Cruiserweight: 2013: Oct 7-13

In last week’s biggest fight, #16 Grigory Drozd put on a bit of a show in Moscow on the Klitschko-Povetkin undercard.  Drozd was probably the underdog against #13 Mateusz Masternak.  Both were undefeated prospect, but Drozd had largely been treading water since he first made a minor splash in the 2008-2009 range, while Masternak had been rattling off a string of good wins more recently.  Drozd proved the better of the two, however, by winning 8 of 10 rounds by my count before wearing down and stopping a discouraged Masternak in the 11th.  The stoppage was a bit quick, in my opinion, by Italian referee Massimo Barrovecchio, but there was no doubt of the rightful winner.  Masternak seemed to be having trouble letting his hands go, and Drozd was largely beating him up- looking rather quick for a cruiserweight in doing so.


On the same card, #20 Rakhim Chakhkiev successfully rebounded from his first career loss, knocking out decent Romanian journeyman Giulian Ilie in the final round of their scheduled ten.  That was pretty much the script from the start, but it should be noted that it was a clean knockout, and the first stoppage (DQ aside) that Ilie had ever suffered- even against as good an opponent as Pawel Kolodziej.


One-loss English prospect Tony Conquest rose from a knockdown in each of the opening two rounds and suffered through a bloody cut over his eye to edge out a narrow decision over Spanish-born Wadi Camacho in London that same night.  Camacho- clearly the bigger and taller man- was in charge and physically imposing in the first couple rounds, backing Conquest up behind a jab and hurting him from the front foot.  The knockdown in the first round was with a follow-up uppercut that may have glanced off the chest before landing to the chin.  It didn’t appear to land as sharply as it could, and while it thudded Conquest to the canvas, it didn’t seem to cloud his mind or nervous system at all.  The second knockdown was a different matter, as the Englishman hit the floor in something of a heap, and didn’t seem entirely in command of his faculties for seconds after the action resumed.  Nevertheless, he soldiered through this adversity, even going so far as to answer back with some nice shots before the bell rang in that second round.  After those initial rounds, the story was an entirely different one.  Camacho seemed a bit complacent- an impression that was confirmed by his apparently genuine belief at the conclusion of the bout that he had won the fight- reaching with his jab as opposed to snapping or even pushing it.  His right southpaw left hand fell strangely silent after it had achieved such success from various angles in the early going.  Rather than Camacho’s physical tools dominating the fight, it was Conquest’s quickness, precision, and athleticism that controlled the fight.  I gave Camacho just one round- the 6th, and he had an argument in just one other.  The official word was a unanimous decision for Conquest, and a well-deserved one.


In the also-ran category, local gatekeeper Cesar Crenz won 6-round decision over journeyman and countryman Mariano Diaz, though I haven’t seen the fight nor found the scores.


B.J. Flores- whose recent Don King stablemate Francisco Palacios was removed a couple weeks ago for inactivity- suffers the same fate this week, after going a year without fighting or scheduling a fight.


Drozd advances from #16 to #9 with the win, while Masternak backtracks just one spot to #14, as he spaps position with Ilunga Makabu.  #s 17-20 from last week each move up one place, and Steve Herelius- who hasn’t won anything at all since 2010- nevertheless rises from a very dismal field to claim the #20 position.  For what it’s worth, Conquest isn’t really in the mix yet, as he is held back by his prior knockout loss to the unheralded Neil Dawson.


Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: None
1) Denis Lebedev (11-192-192)
Last Fight: 5/17/2013- L (TKO11) vs. Guillermo Jones (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
After originally talking about a return on the Klitschko-Povetkin undercard that never materialized, Lebedev has parted with his long-time promoter.
2) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (56-172-172)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- W*(UD12) vs. #20 Troy Ross
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. #12 Alexander Alekseev
Hernandez will make his long-awaited return in November or on December 14 in Germany against Alexander Alekseev.
3) Marco Huck (4-357-357)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- W (MD12) vs. #5 Ola Afolabi
Next Fight: 1/25/2014- vs. #5 Firat Arslan
Huck-Arslan II has a new date of January 25 after Huck suffered a hand injury.
4) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (4-433-433)
Last Fight: 6/21/2013- TKO8 Rakhim Chakhkiev (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/6/2013- vs. #10 Giacobbe Fragomeni
Wlodarczyk will see action in the US for the first time since 2005 on December 6, fighting a trilogy bout with the rapidly aging Italian Giacobbe Fragomeni in Chicago.
5) Firat Arslan (4-74-117)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD10 Varol Vekiloglu (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/25/2014- vs. #3 Marco Huck
See Huck’s notes, above.

6) Thabiso Mchunu (4-10-48)
Last Fight: 8/3/2013- UD10 Eddie Chambers (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mchunu intends to be back by the end of the year, and says he’ll take on anyone in the division.  I don’t blame him.  I’d pick him to beat anyone.
7) Ola Afolabi (4-239-239)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- L (MD12) vs. #8 Marco Huck
Next Fight: 11/2/2013- vs. Lukasz Janik (UNR)
If there is to be a Super 4 Cruiserweight tournament in Monaco, it appears it either won’t be on November 2 anymore, or that Afolabi won’t be participating if so, as he is slated for a November 2 fight on the Golovkin-Stevens undercard at Madison Square Garden against Polish prospect Lukasz Janik.
8) Danny Green (4-48-201)
Last Fight: 11/21/2012- UD12 Shane Cameron (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Green has vacated his alphabet belt, and says essentially that only a really good opportunity would get him back between the ropes at this point.  Still…he stopped short of retiring.
9) Grigory Drozd (1-1-48)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- TKO11 #13 Mateusz Masternak
Next Fight: Unknown
Drozd has, in one night, gone from a stagnant prospect to a rising contender by beating one of the division’s very best undefeated fighters.

10) Giacobbe Fragomeni (4-4-256)

Last Fight: 7/27/2013- UD8 Toni Visic (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/6/2013- vs. #4 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
See Wlodarczyk’s notes, above.
11) Silvio Branco (4-82)
Last Fight: 7/6/2013- W (TD10) vs. Juho Haapoja (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Branco continues to chug along at 47 years young.  He’s like a lower-level Hopkins.
12) Alexander Alekseev (4-143)
Last Fight: 2/22/2013- UD12* Garrett Wilson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. #2 Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Alekseev gets a shot at Hernandez on December 14, or possibly sometime in November.
13) Ilunga Makabu (1-13)
Last Fight: 8/31/2013- TKO5 Eric Fields (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Makabu is rumored for a Monaco 4-man tournament in the fall along with Flores and Australian Brad Pitt.
14) Mateusz Masternak (1-80)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- L (TKO11) vs. #16 Grigory Drozd
Next Fight: Unknown
Masternak is still a legitimate prospect despite his first loss, but can no longer lay claim to the status of “top prospect” after losing to Drozd.

15) Enad Licina (3-172)

Last Fight: 9/27/2013- TKO3 Levan Jomardashvili (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Licina needs a significant win before January, as his only relevant win in the last 5 years will become older than 5 years at that point, prompting his removal.
16) Danie Venter (1-4)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- KO1 Shawn Cox (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
I must admit I wrote Venter off when he lost a bit of an upset to Mchunu last year, but Mchunu has proven to be something of a world beater since, and Venter’s overall resume is quietly starting to look pretty solid.
17) Dmytro Kucher (1-67)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- L (MD12) vs. Ilunga Makabu (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Kucher would like a rematch with Makabu, and has his sights set on Wlodarczyk down the road, as well.  He expects to be back against someone in November or December.
18) Krzysztof Glowacki (1-11)
Last Fight: 4/20/2013- UD8 Taylor Mabika (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/19/2013- vs. Richard Hall (UNR)
Glowacki is back in October against 41 year-old washed-up former fringe contender Richard Hall in Poland.
19) Rakhim Chakhkiev (1-3)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- KO10 Giulian Ilie (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Chakhkiev is back on a winning track, becoming the first man to stop Romanian journeyman Giulian Ilie.
20) Steve Herelius (1-1)
Last Fight: 10/27/2013- L (KO2) vs. #19 Dmytro Kucher
Next Fight: Unknown
Herelius has not won a fight since 2010, and thus his inclusion in the rankings is a stark reminder of the weathering effect the division has experienced over the last year.


THE WEEK AHEAD: No action of note in the division this week.

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