter’s website.
“It makes absolutely no sense for me to turn down a fight I desperately want,” Haye contends.
“Remember, the whole idea behind going ahead with this Chisora fight was that a victory may then lead to a fight with Vitali Klitschko. That was my plan, my reason for returning to the ring.
“I want to fight on 14 July and then again in September, and have been telling people this for months now.”
According to the Hayemaker, camp Klitschko is trying to maneuver around a fight with him because Vitali looked like a mere mortal against Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora last time out, and can’t risk a loss before the mayoral elections in Kiev this fall, where he is a leading candidate.
Yesterday, Boente lent more credence to this notion by stating that Vitali will immediately retire from boxing if he wins the election.
“What is clear to me is that K2 [Klitschko’s management] are now happy to protect an ageing Vitali and usher him towards politics as soon as possible,” says Haye.
“Politics is about popularity, and Vitali’s popularity in Ukraine would take a massive hit if he were to get knocked out by me before retiring.
“It’s imperative for him to keep winning and beating up puddings en route to retirement, as that sets him up nicely for a career in politics.
“At this advanced stage in his career, the last thing on Vitali’s mind are tough challenges in the ring. He’s essentially semi-retired, which is fine, so long as he comes clean about it. Don’t go stringing everybody along – fighters and fans – when some of us know the truth.”
“Unfortunately, Vitali will probably now look to fight some no-hoper, while telling the boxing world I turned down the fight.
“I will never turn down a fight with Vitali,” Haye states flatly.
For his part, Adam Booth expressed surprised at the statements coming from “Herr Boente.”
“Today I read that Herr Boente claims David ‘turned the fight down’ and ‘does not want to fight Vitali’,” Booth says.
“Both of these claims are completely false. If Vitali wants to fight David in September, we are here and happy to accept. If not, no worries or sadness from our side.
“Maybe K2 realized during Vitali’s fight with Chisora in February that their precious champion was drastically slowing down and didn’t fancy going up against anyone too quick in the future. Whatever their reasoning, if Herr Boente is happy to spin the lines he feeds people, good for him.”
Both Booth and Haye also express cynicism toward the recent statements of outrage from the Klitschko brothers and their manager over Haye’s upcoming fight with Dereck Chisora, with world heavyweight champion Wladimir repeatedly branding the fight a “freak show.”
They feel that camp Klitschko is merely furious because of the interest of the boxing public in the bout, as compared to the indifferent yawns provoked by Wladimir’s scheduled tilt with a man he’s already knocked out, Tony Thompson.
“They can call my fight against Chisora a freak show as much as they like, but we all know that so-called freak show will have more people interested in it than either of the Klitschkos’ next fights,” Haye contends.
“Who wants to see Wladimir fight Tony Thompson again? Even Tony Thompson doesn’t want to see that again. Their first fight was horrible enough.
“Also, anybody with an ounce of intelligence would know that Boente and the Klitschkos were only name-dropping and ridiculing my fight with Chisora to raise some publicity over here for the Klitschko film, which they happened to be in London promoting on Monday night.”
Booth also gets a dig in at his nemesis Boente, who, during the infamous press conference scuffle in Munich—a scuffle that the Klitschkos themselves appeared to be enjoying at the time, only to express shock and disgust with later—was an instigator, holding the carrot of a Klitschko title shot out on a stick to the winner of a Haye-Chisora showdown.
“It’s bizarre just how much hatred with agenda the Haye versus Chisora fight has attracted,” Booth muses.
“Maybe Bernd Boente has short-term memory issues. A quick look back at the video of that infamous Munich press conference clearly shows Bernd agreeing with Frank Warren that Haye and Chisora should fight for the right to challenge Vitali.”
Dereck Chisora Licensed in Luxembourg as the Klitschko Brothers Howl
By Johnny Walker
Flamboyant UK Heavyweight Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora rubbed the noses of the protesting BBBoC (British Boxing Board of Control), WBC, BDB (German Boxing Board)–and who knows, maybe a few more other acronyms as well–in it Monday as he travelled to Luxembourg to pick up his boxing license for his July 14 grudge showdown in London with his countryman David Haye.
Meanwhile, the world heavyweight champion Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali, took to the British airwaves and opened rhetorical fire on both Chisora and Haye—their two most loathed rivals–as they visited the UK to promote their excellent film documentary, simply entitled Klitschko.
A relaxed Del Boy even hung out at a Luxembourg boxing gym, kibitzing with the local fighters.
“I had plenty of opportunities to be licensed by other countries, but I chose Luxembourg because they were very respectful towards me, very accommodating and friendly people and I look forward to making them proud,” the eccentric Brit said at a press conference where he was presented with his license, in a dig at the aforementioned organizations seeking to prevent the fight from happening at all.
Adding insult to the BBBoC’s injury, Tony Tiberi, General Secretary of the Luxembourg Boxing Federation, said, “Dereck Chisora is a great champion and become a hero in Luxembourg when he visited a boxing gym today and made a lot of boxers day by helping with some coaching. We are sure he will not let the people of Luxembourg down. He will now go into the ring know as the Red Lion of Luxembourg.”
Earlier in the day, the German BDB had sided with the BBBoC and WBC against promoter Frank Warren, the WBO and the WBA, and demanded that the fight not take place.
Tipping his hand, BDB president Thomas Putz said: “I was surprised, disappointed, upset and shocked when I heard [about the] fight between Dereck Chisora and David Haye.
“Neither Chisora or Haye hold a valid licence with the BBBofC.
“For obvious and good reasons Dereck Chisora has lost his license with the BBBoC, is under suspension from the BDB, and has been suspended indefinitely by the WBC. This fact alone justifies Wladimir Klitschko’s comment that we should not talk about a boxing fight but about a ‘freak show’. I have to say that, even though I would choose a different wording, I totally agree with our world heavyweight champion in this point.”
Ahhh, the Klitschkos.
Can it really be a surprise that the Klitschko brothers, who rule the German boxing scene, are pressuring the BDB to put the whammy on the fight between the two men they most loathe?
Haye, you will remember, was the Klitschkos’ sworn enemy, the man who featured their two severed heads on a T-shirt and who trash-talked them like no one before.
Then along came Dereck Chisora, who slapped WBC champion Vitali’s face hard at the weigh-in before their fight, and spit water in Wladimir’s face in the ring.
After Chisora got in the act, David Haye almost seemed like an OK guy to the Ukrainian brothers.
Visiting various British media outlets on Monday to promote the opening of their documentary, the brothers took verbal aim at both Chisora and Haye.
“It is not right to sanction this fight,” Wladimir argued.
“That is my opinion. I am totally against it. People have compared Mike Tyson to Chisora and said he has done some bad things too. Let’s not compare Mike Tyson to Dereck Chisora. Mike Tyson has been the youngest heavyweight champion of the world and he has been an exciting fighter.
“Haye-Chisora is a fight between two losers,” Vitali chimed in.
“Haye lost to Wladimir, Chisora lost to me. I offered Haye a fight for September, but he obviously does not want to fight me. He ducked out to face Chisora instead. The fight between them has no meaning in the sport.
“It’s two losers against each other.”
Perhaps. But given the fact that the boxing public has been polled as being roughly 75% in favor of Haye and Chisora getting together, some of this complaining from the Klitschko camp comes across as sour grapes.
Put simply, Haye versus Chisora is a heavyweight fight the public wants to see.
The Klitschkos can’t really say the same about the Wladimir’s upcoming mandatory title defence against Tony Thompson, a man he’s already knocked out. And it seems that fact rankles them.
Sometimes always following the rules has its drawbacks, and occasionally breaking them pays off.
It has to hurt to see boxing fans so excited about a fight between the two men the brothers dislike so much.
Power Shots: Bernd Boente and K2 — Hypocrites on the Haye vs Chisora Fight
Power Shots: News and Views on the Heavyweight Division
By Johnny Walker
There has been a tiresome predictability to those moaning the loudest about UK promoter Frank Warren’s ballsy move of matching heavyweights David Haye and Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora for a July 14 London grudge match this week.
Aside from the muttering sports media ninnies who only talk about boxing when they can find something to condemn about it, and the British Boxing Board of Control, whose authority is being undermined by Warren’s move (note that the highly moral BBBoC didn’t stop Mike Tyson from fighting in the UK post Holyfield ear chomp, and more recently had nothing to say about the morality of Floyd Mayweather Jr. fighting in Vegas when he is slated to be jailed), we have also been hearing a lot of carping from the Klitschko camp, specifically K2 manager Bernd Boente and world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.
One supposes that Boente and Wladimir were unhappy with the timing of Warren’s presser last Tuesday announcing Haye versus Chisora, as it conflicted with their own public announcement of Wlad’s rematch with American heavyweight Tony Thompson, and completely overshadowed it.
Two very good, evenly-matched heavyweights with a mega-grudge fighting each other, versus the world heavyweight champ fighting a guy he’s already knocked out, a guy who–while he is a genial, classy person–has done little since the first fight to merit another title shot.
Gee, I wonder why boxing fans are generally far more interested in Haye versus Chisora?
It’s hard to blame Wladimir for wanting a little revenge after Chisora spit water in his face in the ring before the Del Boy-Vitali fight in Munich. So his labeling of Haye versus Chisora as a “freak show” being fought under “freak rules,” while inaccurate, is understandable.
And Wlad’s word carries a lot of weight in Germany, where the ARD television network, spooked by the champ’s criticism of Haye-Chisora, has already pulled coverage of the British grudge match from its schedule.
Bernd Boente, however, is a different matter.
Boente has also been putting the rhetorical boots to the UK heavyweight tilt: “They [Haye and Chisora] both lost to the Klitschkos. They are on the second level. We could [not] care less,” said Boente this week.
But Boente, if one reviews the tape of the Chisora – Haye brawl in Germany, and some of his comments following the brawl, was instrumental in encouraging the two Brits to scrap in the first place.
David Haye appeared at the post-fight presser for Chisora and Vitali to make his case for being the WBC heavyweight champion’s next opponent, but it was Boente who steered the conversation toward a fight between Klitschko victims Haye and Chisora. Boente antagonized Haye with taunts about the toe injury that the former WBA heavyweight champion claimed hampered him against Wladimir, and then encouraged “Del Boy” and Chisora to fight each other.
“David you are out, you can’t talk youself into the fight, you have no belt,” said Boente.
“Fight against this person [points to Chisora], he showed heart, contrary to you. You showed your toe.”
After that verbal cue from Boente, Chisora started in on Haye, calling him an “embarrassment,” and things escalated from there into the now infamous confrontation where Haye clocked Chisora in the chin and knocked him down.
After the brawl, Boente went so far as to promise a title shot versus one of the Klitschkos to the winner of a “box–off” between Haye and Chisora.
“The brawl tonight calls for a box-off between Haye and Chisora, and the winner fights one of the Klitschkos,” Boente said at the time.
“[That fight] would make a lot of money in the UK.”
So all that has now happened is that Frank Warren has indeed followed up on Boente’s strong suggestion by making Haye versus Chisora happen in the UK.
For Boente, who had so much to do with starting this whole affair in the first place, who basically pushed Haye and Chisora together and told them to scrap while holding the carrot of a Klitschko title fight in front of their noses, to now turn around and act as if he’s disinterested in and even offended by these “second level” heavyweights fighting each other, is laughable.
Does anyone really believe that the winner of Haye versus Chisora—if the fight does actually happen– is not going to get another shot at a Klitschko brother?
Especially when even a far lesser known fighter like Tony Thompson is getting a rematch?
Especially given the enormous interest in the Brit grudge match, with 20,000 tickets sold in just two days?
The Klitschkos have been classy heavyweight champions, but the posturing of Wlad and his manager this week thus strikes a false, hypocritical note.
Wladimir Klitschko Set To Face Tony “The Tiger” Thompson, June 7 in Switzerland
By Johnny Walker
In what he hopes will be the second of three fights in 2012, world heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko will face off with American heavyweight veteran Tony “The Tiger” Thompson on June 7 in Berne, Switzerland, according to a report on ESPN.com.
Klitschko, who just celebrated his 36th birthday, defeated Thompson by an 11th round knockout in 2008. Thompson, however, unlike many of the opponents Klitschko has faced on his current run of victories, put up a very good fight against the Ukrainian, even bloodying him up early on.
Now 40 years old, Thompson–a mandatory challenger for Klitschko’s IBF title–is approximately the same height as the champion, and claims that he was far less than 100% when he fought Klitschko for the first time.
“I know in my heart that I wasn’t at my best that night,” Thompson said recently. “It’s not an excuse. It’s well-documented that I had surgeries after that fight. I was on one leg and pressed that fight. He couldn’t get that fighter out until the 11th round. Proper conditioning and clean living always keeps me ready. I want to now see what I can do against him while I have two good legs.”
According to ESPN, should he prevail against Thompson, Klitschko wants to return to the United States to take on another American, Cristobal Arreola, in November at Madison Square Garden. Arreola lost to WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko in 2009, but has since rededicated himself to boxing and is currently on a seven-fight winning streak.
Dereck Chisora Banned “Indefinitely” by British Boxing Board of Control
By Johnny Walker
According to reports out of the UK, British heavyweight contender Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora has been banned from fighting “indefinitely” by the British Boxing Board of Control.
“He not only let himself and his family down, but all those licence holders who behave in a professional and disciplined manner,” said BBBoC chairman Robert Smith.
“The stewards of the British Boxing Board of Control want to make it absolutely clear that such behaviour by a licence holder will not be tolerated.
“The board have decided Dereck Chisora is not a fit and proper person to hold a license and have withdrawn it with immediate effect.”
Smith said the ban will have a minimum time period of two years.
The decision is a reaction to the events that took place before and after Chisora’s unsuccessful challenge against WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko last month in Germany.
Chisora slapped the champion hard in the face at the weigh-in, spit water in Wladimir Klitschko’s face in the ring, and engaged in a brawl with UK counterpart David Haye at the post-fight presser.
Chisora has 14 days to appeal his sentence, but his promoter Frank Warren says the Chisora camp are still undecided about their next move.
The British heavyweight is a native of Zimbabwe, and could presumably seek to be licensed either there or somewhere else outside of the United Kingdom.
Jean Marc Mormeck: An Unworthy Challenger for Wladimir Klitschko
By Johnny Walker
So today we see from the punchstats that Jean Marc Mormeck landed a grand total of three punches against world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko yesterday in Germany.
You read that right: THREE.
I’m not going to criticize Klitschko’s actual performance against Mormeck. Contrary to the spin put out by Klitschko and his trainer Emanuel Steward before the fight, the champion obviously knew that if he failed to blow out his overmatched opponent, his reputation would take a severe hit, and the questions from the boxing press would be annoying and never-ending.
With that in mind, Wladimir proceeded to demolish the hapless Frenchman.
I have no qualms with Wlad’s performance. He demonstrated his total superiority over the barely present Mormeck in every area.
But I do have to wonder when he and his camp claim there was nobody better than Mormeck out there ready and willing to fight.
Take the case of New York’s Monte “Two Gunz” Barrett, for instance.
True, Wladimir had beaten Barrett back in 2000, but Barrett has changed his life around since those days, and has a newfound focus and commitment to his sport. This was showed in his two great efforts against David Tua that resulted in a controversial draw in 2010 and a unanimous decision victory in 2011.
Last year, when Barrett went to New Zealand and beat David Tua in his own backyard, the fight was supposed to be the one to set Tua up for a title shot. – in fact, Tua’s promoter Cedric Kushner was livid after the bout, as a lucrative deal that he had in writing for a Klitschko fight depended on a Tua victory over Barrett.
By beating David Tua, you would have thought Barrett would be a very strong contender to take on Wladimir Klitschko. And Barrett was definitely ready and willing to get in the ring with either Klitschko brother.
“The Klitschko girls just hand-pick opponents, and fight whoever they’re emotional with,” Barrett told this writer last December.
“They remind me of emotional little girls. They’re a couple of big old trees in the heavyweight forest, taking up space. And they’re going to get pissed on.”
Barrett was obviously hoping, in light of David Haye’s experiences with them, that some trash talk might get the Klitschkos’ attention, but it was not to be. He was passed over in favor of the vastly inferior Mormeck.
And Barrett is not the only one who would have been preferable to Mormeck.
Writer Scott Christ published a list of fighters he would have preferred to see Wladimir in with compared to Mormeck, and I can’t really argue with any of his choices. Hell, even Wlad versus the hulking giant Tye Fields would have been more interesting from the mere standpoint of size.
For those who think I’m being too hard on Wladimir, who I’ve defended numerous times in the past, think back to your reaction when, after he had defeated Audley Harrison in a farcical bout, then WBA heavyweight champion David Haye floated the idea of a rematch with Mormeck, who he’d already knocked out.
The reaction I heard from most Klitschko fans was one of outrage and disbelief.
How could David “The Ducker” Haye consider such a fight?
And that reaction was the correct one.
In reality, Haye had no business fighting Jean Marc Mormeck at that point in time.
And neither did Wladimir Klitschko this time.
Wladimir Klitschko Knocks Out Mormeck in Four, Looks Toward Fight With Cristobal Arreola
By Johnny Walker
After being coy about his strategy leading up his title defense against Jean Marc Mormeck tonight in Dusseldorf, Germany, world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko promised his German fans—50,000 of them in the arena alone—via a prefight video that he would now get his 50th knockout as a professional.
Perhaps in response to the negative tone of some of the prefight chatter heard in the boxing press, Klitschko was focused and aggressive right from the start. It was soon apparent that Wladimir was determined that he would not be answering any queries at the post-fight presser as to why Jean Marc Mormeck was able to do so well against him.
The French challenger tried to bob and weave a la Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora versus Wlad’s older brother Vitali, but lacking Chisora’s strength and firepower, it was a doomed strategy. Klitschko continually strafed Mormeck with his patented power left jab, a punch which for him is an offensive weapon. Mormeck almost immediately was forced into survival mode.
Mormeck was already in big trouble in round two, when he was sent the canvas from a powerful Klitschko right hand, but on this occasion he beat the count and saw out the round.
Wlad was manhandling Mormeck in a sloppy round three, pushing him around the ring with ease. Three rapid-fire left hooks saw the challenger reeling, and he and the champion got their feet tangled, going to the canvas in a heap.
The end came for Mormeck in round four, when Klitschko put together a vicious left-right-left combination to Mormeck’s head, sending him to the canvas for the final time. He was counted out by referee Luis Pabon at 1:12 of the round.
The fight brought a satisfying close to three straight weeks of exciting heavyweight action, with Wladimir Klitschko (57-3, 50 KOs), delivering his promised 50th knockout to the adoring crowd.
Following the fight, the champion said, “It was important to break [Mormeck] in the first two rounds.”
“I’m happy about the result, not too long, just [the] right timing.”
Klitschko named British heavyweights David Price and Tyson Fury, along with WBA “regular” champion Alexander Povetkin and Seth Mitchell, as possible future opponents.
But it is former Vitali victim Cristobal Arreola who Wladimir has his eye on next –hopefully at a venue in America.
“He’s done enough to deserve a fight against me,” said the champion of Arreola, who has rebuilt his career following his loss to Vitali in 2009.
After this dominant showing by Wladimir, it seems that Arreola–and anyone else who challenges the champion–will definitely have his work cut out for him.
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Wladimir Klitschko 244.7, Jean Marc Mormeck 216.1 at Weigh-In
World heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko tipped the scales at a ripped 244.7, while French challenger Jean Marc Mormeck came in at a very fit 216.1 pounds today at the weigh-in for their title bout tomorrow night.
EPIX and EpixHD.com will screen the fight beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET / 1:30 p.m. PT, live from ESPIRIT Arena in Düsseldorf, Germany, where a sold-out crowd of 50,000 boxing fans is expected.
Wladimir Klitschko Discusses Dereck Chisora and Jean Marc Mormeck
Wladimir Klitschko in “No-Win Situation” versus Mormeck
By Johnny Walker
Listening to world heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko on a conference call this week from Germany, it became clear that the normally genial and laid-back Ukrainian was a little more tense than usual as Saturday’s fight with Jean Marc Mormeck of France approaches.
Klitschko and his trainer Emanuel Steward have been reading the boxing press, and bristling at the suggestion, made by many (including this writer), that the cerebral and methodical champ needs to step up his game and get rid of the seemingly over-matched Mormeck both quickly and in spectacular fashion in order to satisfy his numerous (on this side of the pond, anyway) critics.
Steward was first up, trying to tamp down expectations of a blowout in front of an estimated 50,000 European boxing fans on Saturday in Düsseldorf, Germany.
“It’s not the type of a fight that he can come out like everyone thinks and just blow the guy away,” said Steward.
“It’s so frustrating with these comments that we’re reading. And I understand the fans’ opinion, but I just think style-wise, it’s not going to be the type of a fight where you can just knock the guy out early, because his head is going to be bobbing and weaving. So when you fight a guy like that you have to fight a very patient fight.
“You have to jab and learn to control the guy’s head, because his head is upfront, which means you control his head, you control his whole weight, and which means you have to fight a patient, systematic fight to break the guy down, much like Lennox [Lewis] had to do with Mike Tyson.
“But according to all of the experts, if the fight goes over three rounds or four rounds, it’s considered a terrible performance. If Wladimir knocks him out in a minute, it’s what he was supposed to do, so we’re going into a definitely no-win situation,” Steward lamented.
The champion then spoke, and both his tone and the cutting nature of some of his comments made it clear that he is tired of the idea that there is something wrong with the way he fights, and offended by the notion that he needs to do something differently this time.
“I think you’re more frustrated that anyone else,” Klitschko snarked at one reporter who suggested that the Klitschko brothers might find the current heavyweight division’s competition less than satisfactory.
“We’re getting enough challenges, trust me.”
Wladimir also emphasized the fact that while size is important, it isn’t the determining factor in most title fights.
“It’s a tough job to fight a shorter guy,” said Wladimir.
“And trust me, it costs you more energy as a bigger guy. It’s on one side an advantage because of the size and weight, but it’s not always an advantage.
“It’s definitely – it’s a smaller target to hit, so you have to be really precise. It has to be like surgery in an operating room, you know? You have to be really precise with what you’re doing, and that’s exactly what it’s going to be like with Mormeck.”
In other words, the champion has no intention of changing his approach for Jean Marc Mormeck or anybody else.
As always for Wladimir, it’s going to be chess match.
If it ain’t broke, he reasons, don’t fix it.
“If our fights were kind of sloppy and we were getting punched in the face and we needed to have a shoehorn to put the hat on after the fights, probably that would be exciting for the fans,” Klitschko said sarcastically of he and his brother Vitali’s heavyweight dominance.
“I know what to expect from my opponents. I know the game, and it’s actually a chess game for me, believe it or not. So when you’re well prepared, there is nothing that can surprise you.
“That’s basically it.”
(Weigh-in photo by Michael Sterlingeaton)