Cruiserweight: 2014, Mar 3-9

Undefeated Cuban Yunier Dorticos had perhaps an easier-than-expected evening’s work on his hands with unbeaten Brazilian Hamilton Ventura on Friday in San Diego.  Dorticos dismantled the overmatched Ventura, flooring him thrice en route to a first round knockout.  It is Dorticos’ best win, and his first over a top-50 opponent.

 

Meanwhile, in San Luis, Argentina, Alejandro Valori was vindicated to cap off a trilogy that to this point hadn’t really gone his way against the less-experienced and naturally smaller Marcos Ahumada.  It was a very close fight- I had Valori up 67-66 when the end came.  That ending, as it happened, was rather bizarre.  In the 5th, Valori was docked a point- completely inappropriately- for accidental head clashes.  After that happened, Ahumada (who appeared to be tiring) began acting and trying to claim a headbutt virtually every time Valori got close to him.  Even the ref who had unjustly taken the point in the first place quickly caught on to Ahumada’s blunt attempts at deception, and so he was prepared when, in the middle of the 7th round, Ahumada went down claiming a low blow, and refused to continue, despite the referee’s commands.  I don’t speak Spanish, but my best understanding is that the referee consulted the tape and discovered that there was no low blow, whereupon he disqualified Ahumada.  I think it’s fair to say that Ahumada disgraced himself by his actions.

 

In a division where not a lot of guys have unequivocally positive records, the Ventura demolition is enough to prompt Dorticos’ debut at #20.  Valori is not quite so fortunate.  True, he beat a guy I had unofficially ranked #23 last week, but that positioning was entirely based on his having defeated Valori, himself.  Prior to that, Ahumada had done nothing, and he’s done nothing but give the win back since.  Neverthless, the previously down-and-out Valori does get a measure of vindication from avenging the loss, though it can’t quite put him back where he was before- which is a borderline ranked contender.  He’s right around #30 now in my book among qualified fighters, while Ahumada slips into the early 30s, himself.  Last week’s #20 Rakhim Chakhkiev is forced out with Dorticos’ emergence.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: None
1) Denis Lebedev (32-213-213)
Last Fight: 5/17/2013- L (TKO11) vs. Guillermo Jones (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/19/2014- vs. Guillermo Jones (UNR)
Lebedev-Jones II appears to be more or less a done deal for April 19 in Moscow.
2) Marco Huck (6-378-378)
Last Fight:1/25/2014- TKO6 #5 Firat Arslan
Next Fight: 3/29/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Huck is stepping in to headline a March 29 card in Berlin, after Yoan Pablo Hernandez was forced to withdraw from the card due to illness.  No opponent yet.
3) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (6-193-193)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- TKO10 #12 Alexander Alekseev
Next Fight: Unknown
Hernandez’s fight with Kolodziej- originally postponed- has now been cancelled due to an illness to Hernandez.
4) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (25-454-454)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- TKO6 #9 Giacobbe Fragomeni
Next Fight: Unknown
Wlodarczyk had a relatively easy time in his third fight with Fragomeni, and is interested in Huck, Hernandez, Afolabi, Drozd, and Chakhkiev for his next fight.  More recently, he’s being openly pursued by Mchunu.
5) Thabiso Mchunu (6-31-69)
Last Fight: 1/24/2014- UD10 Olanrewaju Durodola (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Wlodarczyk’s notes, above.
6) Firat Arslan (6-95-138)
Last Fight: 1/25/2014- L (TKO6) vs. #3 Marco Huck
Next Fight: Unknown
Having visibly regressed since his excellent first effort against Huck, it might be time for the 43 year-old Arslan to consider retirement.
7) Grigory Drozd (15-22-69)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- TKO11 #13 Mateusz Masternak
Next Fight: 3/15/2014- vs. Jeremy Ouanna (UNR)
Drozd will defend his European title in March against solid French journeyman Jeremy Ouanna, though Wlodarczyk’s team seems to think they might get Drozd in their next fight.
8) Ola Afolabi (15-260-260)
Last Fight: 11/2/2013- W* (MD12) vs. Lukasz Janik (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
An alphabet eliminator has been ordered between Afolabi and unbeaten but unproven Italian prospect Mirko Larghetti.
9) Giacobbe Fragomeni (15-25-277)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- L (TKO6) vs. #4 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
Next Fight: Unknown
I really hope that Fragomeni will call it a career.  
10) Silvio Branco (15-15-103)
Last Fight: 7/6/2013- W (TD10) vs. Juho Haapoja (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
According to Rakhim Chakhkiev’s team, Branco never responded to their offer for a March 15 fight, and Chakhkiev may instead fight Seferi.
11) Ilunga Makabu (15-34)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- TKO2 Ruben Angel Mino (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Makabu will no doubt look for a big fight after his last one was changed into a stay-busy outing without his consent.
12) Santander Silgado (13-18)
Last Fight: 11/1/2013- TKO2 #20 Steve Herelius
Next Fight: Unknown
Silgado is being slammed by his own manager after he declined an arranged fight with Thabiso Mchunu.
13) Mateusz Masternak (13-101)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- KO4 Sandro Siproshvili (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/12/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Masternak will be back on April 12 at Esbjerg, Denmark. 
14) Lukasz Janik (13-18)
Last Fight: 11/2/2013- L* (MD12) vs. #7 Ola Afolabi
Next Fight: Unknown
Janik would like a well-deserved rematch with Afolabi.
15) Nuri Seferi (11-11)
Last Fight: 12/20/2013- W (DQ7*) vs. Steve Herelius (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Seferi originally expected to fight April 11,  then was in and then out of a May fight with Chakhkiev.  With the latter news, it’s unclear what his current status is.
16) Danie Venter (6-25)
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 (6-88)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- L (MD12) vs. Ilunga Makabu (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
18) Tony Conquest (2-2)
Last Fight: 2/22/2014- UD12 Daniel Ammann (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Conquest is set to fight in London on April 12, and is hoping to fight for the British title in the foreseeable future.
19) Krzysztof Glowacki (2-32)
Last Fight: 12/14/2013- TKO9 Varol Vekiloglu (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Glowacki is the top contender for the title held by Huck, but might never get that exact shot, since Huck is making noise about moving up.
20) Yunier Dorticos (1-1)
Last Fight: 2/28/2014- KO1 Hamilton Ventura (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Dorticos- long considered a promising prospect- has now arrived.
 
 

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: 
Saturday
Juan Carlos Gomez vs. Ivica Bacurin; Kecskemet, Hungary; Sport 1 (Hungary)
German-based Cuban Gomez is 40 years old.  He last fought a top 50 opponent very nearly 5 years ago when he was stopped by Vitali Klitsckho.  He last fought at cruiserweight in November 2001.  Bacurin is a mid-level Croatian journeyman.  This might give us a little glimpse at whether or not Gomez has anything left or not, but there’s not a ton of drama aside from that.
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