Cruiserweight: 2014, Apr 14-20

The cruiserweight week began on Wednesday with a big upset.  Unbeaten Australian Brad Pitt appeared to be cruising to a dominant victory through the first 3 rounds of his scheduled 12-rounder with heretofore middling prospect David Aloua of New Zealand, when in the 4th round Aloua shocked him with a sudden bolt of lightning in the form of a right hand that dropped and badly hurt Pitt.  He got up, but the referee should definitely have stopped the fight after seeing Pitt pitching around unsteadily.  He allowed it to continue, which only opened the Australian up to a blistering combination that left him once again senseless on the canvas.  Aloua had been easily brushed aside by Daniel Ammann in 2013 and had been clearly beaten by Anthony McCracken before that, in a fight in which he nevertheless got the decision.  I was fully unprepared for him to be even competitive with Pitt, much less win.  I’d only seen one very short Pitt fight before, so perhaps I can’t draw too much of a comparison, but I sort of wonder if he was really taking the fight seriously.  He had sort of a casual way about his movements, and nevertheless was easily dominating the fight until he just plain got caught.

 

In the best fight on the Berlin Hammer-Airich card on Friday, #15 Nuri Seferi got a gift from the judges against former Super Middleweight title challenger Gusmyr Perdomo of Venezuela.  It’s not that Seferi lost the fight- I had it a draw at 76-76- but he certainly didn’t win it.  The only round, as I saw it, that was really tough to score was the 8th, which I already gave to Seferi.  Hans Larsen had it exactly as I did, while the other two- Torben Seemen Hansen and Freddy Rafn, must have managed to have found a fairly clear Perdomo round to call even, because they had it 77-76.  It must have been the 7th, I suppose.  That’s the only round I gave to Perdomo that wasn’t sort of a blowout.  The Venezuelan clearly won rounds 1, 3, 4, and 7.  Seferi clearly took 2, 5, and 6, and I gave him the narrow nod in 8.  I’ll be treating the fight as a draw, since that’s both what I had, and also the closest I can come to deferring to the judges, the majority of whose cards were unreasonable, if narrowly so.

 

Enad Licina’s scheduled fight on the Charr-Johnson undercard Saturday in Bonn was apparently cancelled, so moving right along…

 

#13 Mateusz Masternak got a unanimous shutout in his 8-rounder with generic eastern European journeyman Stjepan Vugdelija, whose only real qualification for the fight was that he had gone the distance in losing decisions (his only two losses) to a couple halfway decent fighters.  The fight didn’t make the English-language BoxNation broadcast, and I frankly didn’t feel like seeking out the Polish-language video considering the degree of the initial mismatch, coupled with the frankly uninteresting scorecards.  Masternak had to be hoping for a stoppage against this level of guy.  I’m not saying that’s an easy task, but it’s the only feather he could remotely claim to have put in his cap from a stay-busy affair like this.

 

#18 Tony Conquest suffered his own upset that night in London, with veteran light heavyweight Ovill McKenzie (whose appropriate nickname is “The Upsetter”) the beneficiary.  McKenzie dropped Conquest in the closing seconds of the third round in what had otherwise been a fairly uneventful fight with a perfect counter shot right on the chin.  McKenzie probably took another fairly uneventful round in the 4th before catching Conquest again with a jab followed by a right hand to the back of the head as Conquest leaned forward and to the side.  It didn’t look like anything special, really, but Conquest appeared totally unable to even begin to emerge from the crouch that the punch placed him in.  Technically it was an illegal shot, but there wasn’t a ton of controversy due to the fact that it was Conquest’s choice of body position that made it so.

 

Now for the rundown of the rankings changes.  Pitt probably wouldn’t have been ranked even with a win.  Now he’s even further from it, though at least he’s on the active list now.  Aloua tops out just shy of the top 25, weighed down by his performances against Ammann and McCracken.  McKenzie returns to the rankings, at #15, for the first time since a Steve Herelius victory forced him out on July 5, 2010.  Seferi’s inconclusive performance prompts his slide from #15 to #18 this week.  Perdomo debuts at #19 for the same reason.  Last week’s #19 Glowacki is forced down to #20, while Yunier Dorticos is forced out after 6 weeks in the rankings.  Conquest drops out after 7 weeks due to his knockout loss, though I’ve still got him unofficially in the top 25.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: None
1) Denis Lebedev (38-219-219)
Last Fight: 5/17/2013- L (TKO11) vs. Guillermo Jones (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/25/2014- vs. Guillermo Jones (UNR)
Reports of a done deal for April 19 were premature…the real date for Lebedev-Jones II will be April 25, in Moscow.
2) Marco Huck (12-384-384)
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 (12-199-199)
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 (31-460-460)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- TKO6 #9 Giacobbe Fragomeni
Next Fight: Unknown
Wlodarczyk probably won’t return until the fall, with Huck and Adamek being discussed as options.
5) Thabiso Mchunu (12-37-75)
Last Fight: 1/24/2014- UD10 Olanrewaju Durodola (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
6) Firat Arslan (12-101-144)
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 (21-28-75)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- KO1 Jeremy Ouanna (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The EBU has named Fragomeni the mandatory challenger for Drozd’s European belt.
8) Ola Afolabi (21-266-266)
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 (21-31-283)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- L (TKO6) vs. #4 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
Next Fight: 4/26/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
I was sorta rooting for the shopworn Fragomeni to retire after taking a beating from Wlodarczyk, but he’s preparing for a tune-up on April 26 in Italy.  After that, he appears to be set up for the opportunity of fighting the destructive Grigory Drozd next.
10) Silvio Branco (21-21-109)
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 (21-40)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- TKO2 Ruben Angel Mino (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. #13 Mateusz Masternak
Makabu and Masternak have reportedly agreed to fight, but I don’t have any details on time or place.
12) Santander Silgado (19-24)
Last Fight: 11/1/2013- TKO2 #20 Steve Herelius
Next Fight: 5/17/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Silgado is scheduled to return against an unannounced opponent on May 17 in Arjona, Colombia.
13) Mateusz Masternak (19-107)
Last Fight: 4/12/2014- UD8 Stjepan Vugdelija (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Makabu’s notes, above.
14) Lukasz Janik (19-24)
Last Fight: 11/2/2013- L* (MD12) vs. #7 Ola Afolabi
Next Fight: Unknown
Janik would like a well-deserved rematch with Afolabi.
15) Ovill McKenzie (1-1)
Last Fight: 4/12/2014- KO5 #18 Tony Conquest
Next Fight: Unknown
McKenzie is at cruiserweight mainly because he can’t get fights at 175.  He doesn’t seem married to the idea of staying at this weight, and has mentioned wanting a shot at Juergen Braehmer.
16) Danie Venter (12-31)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- KO1 Shawn Cox (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
17) Dmytro Kucher (12-94)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- L (MD12) vs. Ilunga Makabu (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
18) Nuri Seferi (1-17)
Last Fight: 4/11/2014- Robbery Win (should be draw) vs. Gusmyr Perdomo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Before his most recent fight, Seferi expressed a desire for a rematch with Marco Huck.  After getting a 1-point majority decision in a fight that definitely was either a draw or a close loss for him, a rematch with Perdomo would be much more appropriate.
19) Gusmyr Perdomo (1-1)
Last Fight: 4/11/2014- Robbery Loss (should be draw) vs. #15 Nuri Seferi
Next Fight: Unknown
Perdomo deserved at least a draw against Seferi, but the judges summoned just enough coincidental incompetence to take it from him.
20) Krzysztof Glowacki (1-38)
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.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: 
Wednesday
Yunier Dorticos vs. Eric Fields; Santa Monica, California; Off TV
This is one hell of a match-up.  Fields has been ranked here before, although it’s been awhile.  He’s in a bit of a slump of late, though, while the Cuban, Dorticos, is on the rise, having been ranked here as recently as last week.  This fight really would be a natural for an ESPN card, but it seems that the promoter is a bit new to the sport and probably doesn’t yet have those connections.  Even so, they are putting on one heck of a card- one that I hope I get an opportunity to see at some point.
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