Cruiserweight: 2014, Mar 10-16

Former cruiserweight and heavyweight contender Juan Carlos Gomez returned to cruiser for the first time since 2001 on Saturday, and won a split decision in Hungary against mid-level Croatian journeyman Ivica Bacurin.  This is the type of fight that I’d like to watch for accuracy’s sake, but even though I’m pretty sure the fight was carried on Hungarian TV, there’s no video of it online anywhere that I can find.  It’ll have to stand with the official result, which is essentially null as it concerns the rankings.  Gomez is an active cruiserweight now, but all of his significant wins at that weight are over 12 years old, and thus don’t matter here at this point.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: None
1) Denis Lebedev (33-214-214)
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 (7-379-379)
Last Fight:1/25/2014- TKO6 #5 Firat Arslan
Next Fight: 3/29/2014- vs. Mirko Larghetti (UNR)
Huck’s hastily-procured March 29 opponent will be undefeated Italian prospect Mirko Larghetti.
3) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (7-194-194)
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 (26-455-455)
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 (7-32-70)
Last Fight: 1/24/2014- UD10 Olanrewaju Durodola (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Wlodarczyk’s notes, above.
6) Firat Arslan (7-96-139)
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 (16-23-70)
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 (16-261-261)
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 (16-26-278)
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 (16-16-104)
Last Fight: 7/6/2013- W (TD10) vs. Juho Haapoja (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Branco says that Chakhkiev lowered their monetary offer at the last minute, and that is why the fight didn’t come off.  He’s saying now that he may soon announce his retirement if he doesn’t get a good fight offer soon.
11) Ilunga Makabu (16-35)
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 (14-19)
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 (14-102)
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 (14-19)
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 (12-12)
Last Fight: 12/20/2013- W (DQ7*) vs. Steve Herelius (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/11/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Seferi will now apparently fight on April 11 in Berlin.  If I understood the Albanian translation correctly, he’s hoping for Marco Huck.  It was not clear to me how he expects to get around Huck’s fight just two weeks earlier.
16) Danie Venter (7-26)
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 (7-89)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- L (MD12) vs. Ilunga Makabu (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
18) Tony Conquest (3-3)
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 (3-33)
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 (2-2)
Last Fight: 2/28/2014- KO1 Hamilton Ventura (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Dorticos- after making one step up recently- is shooting for the stars.  He says he wants either Wlodarczyk or the winner of Jones-Lebedev next.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: 
Saturday
#7 Grigory Drozd vs. Jeremy Ouanna; Moscow, Russia; TV Unknown
Ouanna is a high-level French journeyman.  He would be a threat to a lot of gatekeeper-types and unproven prospects, but probably not to as impressive a contender as Drozd.

 

Rakhim Chakhkiev vs. Juho Haapoja; Moscow, Russia; TV Unknown
Chakhkiev is probably the most impressive unranked fighter in the division.  Largely due to his failure to secure a win in a fight he was looking great in against Wlodarczyk, his actual achievements do not yet match his talents.  Haapoja is a high-level journeyman from Finland, who spent some time as a gatekeeper before some recent losses laid him low.  I see him as having no chance.

 

#7 LHW Tony Bellew vs. Valery Brudov; Liverpool, England; Sky (UK)
Liverpool’s own Bellew is moving up to cruiser after making a name for himself at 175.  Brudov is a pretty well-chosen opponent for a first opponent on that quest.  The Russian is a gatekeeper, but a rather small cruiserweight who could probably make 175 himself, if need be.  That is to say, he may or may not actually be a bigger man than Bellew.
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