Heavyweight: 2013, Apr 22-28

In by far the week’s biggest fight at heavyweight, #6 Tyson Fury scored a dramatic (and somewhat dirty) come-from-behind knockout victory over undersized #3 Steve Cunningham at Madison Square Garden. Cunningham started off in fine form, dropping the gigantic Fury heavily in the 2nd en route to sweeping the first 4 rounds on my card.  But around the 5th round, Fury’s sheer size and roughhouse tactics seemed to take their toll on Cunningham’s conditioning, as Fury edged the 5th (aside from a point deduction for use of his head inside) and the 6th, as Cunningham became noticeably less elusive.  Fury then managed to hurt Cunningham in the 7th and pin him against the ropes.  At that point, he shoved his forearm into Cunningham’s face to ensure that he wouldn’t be able to see the big right hand that ended the night.  It wasn’t always pretty from Fury, but in the end it turned out to be plenty effective.  The same can not be said of his random decision to butcher the country classic “Keep it Between the Lines” by Ricky Van Shelton while addressing the crowd post-fight.

 

Just about an hour or two later, and across the pond in London, #9 Dereck Chisora sleepwalked his way to a snoozer of a 9th round TKO over journeyman and former Argentine Cruiserweight Champ Hector Avila.  Avila was content to hold and slow the pace, as he was even less in shape than the moderately fat Chisora.  Chisora, for his part, seemed content to throw one punch at a time more often than not, several committing to any really hard punches or combinations that might have made Avila’s night a little more difficult.  But ultimately Avila did sort of fold just when it looked like he might torture the viewer further by surviving to the final bell. 

 

Undefeated Polish prospect Artur Szpilka was in action in his home country, getting a short night’s work when his opponent, journeyman Taras Bidenko, retired on his stool with an injury at the start of the 2nd round.

 

And finally, Russian gatekeeper Alexander Ustinov cruised to a shutout decision over 8 rounds with Croatian journeyman Ivica Perkovic, whose lone claim to fame was dropping Ustinov’s fellow Kubrat Pulev victim Alexander Dimitrenko hard in their recent fight.

 

Fury advances to #2 with the win.  Simply put, nobody else but the Klitschkos and Cunningham himself has beaten a fighter ranked as highly as #3 in the last five years.  Despite a short resume at heavyweight, Cunningham still only falls to #5, as he can’t possibly dip below the man he clearly beat last time out in Tomasz Adamek.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (200-413-413)
Last Fight: 11/10/2012- UD12 Mariusz Wach (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/4/2013- vs. Francesco Pianeta (UNR)
Wlad will be fighting Italian fringe contending prospect Francesco Pianeta in Mannheim, Germany.  It’s hard to knock Pianeta as a fighter because he remains undefeated and was knocked off track by a bout with cancer a couple years ago, but it’s hard to get excited about any fight that, if the underdog won, would be considered the greatest upset in the history of the Heavyweight Championship.
1) Vitali Klitschko (237-237-237)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO4 Manuel Charr (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
After speculation went wild over a Daily Beast article that seemed to be hinting at an impending retirement announcement, Vitali seems to have every intention of continuing his career.  He says he may eventually fight David Haye, but implies he would at least fight his mandatory challenger (the Stiverne-Arreola winner) first.
2) Tyson Fury (1-92-92)
Last Fight: 4/20/2013- KO7 #3 Steve Cunningham
Next Fight: Unknown
Fury is now suddenly the most proven heavyweight not named Klitschko, and will likely get a chance to add to his resume against Kubrat Pulev next, as an eliminator for Wlad in the IBF.
3) David Haye (1-41-41)
Last Fight: 7/14/2012- TKO5 #6 Dereck Chisora
Next Fight: 6/29/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Haye’s initially-announced July fight has been moved up to the end of June, and Eddie Chambers and especially Kubrat Pulev seem to be possibilities.
4) Alexander Povetkin (41-287-287)
Last Fight: 9/29/2012- TKO2 Hasim Rahman (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/17/2013- vs. Andrzej Wawrzyk (UNR)
Povetkin is set to fight mediocre-looking undefeated Polish prospect Andrzej Wawrzyk in Moscow, on the Lebedev-Jones undercard.
5) Steve Cunningham (1-18-18)
Last Fight: 4/20/2013- L (KO7) vs. #6 Tyson Fury
Next Fight: Unknown
Only time will tell where Cunningham goes form here.  His hopes for a title shot are dashed at least for awhile.  Perhaps a trilogy with Adamek would make sense at this point.
6Tomasz Adamek (1-157-157)
Last Fight: 12/22/2012- W (SD12)* vs. CW #4 Steve Cunningham (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
Word is that Adamek will likely be fighting still relatively unproven Newark prospect Joe Hanks on June 14 in that town that they both currently call home.
7) Eddie Chambers (18-45-45)
Last Fight: 6/16/2012- L(UD12) vs. #3 Tomasz Adamek
Next Fight: Unknown
Chambers’ very active twitter continues to reference David Haye a lot, but the tone has noticeably shifted from “come on and fight me David Haye” to “Haye is ducking Chambers.”  It seems that nobody decent wants to fight Chambers.
8) Kubrat Pulev (18-51-128)
Last Fight: 9/29/2012- KO11 Alexander Ustinov (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Pulev says he’s negotiating to be David Haye’s 6/29 opponent.
9) Dereck Chisora (18-73-136)
Last Fight: 4/20/2013- TKO9 Hector Avila (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Chisora put on a world-class snoozer against Avila, but still managed to bag a late stoppage.
10) Odlanier Solis (5-5-152)
Last Fight: 3/22/2013- UD12 Leif Larsen (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Solis’ promoter wants to get him back in the ring within 3 months after the Larsen fight.
11) Johnathon Banks (5-23)
Last Fight: 11/17/2012- TKO2 #11 Seth Mitchell
Next Fight: 6/22/2013- vs. Seth Mitchell (UNR)
The Mitchell rematch- postponed due to a broken thumb by Banks- has been reset for the Malignaggi-Broner undercard on June 22.
12) Tony Thompson (8-152)
Last Fight: 2/23/2013- TKO2 David Price (UNR)
Next Fight: 7/6/2013- vs. David Price (UNR)
After originally saying he’d only fight David Price in a rematch if Price came to the US, Thompson has instead agreed to fight in Price’s Liverpool backyard again.
13) Robert Helenius (8-152)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- W*(UD10) vs. Michael Sprott (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Helenius’ team confirms another hand injury.  They say it will take 6 weeks to heal, despite rumors that it is more serious.
14) Alexander Dimitrenko (8-119)
Last Fight: 3/9/2013- UD8 Ivica Perkovic (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Dimitrenko’s future is in doubt after he struggled mightily to survive a heavy knockdown and outpoint typically inept journeyman Ivica Perkovic.
15) Chris Arreola (8-214)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- KO1 Eric Molina (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/27/2013- vs. #19 Bermane Stiverne (UNR)
The Stiverne fight is once again on the schedule, this time for April 27.
16) Denis Boytsov (8-201)
Last Fight: 2/15/2013- UD8 Samir Kurtagic (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Boytsov appears to have won the battle of wills with Universum over whether he gets to fight or not.  Now the trick will be getting him in against worthwhile opposition.
17) Vyacheslav Glazkov (8-18)
Last Fight: 2/23/2013- Draw* (SD10) vs. Malik Scott (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Glazkov got the benefit of the doubt in every close round from two of the judges against Scott.  It was just about as close to a robbery as you can get without me calling it that. 
18) Malik Scott (8-9)
Last Fight: 2/23/2013- Draw* (SD10) vs. #19 Vyacheslav Glazkov
Next Fight: Unknown
Scott is in Moscow at last check, sparring with Povetkin and Lebedev.
19) Bermane Stiverne (8-8)
Last Fight: 4/14/2012- vs. Willie Herring (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/27/2013- vs. #15 Chris Arreola
See Arreola’s notes, above.
20) Franklin Lawrence (8-8)
Last Fight: 1/25/2013- Mark Brown (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Lawrence reportedly pulled out of a planned (and very good) crossroads fight with prospect Bryant Jennings.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: Several fights to talk about this week.  The likely most significant one is Saturday in Ontario, CA, where #15 Chris Arreola meets #19 Bermane Stiverne in a long-planned battle to determine Vitali Klitschko’s mandatory- or possibly his successor should he elect to retire.

 

On the undercard for that one, Connecticut gatekeeper Tony Grano takes on Texas journeyman Eric Molina for the right the be vastly overrated by the IBF.

 

Another pretty significant tilt can be found in Sheffield, England, as undefeated prospect and 2008 Olympic medalist Deontay Wilder fights the toughest opponent of his career in the resurgent Brit Audley Harrison. Harrison had descended well into journeyman status before winning the Prizefighter tournament out of what on paper looked like a pretty good field, though his exact draw was not as good as you’d have thought going in.  The victory in the one-night tournament qualified him as a top-25 fringe contender once again, which means on paper he’ll be a huge step up for Wilder, who still has yet to fight even a legitimate top 50 opponent.

 

On the Martinez-Murray undercard in Buenos Aires, undefeated Oxnard, CA-based Russian prospect Magomed Abdusalamov takes on Argentina’s own Sebastian Ceballos, a serviceable career journeyman who has thrice popped up as a failed contender for that country’s national title.  In one of those “only in boxing” quirks we’re so used to, this fight will somehow be for the WBC’s USA title, even though neither fighter is native to the US, and even though Ceballos in particular still lives in Argentina and has never even fought stateside.

 

Finally, former undefeated Vitali Klitschko opponent Kevin Johnson of Georgia- now barely in the top 50 and seemingly in rapid decline for about a year or so now- will continue his 2 year-long road show, fighting solid one-loss, Sydney-based Kiwi prospect Solomon Haumono in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday.
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