Super Middleweight: 2011, Mar 7-13

Finland’s Amin Asikainen was stopped in the 11th round after being dropped twice by Polish prospect/gatekeeper Piotr Wilczewski on Friday in Helsinki.  Asikainen had been a borderline middleweight contender a few years ago until he was stopped by Sebastian Sylvester, and has gone one to lose by stoppage to Khoren Gevor and Matthew Macklin, as well.  He moved up to 168 about a year ago and beat two unproven opponents before stepping up against Wilczewski.  The highlight of his career was probably being included in the Fight Night Round 4 video game a couple years ago.  This latest loss renders him for all intents and purposes a high-profile journeyman.  Wilczewski, who improves his record to 28-1, was stopped early by a hot Curtis Stevens in his only previous test.  This single win is not enough to earn him a rating, though it’s a good first step.


In Argentina, undefeated prospect Ezequiel Maderna took on a tough challenge in gatekeeper Ruben Acosta, and passed it by outpointing his older countryman over 10 rounds.  This win is enough for Maderna to debut at #19, pushing James DeGale to #20 since DeGale’s best victim, Paul Smith, was slightly less accomplished than Acosta.  Garth Wood exits, but of course remains highly-rated at middleweight.


In Saturday’s other action, Britain’s undefeated George Groves stopped untested Daniel Allotey of Ghana in the 4th, and former junior middleweight contender James Kirkland returned to the ring following his term in prison on a weapon’s beef, and destroyed journeyman Ahsandi Gibbs in about half a minute.  Kirkland figures to return to 154 when he begins training for more serious fights.


Here are The Ring’s top 10 for comparison purposes:
1) Andre Ward
2) Lucian Bute
3) Carl Froch
4) Mikkel Kessler
5) Andre Dirrell
6) Sakio Bika
7) Robert Stieglitz
8) Librado Andrade
9) Glen Johnson
10) Arthur Abraham


Dan’s Top 20
Champ: None
1) Andre Ward (15-94-94)
Last Fight: 11/27/2010- UD12 #10 Sakio Bika
Next Fight: 5/14/2011- vs. #7 Arthur Abraham
It appears that Ward’s fight with Abraham will take place a week before the Froch-Johnson fight.
2) Carl Froch (15-247-247)
Last Fight: 11/27/2010- UD12 #7 Arthur Abraham
Next Fight: 5/21/2011- vs. #15 Glen Johnson
Froch and Johnson have each confirmed a May 21 date for their semifinal match.  Originally, it appeared the fight would be on the same card as David Haye’s next fight, but that fight is set for England while it turns out the Super Six semifinals must contractually happen in America.
3) Lucian Bute (15-256-256)
Last Fight: 10/15/2010- KO9 #15 Jesse Brinkley
Next Fight: 3/19/2011- vs. Brian Magee (UNR)
Bute recently lost his #1 and then #2 spot because his level of competition has been far inferior to Andre Ward and Carl Froch’s, largely for obvious reasons.  Unfortunately, Brian Magee is an even lesser opponent, meaning that the Super Six final will probably cause me to crown a champion.
4) Mikkel Kessler (15-326-326)
Last Fight: 4/24/2010- UD12 Carl Froch
Next Fight: Unknown
His eye problems apparently behind him, Kessler is now pushing for a fight with Robert Stieglitz.  Stieglitz unfortunately does not appear interested.
5) Andre Dirrell (36-49-49)
Last Fight: 3/27/2010- DQ11 Arthur Abraham
Next Fight: Unknown
I don’t particularly believe Dirrell’s claims of neurological problems following the Abraham DQ, and so I have an interesting decision to make on his place in the ratings assuming he doesn’t get a fight signed by the end of March.
6) Robert Stieglitz (36-80-80)
Last Fight: 11/20/2010- UD12 Enrique Ornelas (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/9/2011- vs. #9 Dimitri Sartison
Stieglitz appeared to be ducking Mikkel Kessler, but signed a pretty good fight anyway with the underrated Dimitri Sartison in Magdeburg.
7) Arthur Abraham (50-72-72)
Last Fight: 2/12/2011- TKO2 Stjepan Bozic (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/14/2011- vs. #1 Andre Ward
The easy win over Bozic probably didn’t serve as an adequate tune-up for Abe, since Bozic’s injured hand prevented him from getting any rounds in.
8) Librado Andrade (38-198-198)
Last Fight: 5/28/2010- RTD8 Eric Lucas (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
It now appears Andrade is unlikely to fight Chad Dawson on the Hopkins-Pascal card, since Adrian Diaconu appears to be the choice for Dawson.  No word on the next move for Andrade.
9) Dimitri Sartison (21-32-36)
Last Fight: 7/31/2010- UD12 Khoren Gevor (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/9/2011- vs. #6 Robert Stieglitz
In a surprise announcement, Sartison will fight Stieglitz in Magdeburg in what should be a good matchup.
10) Sakio Bika (21-21-205)
Last Fight: 11/27/2010- L(UD12) vs. #2 Andre Ward
Next Fight: Unknown
Expect Bika to take a nice long vacation and then fight a weak opponent or two before stepping back up, if he ever does.
11) Eduard Gutknecht (21-36)
Last Fight: 2/12/2010- UD8 Oleksandr Cherviak (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Gutknecht’s place in the 168 pound rankings is on its deathbed, as he’s clearly decided to fight exclusively at 175.
12) Karoly Balzsay (21-36)
Last Fight: 11/19/2010- KO4 Misa Nikolic (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Balzsay hasn’t made 168 since early December 2009, but since he missed it by only a pound for his very inconsequential non-title fight with Aziz Daari, he gets an extra six months to fight at 168.
13) Edison Miranda (21-36)
Last Fight: 4/17/2010- L (TKO3) vs. Lucian Bute
Next Fight: Unknown
Miranda is out in favor of Fulgencio Zuniga as Renan St. Juste’s opponent on March 19.  Reportedly Miranda had a problem with the 168 pound limit and wanted the fight at light heavyweight.
14) Jesse Brinkley (21-36)
Last Fight: 10/15/2010- L (KO9) vs. #1 Lucian Bute
Next Fight: Unknown
Brinkley is rightfully enjoying a nice vacation after a punishing loss to Lucian Bute in October.
15) Glen Johnson (18-18)
Last Fight: 11/6/2010- TKO8 Allan Green (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/21/2011- vs. #2 Carl Froch
Johnson, a former light heavyweight champion, has a real shot at being top dog at 168.  His path is clear: beat Carl Froch in May, Andre Ward later in the year, and then (possibly) clean up the division with Lucian Bute in early 2012.  The odds are long, though, as the Road Warrior is already 42 and must go through perhaps all three of the division’s best fighters.
16) Isaac Chilemba (2-36)
Last Fight: 2/25/2011- UD10 Maxim Vlasov (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: 3/26/2011- vs. Vikapita Meroro (UNR) (at LHW)
Chilemba gets a little credit in the rankings for beating Maxim Vlasov at a low-light heavyweight contract weight simply because both he and Vlasov typically fight at 168.  This victory advances him past Thomas Oosthuizen, with whom he recently drew.  Chilemba is staying busy, fighting a very good journeyman for a regional LHW title in late March.
17) Thomas Oosthuizen (2-36)
Last Fight: 11/6/2010- D12 with #17 Isaac Chilemba
Next Fight: 3/26/2011- vs. Ruben Acosta (UNR)
Oosthuizen will take on gatekeeper Ruben Acosta in March- a decent matchup for him.
18) Bryan Vera (5-5)
Last Fight: 2/4/2011- SD10 Sergio Mora (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Vera, despite a bit of a roller-coaster career including a couple recent losses, has done more in beating Sebastian Demers and Sergio Mora than have the guys rated below him, at least at this weight.
19) Ezequiel Maderna (1-1)
Last Fight: 3/5/2011- UD10 Ruben Acosta (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
His win over Ruben Acosta gives him a slightly better resume than DeGale.
20) James DeGale (1-13)
Last Fight: 12/11/2010- TKO9 Paul Smith (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/12/2011- vs. Unknown Opponent
DeGale has scheduled a fight for this weekend at the very last minute.  No opponent has been announced, and it surely won’t be anyone good.

THE WEEK AHEAD: #20 James DeGale surprised fans by announcing on Monday that he’ll be fighting in Glasgow on Saturday.  No opponent has been announced and it obviously won’t be anyone worth mentioning.  Gatekeepers William Joppy and Cory Cummings will have a rematch of last year’s draw on the George Mason University campus in Virginia the same day, as well.

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