Cruiserweight: 2014, Apr 21-27

Undefeated prospect Yunier Dorticos continued to rip through the gatekeeper level of the division on Wednesday, knocking out Eric Fields at the end of the 4th round in Santa Monica.  It wasn’t all fun and games, though, as Fields dropped Dorticos in the first round along the way.  The card wasn’t televised, so I can’t add a lot of color to that result.  What I can tell you is that Dorticos- whose name, if I’m being honest, leaves me craving Spicy Nacho every time I type it- returns to the rankings with the win after a brief spell of one week on the outside.  He leapfrogs Glowacki- who exits after 38 consecutive weeks- and takes over at #20.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: None
1) Denis Lebedev (39-220-220)
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 (13-385-385)
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 (13-200-200)
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 (32-461-461)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- TKO6 #9 Giacobbe Fragomeni
Next Fight: Unknown
Wlodarczyk probably won’t return until the fall, with Drozd emerging as the most likely option.
5) Thabiso Mchunu (13-38-76)
Last Fight: 1/24/2014- UD10 Olanrewaju Durodola (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
6) Firat Arslan (13-102-145)
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 (22-29-76)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- KO1 Jeremy Ouanna (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Wlodarczyk’s notes, above.
8) Ola Afolabi (22-267-267)
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 (22-32-284)
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 (22-22-110)
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 (22-41)
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 (20-25)
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 (20-108)
Last Fight: 4/12/2014- UD8 Stjepan Vugdelija (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. #11 Ilunga Makabu
See Makabu’s notes, above.
14) Lukasz Janik (20-25)
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 (2-2)
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 (13-32)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- KO1 Shawn Cox (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
17) Dmytro Kucher (13-95)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- L (MD12) vs. Ilunga Makabu (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
18) Nuri Seferi (2-18)
Last Fight: 4/11/2014- Robbery Win (should be draw) vs. Gusmyr Perdomo (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/16/2014- vs. Tamas Lodi (UNR)
A quick turnaround for Seferi, and unfortunately no immediate rematch for Perdomo, as Seferi will take on mid-level Hungarian journeyman Tamas Lodi in Hamburg on May 16.
19) Gusmyr Perdomo (2-2)
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) Yunier Dorticos (1-1)
Last Fight: 4/16/2014- KO4 Eric Fields (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
 

THE WEEK AHEAD: 
Friday
#1 Denis Lebedev vs. Guillermo Jones; Moscow, Russia; TV Unknown
Lebedev may have to overcome some demons to win this one.  Despite his #1 ranking, he was stopped in the ring in the pair’s prior meeting last year.  Lebedev was legitimately leading in the fight, but was worn down and stopped late in a brutal war of attrition, after his eye ballooned to grotesque proportions.  Why is he ranked #1 while Jones is unranked then?  Well, Jones tested positive (and not for the first time in his career, mind you) for a particular banned diuretic and potential steroid masking agent, which prompted me to ignore the result.  After all, even if I didn’t care to judge the behavior in a punitive sense, there’s simply too much doubt as to the legitimacy of the outcome.  If Jones had been clean, it’s very likely that he would not have been so strong later in the fight as Lebedev wilted a bit.  But Lebedev isn’t the only guy dealing with adversity heading into the fight.  Jones will presumably have to go drug-free this time, and will have to try and reproduce a performance from a fight he didn’t win by much without that presumed advantage, and all while carrying essentially 42 years of age along with him.  Lebedev would have to be the favorite this time around, as he was the first time.

 

Saturday
#9 Giacobbe Fragomeni vs. TBA; Rho, Italy; TV Unknown
Fragomeni should probably retire, to be honest.  He’s 44 years old, and is no Bernard Hopkins.  It’s remarkable that he’s in the top 10 at this point, though in fairness he’s still relying to a large extent on fights that are almost 4 years old.  In recent outings, he’s struggled to controversial outcomes in toss-up fights with the even older Silvio Branco, and was beaten up in a trilogy bout with Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, and I think those fights give a more accurate picture of where he’s headed.  Still, his resume is good enough to hang on to a ranking in a thin division.  But he doesn’t have to retire just because I think he should, and if all he’s looking to do is cash paychecks in 6 rounders, there’s really no reason he can’t do that almost indefinitely.

 

Oleksandr Usyk vs. Ben Nsafoah; Oberhausen, Germany; Eurosport
Usyk is the 2012 Olympic Heavyweight Gold Medalist from Ukraine, and his career trajectory is steeper than most, in keeping with his more proven ability.  This is just his 3rd career fight, and he took on solid journeymen in his first two- perhaps even names you’d recognize if you follow the division closely- in Felipe Romero and Epifanio Mendoza, both of whom he stopped in the second half of scheduled 6-rounders.  He’s now a bona fide top 50 fighter in the pro ranks.  Unfortunately for those who were hoping to see him step up even more this time around, his Ghanaian opponent is nothing to write home about, and frankly shouldn’t amount to more than a stay-busy fight for Usyk.  But he could use the work.  After his first two fights were contested in just a 5-week span, he has had more than 4 months off.  Not bad for a top 50 fighter generally, but not good for a prospect this early in his career.
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