Cruiserweight: 2014, Mar 17-23

Russia’s 2 best cruiserweights were on the same card in Moscow on Saturday.  In the main event, #7 Grigory Drozd destroyed a decent, willing, but ultimately outgunned French journeyman in Jeremy Ouanna.  Ouanna came out showing some impressive quickness and boxing skill, but late in the very first round, Drozd found a jab, looping right combination that caught Ouanna flush, but without much behind it.  Just seconds later, Drozd threw the same combination from maybe 6 inches further out, and the right hand dropped Ouanna for the count this time.

 

On the undercard, narrowly unranked Rakhim Chakhkiev was much too sharp for the willing, durable, yet limited Finnish journeyman Juho Haapoja.  Chakhkiev both outclassed and out-punched Haapoja.  I’d seen the Finn before, but was struck this time in particular by how chubby he looked.  I’d say he’s a blown up super middleweight, at most.  Chakhkiev knocked Haapoja down in the 2nd with a combination, and stopped him on his feet in the 9th.

 

Later that night in Liverpool, #7 Light Heavyweight Tony Bellew made his cruiserweight debut with an entertaining win over Russian gatekeeper Valery Brudov, who certainly didn’t come to lay down.  Bellew scored knockdowns in the 2nd, 6th, and 12th rounds- all fairly devastating shots- but had his struggles, as well.  Brudov badly hurt Bellew in the 7th, and it looked for all the world like he was going to have trouble escaping the round.  He appeared almost totally out on his feet with over a minute left in the round.  Unfortunately for Brudov, one of his punches strayed significantly low while he had Bellew on the ropes.  Referee Phil Edwards did a good job by not giving Bellew the full 5 minutes, but still allowing him a fair amount of time to recover from that particular punch.  It was enough to see Bellew through to the bell, and though Brudov was fighting on mostly even terms for the remainder of the fight, he never again got Bellew in trouble.  Bellew’s recovery culminated in the 12th round knockdown mentioned above, when Bellew’s wide left hand got there just a fraction of a second before Brudov’s in a wide-open exchange.  Brudov hit the canvas for his third time, was unable to get any higher than his hands and knees in his attempt to rise, resulting in a hard-earned knockout win for the local contender.

 

Bellew’s win gets him into the conversation, but just shy of the top 20.  No changes.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: None
1) Denis Lebedev (34-215-215)
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 (8-380-380)
Last Fight:1/25/2014- TKO6 #5 Firat Arslan
Next Fight: Unknown
Huck fractured his thumb in training, and his fight with Mirko Larghetti is off.
3) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (8-195-195)
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 (27-456-456)
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 (8-33-71)
Last Fight: 1/24/2014- UD10 Olanrewaju Durodola (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Wlodarczyk’s notes, above.
6) Firat Arslan (8-97-140)
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 (17-24-71)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- KO1 Jeremy Ouanna (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Drozd made quick work of Ouanna, and will hopefully get a short at a top contender soon.
8) Ola Afolabi (17-262-262)
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 (17-27-279)
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 (17-17-105)
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 (17-36)
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 (15-20)
Last Fight: 11/1/2013- TKO2 #20 Steve Herelius
Next Fight: Unknown
Silgado was slammed by his own (now former) manager after he declined an arranged fight with Thabiso Mchunu.
13) Mateusz Masternak (15-103)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- KO4 Sandro Siproshvili (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/12/2014- vs. Sandro Siproshvili (UNR)
Masternak will be back on April 12 at Esbjerg, Denmark.
14) Lukasz Janik (15-20)
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 (13-13)
Last Fight: 12/20/2013- W (DQ7*) vs. Steve Herelius (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/11/2014- vs. Gusmyr Perdomo (UNR)
Seferi will now fight on April 11 in Berlin against former super middleweight and light heavyweight fringe contender Gusmyr Perdomo of Venezuela.
16) Danie Venter (8-27)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- KO1 Shawn Cox (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
17) Dmytro Kucher (8-90)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- L (MD12) vs. Ilunga Makabu (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
18) Tony Conquest (4-4)
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 (4-34)
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 (3-3)
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:
Friday
Victor Ramirez vs. Glendy Hernandez; Benavidez, Argentina; TyC Sports
Ramirez’s last significant win will be 5 years old in May, and although he’s taking on an interesting challenge in 1-loss Cuban prospect Hernandez (whose only loss was in his last fight against a 242-pound undefeated opponent), Hernandez is insufficiently proven to change that this weekend.  Still, this is a fight worth seeing, and could tell us a lot about the overall quality of the Cuban, or about what Ramirez might have left.
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