Heavyweight: 2011, May 30- Jun 5

All the big fights in the division this week were on Friday- two of them on ESPN2.  #8 Tony Thompson finally stepped back up in competition a little, stopping Maurice Harris in 3 after dropping him twice in the Friday Night Fights co-feature.  Thompson, as usual, looked robotic and slow, but had more than enough ability and power to get the job done. 

 

In the main event, #12 Chris Arreola stayed busy and lean, stopping mid-range journeyman Kendrick Releford in 7 while only adding 2 pounds since his knockout of Nagy Aguilera 13 days earlier.  Arreola honestly looks to have lost a bit of power with his weight loss, but is better defensively and quicker in his current form, and is still landing plenty of hard thudding punches for the level at which he’s currently fighting.  We’ll see how the new-look “Nightmare” fares when he steps back up to the world-class level.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see that by the end of the year.

 

Now here’s an interesting bit of trivia: the WBC’s Caribbean Boxing Federation title was on the line this week.  I know.  Nobody really cares.  But in this case I thought it was worth a mention.  Why?  Because first of all, the fight was held in the little-known Caribbean island of Delaware.  But fair enough- importing a couple Caribbeans to Delaware for a title fight.  No problem there.  But the two challengers?  Indiana’s own Franklin Lawrence and Virginia’s Jason Gavern.  I’d say the WBC has lost me, but there’s nothing to say now that I haven’t said many times before.  Despite the blatant silliness involved, this was actually probably the most important fight in the division this week. 

 

On Saturday, highly-regarded undefeated prospect Alexander Ustinov predictably destroyed sacrificial lamb Guido Santana in Kiev in the first round of their mismatch.

 

Thompson picks up a good win in Harris, but not good enough to gain back the position Adamek took from him recently.  In the case of Franklin Lawrence, his victory over Gavern, when added to the even more impressive victory over Jason Estrada a few months back, propels him very strongly into the rankings at #17.  Timur Ibragimov is forced out by the shift.
For Comparison, here are the Current Ring Magazine Heavyweight Rankings:
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko
1) Vitali Klitschko
2) David Haye
3) Tomasz Adamek
4) Alexander Povetkin
5) Ruslan Chagaev
6) Eddie Chambers
7) Alexander Dimitrenko
8) Denis Boystov
9) Robert Helenius
10) Chris Arreola

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (101-314-314)
Last Fight: 9/11/2010- KO10 #6 Samuel Peter
Next Fight: 7/2/2011- vs. #2 David Haye
Now there’s a definite date and venue for Klitschko-Haye: July 2 in Hamburg.  Now all we have to do is see if Wlad’s “injury” stays healed and if Haye decides to actually show.
1) Vitali Klitschko (138-138-138)
Last Fight: 3/19/2011- TKO1 #10 Odlanier Solis
Next Fight: 9/10/2011- vs. #7 Tomasz Adamek
Originally it appeared that Vitali would fight a no-hoper in July and act as the understudy for his brother’s fight with Adamek in September, but somewhere along the line he decided to fight Adamek instead.
2) David Haye (61-115-115)
Last Fight: 11/13/2010- TKO3 Audley Harrison (UNR)
Next Fight: 7/2/2011- vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
With his mandatory with Ruslan Chagaev out of the way due to hepatitis and Wlad’s fight with Chisora apparently contingent on whether the Champ feels like it at any given moment, Haye has once again signed on to fight Wlad.  With the contract signed, the odds of the fight actually happen have increased to about 50-50 in my estimation.
 3) Eddie Chambers (16-113-113)
Last Fight: 2/11/2011- UD12 Derric Rossy (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Should have Tony Thompson next on his agenda, as Thompson’s win over Harris amounted to an eliminator to fight in an eliminator against Chambers…with the upshot at least theoretically being a Klitschko shot.
4) Robert Helenius (9-9-53)
Last Fight: 4/2/2011- KO9 #6 Samuel Peter
Next Fight: 6/25/2011- vs. Unknown Opponent
Helenius is scheduled to return on June 25, with the most likely opponent being former contender Sergei Liakhovich.
5) Alexander Povetkin (9-188-188)
Last Fight: 12/18/2010- UD8 Nicolai Firtha (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Povetkin-Chagaev now looks very likely.
6) Ruslan Chagaev (9-237-237)
Last Fight: 11/19/2010- UD8 Travis Walker (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Povetkin’s comments above.
7) Tomasz Adamek (18-58-58)
Last Fight: 4/9/2011- UD12 Kevin McBride (UNR)
Next Fight: 9/10/2011- vs. #1 Vitali Klitschko
Time for Adamek to get serious, as he faces a live opponent for the first time in a long stretch this September.
8) Tony Thompson (18-53-53)
Last Fight: 5/27/2011- TKO3 Maurice Harris (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Eddie Chambers is likely Thompson’s next opponent, in an alphabet title eliminator.
9) Juan Carlos Gomez (18-53-53)
Last Fight: 12/4/2010- TKO4 Harold Sconiers (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Treading water like nobody’s business.
10) Odlanier Solis (24-24-53)
Last Fight: 3/19/2011- L (TKO1) vs. #1 Vitali Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
If anyone doubted the legitimacy of Solis’ injury, he is awaiting surgery for a torn ACL and meniscus.  He wants a rematch, which of course seems unlikely- though I’d actually be interested.
11) Alexander Dimitrenko (10-20)
Last Fight: 3/26/2011- TKO12 Albert Sosnowski (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Dimitrenko is being targeted by Helenius, but the EBU has ordered a European title match between him and #15 Jean Marc Mormeck.
12) Chris Arreola (10-115)
Last Fight: 5/27/2011- TKO7 Kendrick Releford (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Another week, another stoppage win for Arreola.  We’ll see if he comes back as quickly next time, and in as good of shape.
13) Denis Boytsov (10-102)
Last Fight: 11/19/2010- KO2 Mike Sheppard (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Probably safe to say at this point that his plan to fight stateside in May is not coming to fruition.
14) Dereck Chisora (10-37)
Last Fight: 9/18/2010- TKO9 #20 Sam Sexton
Next Fight: 7/23/2011- vs. Tyson Fury (UNR)
After a brawl ringside at DeGale-Groves broke out between the two men, Chisora-Fury is now signed for July 23 at Wembley Stadium.
15) Jean Marc Mormeck (10-53)
Last Fight: 12/2/2010- SD12 #19 Timur Ibragimov
Next Fight: Unknown
Now appears more likely to fight Dimitrenko than Povetkin, for the European title.
16) Samuel Peter (9-53)
Last Fight: 4/2/2011- L(KO9) vs. #16 Robert Helenius
Next Fight: Unknown
We’ll have to see if and how Peter rebounds from his latest knockout loss- this one more brutal than the last.  If the relatively young (30) Nigerian decides to forge on, he’ll have to overcome the reality of being treated as a stepping stone at least for tall up-and-comers.
17) Franklin Lawrence (1-1)
Last Fight:5/27/2011- RTD7 Jason Gavern (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
After a rocky time in his career where he lost and drew with fighters less advanced than he currently is, Lawrence has found himself at the ripe old age of 35 and begun a climb in the ranks.
18) Kubrat Pulev (1-29)
Last Fight: 5/7/2011- TKO5 Derric Rossy (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Rossy is no longer a great feather in the cap, but he’s still good enough to move Pulev up a couple rungs.
19) Francesco Pianeta (1-53)
Last Fight: 4/2/2011- TKO3 Ivica Perkovic (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/25/2011- vs. Jens Krull (UNR)
Cancer survivor Pianeta is staying busy, but not against credible opposition.
20) Ray Austin (1-53)
Last Fight: 12/17/2010- L(DQ10) vs. #17 Odlanier Solis
Next Fight: 6/25/2011- vs. Bermane Stiverne (UNR)
Austin will fight Haitian fringe prospect Bermane Stiverne in St. Louis on June 25 in what figures to be a very silly excuse for a title eliminator, even by alphabet standards.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD:  Undefeated prospect Luis Ortiz of Cuba will fight mediocre journeyman Jason Barnett on the non-televised portion of the Friday Night Fights card from Tampa.  The next night in Denmark, hot prospect Edmund Gerber of Germany takes on Zack Page.  Page is a journeyman who always fights good prospects.  Until recently, he succeeded often enough to be considered a gatekeeper, even with a losing record.  However, he has lost his last 7 fights now, including some less advanced fighters, and is no longer the good mark he once was.  Finally, in Hollywood, Florida later that night we go to the “Well” once more, as fringe contender Cedric Boswell takes on journeyman Kertson Manswell.
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