Cruiserweight: 2014, Jun 2-8

Friday in Moscow, much-heralded one-loss prospect Rakhim Chakhkiev got a nice win over #11 Santander Silgado, who shot himself in the foot by taking the fight on short notice.  Chakhkiev is considered by many to be a future champion, and his stoppage loss to Wlodarczyk last year is treated by some as a huge victory, considering he was manhandling a top 5 fighter for the majority of the first fight he’d ever had anywhere near that level.  So how’d he look this week?  Decent.  He was fighting a near-top-10 fighter this time, though I am not sure how many people other than me have him ranked there, and won comfortably, though at no point did he look spectacular.  I had him winning 10 of the 12 rounds, as did one of the judges, with the other two giving Silgado an additional round (good judging, by the way, by Alejandro Rochin, Predrag Aleksic, and Esa Lehtosaari).  The question would be whether losing 2-3 rounds against a possibly overrated #11 contender who took the fight on short notice is a good enough result for an Olympic Gold Medalist tabbed to be the next big thing.  I leave that for you to decide subjectively.  Objectively speaking, it’s going to be great for his ranking.

 

#16 Dmytro Kucher was supposed to have a tune-up in Odessa, Ukraine on Saturday, but that fight did not come off for one reason or another.

 

 Undefeated Ukrainian prospect Oleksandr Usyk knocked out Argentine journeyman Cesar Crenz with a body shot in the 4th round after dropping him with a headshot in the 3rd on Saturday in a fight that actually did come off in Odessa.  Usyk spent much of the fight simply backing Crenz off and throwing the boxing equivalent of a baseball change-up, just showing him soft punches, but everytime he did crank up something hard, it seemed to drop Crenz, who you could almost make a case for as a top 50 fighter, though both Boxrec and I believe he is a little shy of that after several consecutive losses.  That being the case, Usyk still has yet to beat a top 50 fighter, though he’s taken out about 4 guys at the level just below that, all by knockout.  He may be the best fighter in the division not in my rankings.

 

Undefeated prospect Jordan Shimmell of Hudsonville, Michigan was in action Saturday in Davenport, Iowa on Saturday, where he pummelled Jonathan Corn, a 40 year-old Wisconsin journeyman who currently has zero rankings points on Boxrec despite having 78 career fights.  Corn was once better than that, having peaked as a mid-level journeyman at middleweight back in 1999.  He came in on a 14-fight winless streak dating back to 2006, which is pretty rough.  Corn looked extremely overmatched, despite Shimmell looking fairly crude in his attack, and his corner threw in the towel during the 8-count after the first knockdown, while Corn was on his feet.  That tells me they just came to cash a check.

 

Chakhkiev returns to the rankings for the first time since March 3, and makes his debut in the top 10 just behind Russian comrade Grigory Drozd, in what was an extremely close race to call.  Technically, #11 Silgado was a marginally better win than #13 Masternak, but I think the division was slightly better when Drozd beat Masternak.  Drozd also has 2 gatekeeper-level wins to Chakhkiev’s one, and hasn’t lost, while Chakhkiev has, albeit at a higher level than Drozd has fought.  Chakhkiev’s arrival forces Afolabi, Fragomeni, and Makabu down a spot each.  Silgado falls to #15, and everyone ranked below that falls a spot, as well, including Krzysztof Glowacki, who exits the top 20 after 5 consecutive weeks in.  Makabu falls from the top 10, also after 5 weeks.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: None
1) Marco Huck (3-391-391)
Last Fight:1/25/2014- TKO6 #5 Firat Arslan
Next Fight: Unknown
Huck’s TV deal in Germany is set to expire, he’s reportedly leaving Sauerland, and has met with HBO about coming to the US.
2) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (3-206-206)
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.
3) Denis Lebedev (3-226-226)
Last Fight: 5/17/2013- L (TKO11) vs. Guillermo Jones (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Given his legitimate injury that shelved him for a big chunk of the year and the fact that his opponent screwed him over via PED use, I’m going to use my discretion and leave Lebedev ranked at this point.  Still, his best work is simply getting too old to stay at the very top.  Some reports have him returning in the fall against Pawel Kolodziej.
4) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (38-467-467)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- TKO6 #9 Giacobbe Fragomeni
Next Fight: Unknown
Wlodarczyk probably won’t return until the fall, with Drozd and BJ Flores being considered.
5) Thabiso Mchunu (19-44-82)
Last Fight: 1/24/2014- UD10 Olanrewaju Durodola (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/6/2014- vs. Julio Cesar Dos Santos (UNR)
Mchunu will stay busy with upper-level journeyman Julio Cesar Santos of Brazil on June 6 in South Africa.
6) Firat Arslan (19-108-151)
Last Fight: 1/25/2014- L (TKO6) vs. #3 Marco Huck
Next Fight: 6/6/2014- vs. Tamaz Bajzath (UNR)
Arslan wasn’t scheduled to fight this weekend, but on short notice, he’ll replace an injured Ruslan Chagaev on the Schwerin undercard of Braehmer-Bolonti.  His opponent is a hopeless Hungarian.
7) Grigory Drozd (28-35-82)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- KO1 Jeremy Ouanna (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Wlodarczyk’s notes, above.
8) Rakhim Chakhkiev (1-1-1)
Last Fight: 5/30/2014- UD12 #11 Santander Silgado
Next Fight: Unknown
Chakhkiev has finally cashed in a high-level win to go with his hype and promise.  Most likely another title shot is not far off.
9) Ola Afolabi (1-273-273)
Last Fight: 11/2/2013- W* (MD12) vs. Lukasz Janik (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Afolabi is now slated for an eventual eliminator with Pawel Kolodziej for a shot at Yoan Pablo Hernandez.  K2 has won the purse bids, and the fight is currently in the process of being worked out.  It’s targeted for the summer.  At least that was the word in the spring.  There have been no reported developments in some time now.
10) Giacobbe Fragomeni (1-38-290)
Last Fight: 4/26/2014- vs. Olegs Lopajevs (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The fight with Lopajevs was purely a stay-busy contest, but he’s talking about another title shot even at 44 years old.
11) Ilunga Makabu (1-47)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- TKO2 Ruben Angel Mino (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/28/2014- vs. Glen Johnson (UNR)
Unconfirmed message board reports have Makabu fighting Glen Johnson in the Congo on June 28.  Stay-tuned for confirmation.
12) Mateusz Masternak (6-114)
Last Fight: 4/12/2014- UD8 Stjepan Vugdelija (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/21/2014- vs. Youri Kayembre Kalenga (UNR)
Masternak’s fight with Makabu fell through, and he’ll instead be fighting crude and inconsistent one-loss prospect Youri Kalenga.
13) Lukasz Janik (6-31)
Last Fight: 11/2/2013- L* (MD12) vs. #7 Ola Afolabi
Next Fight: Unknown
Janik would like a well-deserved rematch with Afolabi.
14) Ovill McKenzie (6-8)
Last Fight: 4/12/2014- KO5 #18 Tony Conquest
Next Fight: 6/7/2014- vs. Jon-Lewis Dickinson (UNR)
After capturing the Commonwealth title with an upset knockout of Tony Conquest, McKenzie will have a quick turnaround, as he’ll fight Jon-Lewis Dickinson for the British title on June 7.
15) Santander Silgado (1-31)
Last Fight: 5/30/2014- L (UD12) vs. Rakhim Chakhkiev (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
I don’t want to say Silgado made it easy for Chakhkiev, because it looked relatively difficult, but he sure didn’t help himself by taking a fight with a fringe contending Olympic Gold Medalist on 2 weeks’ notice.
16) Danie Venter (1-38)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- KO1 Shawn Cox (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The reason is unclear, but Venter’s scheduled fight in early June appears to be totally off, and his prospective opponent, Silgado, already fought someone else.
17) Dmytro Kucher (1-101)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- L (MD12) vs. Ilunga Makabu (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The inactive Kucher may now be in danger of losing his ranking in the next couple months, as his stay-busy fight in late May did not come off.
18) Nuri Seferi (1-24)
Last Fight: 5/16/2014- UD12 Tamas Lodi (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Seferi looked pretty decent against Lodi, who fought the wrong fight.  At this point, he ought to give Perdomo a rematch.
19) Gusmyr Perdomo (1-8)
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 (1-7)
Last Fight: 4/16/2014- KO4 Eric Fields (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: 
Saturday
#5 Thabiso Mchunu vs. Julio Cesar Dos Santos; Pretoria, South Africa; TV Unknown
Mchunu takes on Brazilian in Dos Santos who probably projects as a high-level journeyman.  Mchunu shouldn’t have any trouble with him.

 

#6 Firat Arslan vs. Tamas Bajzath; Schwerin, Germany; Off TV
Arslan popped up at the last minute in this short-notice tune-up.  Bajzath is a Hungarian journeyman with a sub-.500 record who has no chance to compete.

 

Mirko Larghetti vs. Attila Palko; Tolfa, Italy; Off TV
Larghetti is an undefeated Italian prospect who is nominally a member of the top 10, though he’s never beat anyone better than an upper-mid-level journeyman.  His opponent is a low-level Hungarian journeyman.  Slightly better than the one Arslan is fighting, perhaps, but no better than Larghetti’s most recent unproven opponent.  Palko has only ever won against bad or completely unproven opponents, and tends to get stopped when he fights guys at or around the top 50.

 

#14 Ovill McKenzie vs. Jon-Lewis Dickinson; Newcastle, England; BoxNation (UK)
This is the best fight of the week at 200 by a long shot.  McKenzie is a long-time fringe contender who actually prefers the light heavyweight division in which reportedly nobody is willing to fight him.  At cruiserweight, he comes off a minor upset over #18 Tony Conquest in April that netted him the Commonwealth title.  Dickinson holds the British title, and McKenzie has to be the favorite, since he not only just beat a guy likely better than Dickinson, but is also proven on an international level.  Dickinson does come off his best career performance in a TKO win over domestic gatekeeper Neil Dawson.  Other than that, his best win is a decision over unproven prospect Matty Askin in 2012, and he has 2 bad stoppage losses from 2010, though both of those were injury-related.
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