Heavyweight: 2012, Feb 20-26

#1 Vitali Klitschko once again proved that his own body is his toughest opponent as he had to dig a lot deeper than usual to defeat #6 Dereck Chisora on Saturday in Munich.  Though most observers seem to have had Vitali as a comfortable winner (I was it as a clear but very close win for him), the general consensus was that it was not an easy fight.  It wasn’t that Chisora was particularly tough- in truth he was probably mediocre at best- it was that Klitschko was badly impaired, having hurt his left shoulder early in the fight.  But Vitali is so much better than the rest of the heavyweight field (save for his brother) that he beat a pretty highly-ranked contender with only his right hand.

 

On the undercard, Detroit’s Johnathon Banks had little trouble with Akron journeyman Nicolai Firtha over 12 rounds, of which he won 11 on two cards and all 12 on another.

 

Back stateside, #13 Chris Arreola had a short but entertaining scrap with Eric Molina, an untested fringe prospect that was knocked out in his first pro fight but then won all of the 18 that followed.  Molina hit Arreola with a huge right hand that rocked the contender badly, but Arreola bounced back like the warrior he is and took advantage of his opponent’s overconfidence to rock him off the ropes with a right hand of his own.  Arreola then took control and- a mere 15 seconds or so after being nearly dropped- he stood and watched as it was Molina being counted out.

 

Vitali hangs on to his #1 contender position with the victory.  Chisora also stays put since he did roughly what you might expect a #6 contender to do against a #1 (and since he earned a victory over the #7 contender in his last fight).  Arreola was in soft and stays put, as well.  The Firtha victory also fails to move Banks up the ladder, as he remains unranked.  So despite the serious in-ring action last week, there are no changes in the rankings for what seems like the 40th week in a row.

 

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

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (139-352-352)
Last Fight: 7/2/2011- UD12 #2 David Haye
Next Fight: 3/3/2011- vs. #15 Jean Marc Mormeck
Wlad has rescheduled with Mormeck after reportedly offering the March 3 date to Tyson Fury (who said he’s not ready), Alexander Povetkin (ditto) and Robert Helenius (wants the fight later in the year).
1) Vitali Klitschko (176-176-176)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- UD12 #6 Dereck Chisora
Next Fight: Unknown
Vitali won a somewhat close fight with Chisora- though he likely would have been his usual dominant self if he had the use of both arms for at least half of the fight.  The verdict: torn ligaments in his left shoulder.
2) Alexander Povetkin (26-226-226)
Last Fight: 12/3/2011- KO8 #20 Cedric Boswell
Next Fight: 2/25/2011- vs. CW #5 Marco Huck
Povetkin adds cruiserweights to his list of acceptable opponents this week (previously his criteria included only aging heavyweights).
3) Eddie Chambers (19-151-151)
Last Fight: 2/11/2011- UD12 Derric Rossy (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Chambers has now been inactive for a year due largely to minor injuries.  He has confirmed that he is now clear to train again, so I will give him just one more month to sign another fight before he is removed.
4) Tomasz Adamek (12-96-96)
Last Fight: 9/10/2011- L (TKO10) vs. #1 Vitali Klitschko
Next Fight: 3/24/2012- vs. Nagy Aguilera (UNR)
Adamek will fight journeyman Nagy Aguilera on NBC Sports’ March 24 card after reconciling with his old promotional outfit, Main Events.
5) Tyson Fury (12-31-31)
Last Fight: 11/12/2011- TKO3 Neven Pajkic (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/14/2012- vs. Martin Rogan (UNR)
In lieu of a British title defense against the dangerous David Price, Fury has opted to fight also-ran former British Champion Martin Rogan- who had been reduced to fighting 6-rounders before his current 18-month layoff- instead.
6) Dereck Chisora (12-12-75)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- L(UD12) vs. #1 Vitali Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
Chisora had a busy couple days.  He slapped Vitali at the weigh-in on Friday, spit on Wladimir in the ring before the fight, lost the fight, and then decided he wasn’t tired enough and started a fight with David Haye at the post-fight press conference.  Outrage now surrounds Chisora.  He was released without charge by the Munich police, but he faces a hearing on his license by the British Boxing Board of Control on March 14.
7) Robert Helenius (12-47-91)
Last Fight: 12/3/2011- W*(SD12) vs. #18 Dereck Chisora (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
In addition to his injured hand suffered in the Chisora bout, Helenius says he was fighting with an injured shoulder.  Now comes the news that he will require surgery for that injury, and will be out until at least the fall.  His doctors say there is a chance it will never heal well enough for boxing.
8) Ruslan Chagaev (12-275-275)
Last Fight: 1/28/2011- UD8 Kertson Manswell (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Chagaev wants to fight every 3 months and hopes for another title shot by the end of 2012.
9) Tony Thompson (12-91-91)
Last Fight: 5/27/2011- TKO3 Maurice Harris (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Thompson has been elevated to a spot as the IBF’s mandatory contender without the need for an eliminator against Chambers, who withdrew with a back injury.  This most likely means he won’t be fighting Chambers as originally planned.
10) Odlanier Solis (12-62-91)
Last Fight: 3/19/2011- L (TKO1) vs. #1 Vitali Klitschko
Next Fight: 4/14/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
Solis is said to be returning on the Rios-Gamboa undercard on April 14 in Vegas.  This isn’t the first rumored return date for the badly injured Solis, though, so we’ll have to watch the situation.
11) Seth Mitchell (11-11)
Last Fight: 12/10/2011- TKO2 #19 Timur Ibragimov
Next Fight: Unknown
Mitchell is now back in the gym in preparation for a possible March return.
12) Alexander Dimitrenko (11-58)
Last Fight: 9/24/2011- UD12 Michael Sprott (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/31/2012- vs. #18 Kubrat Pulev
Dimitrenko has cancelled his contract with Universum and is now likely on the shelf until its expiration in September as a result.
13) Chris Arreola (11-153)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- KO1 Eric Molina (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Arreola got rocked by relative novice Eric Molina, but it’s still kinda hard to argue with a 1st round knockout, weak opposition notwithstanding.
14) Denis Boytsov (11-140)
Last Fight: 1/28/2011- KO4 Darnell Wilson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
After brushing aside a relatively weak opponent in Wilson, Boytsov may have an opportunity against Kubrat Pulev for a European title, should Dimitrenko bow out of that fight as many expect.
15) Jean Marc Mormeck (11-91)
Last Fight: 12/2/2010- SD12 #19 Timur Ibragimov
Next Fight: 3/3/2012- vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
See Klitschko’s comments, above.
16) Bermane Stiverne (11-35)
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.  That fight may never happen, though, as there is talk that Vitali might fight Chisora, Haye, and then retire.
17) Samuel Peter (11-91)
Last Fight: 4/2/2011- L(KO9) vs. #16 Robert Helenius
Next Fight: Unknown
It appeared that Peter would be fighting Vyacheslav Glazkov, but apparently it was never a done deal.
18) Kubrat Pulev (11-67)
Last Fight: 1/14/2012- RTD9 Michael Sprott (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/31/2012- vs. #12 Alexander Dimitrenko
See Dimitrenko’s notes, above.
19) Franklin Lawrence (11-39)
Last Fight: 10/28/2011- TKO2 Raymond Ochieng (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
20) Cedric Boswell (19-19)
Last Fight: 12/3/2011- L(KO8) vs. #2 Alexander Povetkin
Next Fight: Unknown
Boswell was the most comatose participant in a comatose fight with Alexander Povetkin prior to being rendered semi-conscious by Povetkin in the 8th.  In this case, semi-conscious is a downgrade from comatose…don’t ask how that works.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: The most significant fight in the division this week is #2 Alexander Povetkin versus #5 Cruiserweight contender Marco Huck.  Povetkin is defending his trumped up alphabet belt and should be in for a somewhat easy evening against a guy that got bullied around the ring by a smaller Russian in Denis Lebedev.  On the undercard of that fight in Stuttgart, German prospect Edmund Gerber- who has been slumming with complete novice opponents for way too long now- fights a slightly better (but still disappointing) mark in Ukrainian journeyman Alexei Mazikin.  There is also another heavyweight fight of note, but it’s basically between two cruiserweights that agreed not to dehydrate, so look for that on my cruiserweight update for this week.
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