Heavyweight: 2011, Oct 24-30

This week featured four fights that deserve a mention.

 

On Friday night in Australia, Samoan fringe contender Alex Leapai flattened flabby Russian giant and journeyman Evgeny Orlov in the fourth round for a KO win. 

 

Later on Friday, undefeated prospect Francesco Pianeta had what can best be described as a development fight against Robert Hawkins in Germany.  Hawkins was once a pretty decent gatekeeper-type, but came in as a loser of his last 8 and 14 of his last 16.  On one hand, Pianeta would seem to be beyond the need for development fights.  He earned himself a spot in anybody’s top 20 with a stoppage win over a then-formidable Matt Skelton in 2009, but has fought a string of nobodies.  He can, I think, be forgiven for that, as he was battling cancer for the majority of that time.  I think it’s fair to say that he is essentially rebuilding his career from the ground up.  The Hawkins matchup is the kind you’d expect to see from a fighter in roughly his first 8-round fight, and he has re-passed that test.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see him begin to build his competition back up to the European level, where he left off, before too long.  Oh…and having put the cart before the horse a bit, I guess I should mention that he shut out Hawkins over 8 rounds.

 

Saturday, #17 Kubrat Pulev won a solid 12-round decision over gatekeeper Travis Walker in Germany.  I haven’t seen the fight, and of course you can’t rule out foul play in any German decision, but I haven’t yet heard any accusations to that effect here, so we’ll run with the decision on this one. 

 

Also Saturday, Russian giant Alexander Ustinov jabbed his way to a mundane decision over durable but limited journeyman Denis Bakhtov. 

 

Pulev’s impressive activity against decent competition allows him to swap places with last week’s #16 Franklin Lawrence.

 

For Comparison, here are the Current Ring Magazine Heavyweight Rankings:
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko
1) Vitali Klitschko
2) Alexander Povetkin
3) Tomasz Adamek
4) Eddie Chambers
5) Robert Helenius
6) Alexander Dimitrenko
7) Denis Boystov
8) Ruslan Chagaev
9) Chris Arreola
10) Kubrat Pulev

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (122-335-335)
Last Fight: 7/2/2011- UD12 #2 David Haye
Next Fight: 12/10/2011- vs. #13 Jean Marc Mormeck
Wlad will fight former cruiserweight champ and current #13 contender Jean Marc Mormeck in Dusseldorf, Germany on December 10.  It’s a pretty lopsided matchup, but if you disqualify fighters already beaten by a Klitschko in the past few years, you really only have Povetkin (who bailed on a previous shot), Helenius, Fury (who doesn’t believe he’s ready yet), Dimitrenko, and Boytsov (who is rebuilding his career after various injuries) ahead of Mormeck.  Dimitrenko is coming off an embarrassingly close win over Sprott, and I’m not sure he wants his shot at this point.  Helenius, then, may be the only available challenger more eligible than is Mormeck.  Just goes to show you the extent to which the Klitschkos really have cleaned out this division.
1) Vitali Klitschko (159-159-159)
Last Fight: 9/10/2011- TKO10 #6 Tomasz Adamek
Next Fight: Unknown
The latest rumor has Vitali considering the possibility of slapping around cruiserweight Marco Huck if television rights can be ironed out.
2) Alexander Povetkin (9-209-209)
Last Fight: 8/27/2011- UD12 #6 Ruslan Chagaev
Next Fight: 12/3/2011- vs. #20 Cedric Boswell
Povetkin is apparently looking to fight old guys only for his next fight.  Originally it looked like a Holyfield fight was all but done, then it looked like Rahman was the guy.  As it turns out, he will fight 42-year-0ld #20 Cedric Boswell on December 3 in Helsinki.
3) Eddie Chambers (2-134-134)
Last Fight: 2/11/2011- UD12 Derric Rossy (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. #8 Tony Thompson
The Chambers-Thompson fight scheduled for a 10/28 ShoBox appearance is now off due to a Chambers back injury.  Chambers hopes to be ready to go by the end of the year.
4) Robert Helenius (2-30-74)
Last Fight: 8/27/2011- TKO9 Sergei Liakhovich (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/3/2011- vs. Unknown Opponent
Helenius is now the mandatory for #10 Dimitrenko’s European title, and reportedly Helenius had already offered to fight Dimitrenko on the Povetkin card in Helsinki on December 3 even before that was the case.  No word on whether Dimitrenko will take the fight.  Purse bids are scheduled for October 31 if there’s no agreement.
5) Tomasz Adamek (2-79-79)
Last Fight: 9/10/2011- L (TKO10) vs. #1 Vitali Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
Adamek has made an offer to fight old and inactive former contender Jameel McCline in early 2012.  Unfortunately it looks like Adamek was lying when he said he only wanted the best fights after getting dominated by Vitali.
6) Ruslan Chagaev (2-258-258)
Last Fight: 8/27/2011- L (UD12) vs. #5 Alexander Povetkin
Next Fight: Unknown
Chagaev wants to fight again by the end of the year and get back on a title track.
7) Tyson Fury (2-14)
Last Fight: 9/17/2011- TKO5 Nicolai Firtha (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/12/2011- vs. Neven Pajkic (UNR)
Fury will fight fellow undefeated prospect Neven Pajkic in Manchester.  Pajkic is 34 but got a late start, turning pro in 2005 at age 28.  Pajkic is a native of Bosnia, but has lived in Canada since 1996.  Considering the dubious shape in which Chisora entered the ring, Pajkic may very well be Fury’s best test to date.
8) Tony Thompson (2-74-74)
Last Fight: 5/27/2011- TKO3 Maurice Harris (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. #3 Eddie Chambers
See Chambers’ comments, above.
9) Odlanier Solis (2-45-74)
Last Fight: 3/19/2011- L (TKO1) vs. #1 Vitali Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
As I suspected, the rumored 10/14 fight for Solis will not happen, as he is nowhere near ready after knee surgery.
10) Alexander Dimitrenko (2-2-41)
Last Fight: 9/24/2011- UD12 Michael Sprott (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Dimitrenko has both an offer on the table from Helenius and a mandatory obligation to fight him in defense of his European title.  If he decides to step up to the challenge, the likely date would be December 3, in Helsinki.
11) Chris Arreola (2-136)
Last Fight: 7/9/2011- UD10 Friday Ahunanya (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/5/2011- vs. Alonzo Butler (UNR)
Arreola will get back to action on November 5 in Mexico against journeyman Alonzo Butler.  I personally think he needs to start fighting contenders again.  Butler lost to Arreola’s last victim, Friday Ahunanya, in 2008.
12) Denis Boytsov (2-123)
Last Fight: 9/24/2011- TKO6 Matthew Greer (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
13) Jean Marc Mormeck (2-74)
Last Fight: 12/2/2010- SD12 #19 Timur Ibragimov
Next Fight: 12/10/2011- vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
The former cruiserweight king will fight for a legitimate championship in his 2nd weight division on December 10 in Germany.  If David Haye couldn’t do anything against Wlad, I don’t know why the guy from whom Haye took the title will fare any better, especially when he is significantly older and more used up than was the Brit.
14) Bermane Stiverne (2-18)
Last Fight: 6/25/2011- TKO10 #20 Ray Austin
Next Fight: Unknown
Despite a still-thin resume, Stiverne has somehow been maneuvered into the position of being Vitali Klitschko’s WBC mandatory challenger.
15) Samuel Peter (2-74)
Last Fight: 4/2/2011- L(KO9) vs. #16 Robert Helenius
Next Fight: 11/4/2011- vs. Vyacheslav Glazkov (UNR)
Peter finds himself in a quintessential crossroads fight in November when he travels to Moscow to fight Ukranian undefeated prospect Vyacheslav Glazkov.  If the Nigerian Nightmare has anything left he needs to bring it, because if he loses to the not-yet-top-50 Ukranian, his days in the top 20 will come to an end.
16) Kubrat Pulev (1-50)
Last Fight: 7/16/2011- UD8 Maxim Pediura (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/22/2011- vs. Travis Walker (UNR)
Pulev finally has an opponent for 10/22, and hopefully this one will stick.  Travis Walker is the guy, and he’s a borderline top-50 fighter who can punch a little bit.
17) Franklin Lawrence (1-22)
Last Fight: 5/27/2011- RTD7 Jason Gavern (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/28/2011- vs. Raymond Ochieng (UNR)
Lawrence’s fight in Nebraska originally scheduled for Nebraska on the 15th will now be this weekend in Pennsylvania.
18) Dereck Chisora (2-58)
Last Fight: 7/23/2011- L(UD12) vs. Tyson Fury (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Chisora recently said that he expects a rematch with Fury.  I’m not sure he’s earned it based on his effort in training and his performance in the ring.
19) Timur Ibragimov (2-5)
Last Fight: 12/2/2010- L (SD12) vs. #18 Jean Marc Mormeck
Next Fight: Unknown
Ibragimov returns to the rankings for the first time since May despite not having fought or scheduled a fight since then.
20) Cedric Boswell (2-2)
Last Fight: 6/4/2011- UD10 Kertson Manswell (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/3/2011- vs. #2 Alexander Povetkin
Boswell gets the opportunity of his life on December 3, but it will be no easy task against #2 Povetkin.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: In a fight originally scheduled for 2 weeks earlier, #16 Franklin Lawrence will take on weak journeyman Raymond Ochieng in Chester, Pennsylvania.  The fight was originally set to take place in Grand Island, Nebraska.

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