Heavyweight: 2014, Oct 13-19

Unbeaten English Olympian Anthony Joshua continued to impress on Saturday, systematically breaking down Russian gatekeeper Denis Bakhtov- who was coming off a win over Joshua’s prior victim Konstantin Airich- all inside two rounds.  Bakhtov is a reliable trial horse who occasionally upsets a prospect, or at least deserves to before the judges get ahold of him.  He’s been stopped before, but never inside of 5 rounds (aside from one injury-related stoppage).  This was the quickest and most thorough dismantling he’d ever suffered, even having fought contenders as solid as Vyacheslav Glazkov, whom he took the distance.  Even aside from comparisons, Joshua looked excellent.  He’s a big, strong, powerful, and athletic heavyweight.  He doesn’t have obvious flaws, and looks like the kind of complete fighter that flourished in the early 90s.  Look out.

 

On the not-so-impressive side of the top 50 coin, massive Argentine champion Matias Vidondo, who won the title on his knees when Fabio Moli hit him while he was on the canvas for a third time in that specific round, took care of 44 year old journeyman Marcelo Dominguez to retain his national championship.  Really all he proved is that a 38 year old 6’7″ fat guy beats a 44 year old 5’9″ fat guy.  The fight was stopped suddenly on a really bad cut while Dominguez was backed up into the corner.  In the Moli fight, Vidondo had completely gassed out by the 5th round, but luckily for him Dominguez wasn’t able to take him even that deep.

 

Bakhtov is the first even borderline top 50 fighter that Joshua has taken on, but it’s enough to get him more or less in the top 30 by my reckoning, and based on the groundwork he’d previously laid with quality journeymen, he’s a very strong #30 despite the limited resume.  He’s already the most proven British contender after Fury and Chisora, and probably has the potential to eclipse both, which is realy saying a lot.  Still, no changes this week.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (277-490-490)
Last Fight: 4/26/2014- TKO5 #16 Alex Leapai
Next Fight: 11/15/2014- vs. #5 Kubrat Pulev
The Pulev defense has now been rescheduled for November 15.
1) Tyson Fury (35-35-35)
Last Fight: 2/15/2014- TKO4 Joey Abell (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/29/2014- vs. #6 Dereck Chisora
Fury-Chisora II has been moved back a week, to November 29.
2) Alexander Povetkin (20-364-364)
Last Fight: 5/30/2014- TKO7 Manuel Charr (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/24/2014- vs. #7 Carlos Takam
Povetkin will attempt to halt the meteoric rise of rugged slugger Carlos Takam when the two meet in Russia on October 24.
3) Vyacheslav Glazkov (20-31-95)
Last Fight: 8/9/2014- W(MD10) vs. Derric Rossy (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Glazkov didn’t exactly earn any style points for his lazy showing against big underdog Rossy, but a win’s a win, I suppose…
4) Amir Mansour (28-28-28)
Last Fight: 4/4/2014- Robbery L (UD10) vs. #4 Steve Cunningham
Next Fight: 11/8/2014 – vs. Fred Kassi (UNR)
Mansour gets a stay-busy type fight against the unknown Fred Kassi, who despite a relatively attractive 18-2 record, has lost to the likes of Lionel Butler and Kendrick Releford, and has only fought 3 times since April 2010.
5) Kubrat Pulev (35-128-205)
Last Fight: 4/5/2014- RTD3 Ivica Perkovic (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/15/2014- vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
See Klitschko’s notes, above.
6) Dereck Chisora (35-150-213)
Last Fight: 2/15/2014- UD12 Kevin Johnson (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/29/2014- vs. #1 Tyson Fury
See Fury’s notes, above.
7) Carlos Takam (19-19-39)
Last Fight: 6/6/2014- UD12 #9 Tony Thompson
Next Fight: 10/24/2014- vs. #2 Alexander Povetkin
Takam looks to go from contender to international superstar when he looks to topple Povetkin in Russia in late October.
8) Bermane Stiverne (19-23-85)
Last Fight: 5/10/2014- TKO6 #13 Chris Arreola
Next Fight: Unknown
Another postponement of the purse bid for the Wilder fight, as Don King and Oscar De La Hoya are apparently desperately trying to reach a deal to keep Jay-Z from getting a shot at buying the rights to the promotion.
9) Steve Cunningham (19-95-95)
Last Fight: 4/4/2014- Robbery W (UD10) vs. Amir Mansour (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/18/2014 – vs. Natu Visinia (UNR)
Cunningham gets what, at least on paper, looks like a stay-busy fight in October against Natu Visinia. Visinia is unbeaten at 10-0, but has fought nobody.  He’s a big boy, though.  The Samoan typically tips the scales in the 260s or 270s.
10) Tony Thompson (19-30-229)
Last Fight: 6/6/2014- L (UD12) vs. #12 Carlos Takam
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. #12 Odlanier Solis
The Thompson-Solis rematch has been postponed due to a Solis ankle injury.  No word yet on the new date.
11) Tomasz Adamek (19-234)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- L (UD12) vs. #18 Vyacheslav Glazkov
Next Fight: 11/8/2014- vs. Artur Szpilka (UNR)
Originally penciled in for October 18 in Lodz, it now appears that Adamek-Szpilka is destined for November 8 in Krakow.
12) Odlanier Solis (19-229)
Last Fight: 3/22/2014- L* (SD12) vs. #13 Tony Thompson
Next Fight: 10/18/2014- vs. #10 Tony Thompson
See Thompson’s notes, above.
13) Deontay Wilder (23-77)
Last Fight: 8/16/2014- W(RTD4) vs. Jason Gavern (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Stiverne’s notes, above.
14) Chris Arreola (23-58)
Last Fight: 5/10/2014- L (TKO6) vs. #12 Bermane Stiverne
Next Fight: Unknown
Arreola had elbow surgery, and was said to be expected back in October.  No news about an upcoming fight, though.
15) Erkan Teper (28-59)
Last Fight: 6/13/2014- RTD6 Newfel Ouatah (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Teper’s effort in his last fight- and perhaps especially in the gym leading up to it- was awful, and he got lucky when his opponent turned out to be almost as out of shape as him, in addition to being an apparent quitter.
16) Alex Leapai (28-47)
Last Fight: 4/26/2014- L (KO5) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: 10/24/2014- vs. #20 Malik Scott
After intended fights with Shannon Briggs and Sam Peter fell through, Leapai will have an interesting matchup with Malik Scott.
17) Andy Ruiz (28-47)
Last Fight: 5/17/2014- TKO2 Manuel Quezada (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Ruiz’s fight with Sergei Liakhovich was cancelled about a week in advance of the September 20 date when Ruiz withdrew for “family reasons.”
18) Bryant Jennings (6-12)
Last Fight: 7/26/2014- W* (SD12) vs. Mike Perez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Reasonable minds can disagree on the correct result of Jennings-Perez.  What’s clear, though, is that Jennings is not nearly ready for Klitschko, a fight some of his supporters have been proposing for a while now.  He himself appears to want the Wilder-Stiverne winner, which might be more within his competency.
19) Mike Perez (6-12)
Last Fight: 7/26/2014- L* (SD12) vs. Bryant Jennings (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/?/2014 – vs. Unknown Opponent
Perez, who calls Cork, Ireland home, will return to his home base in November when he headlines a card there.  Details TBD.
20) Malik Scott (6-6)

Last Fight: 3/15/2014- L (KO1) vs. #13 Deontay Wilder
Next Fight: 10/24/2014 – vs. #16 Alex Leapai
See Leapai’s notes, above.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD:
Thursday
Joseph Parker vs. Sherman Williams; Auckland, New Zealand; TV Unknown
After seeing one big athletic prospect coming into his own last week, we get to see New Zealand’s answer this Thursday.  Parker takes on the limited but generally capable Sherman Williams, who gave a somewhat compromised version of Robert Helenius a fair amount of trouble a while back.  Parker is bigger but somewhat slower than Anthony Joshua, but both are members of a new breed of more dynamic heavyweights that may well go on to dominate- or even usher in- the post-Klitschko era at some point.

 

Friday
Mariusz Wach vs. Samir Kurtagic; Dzierzoniow, Poland; TV Unknown
If Joseph Parker is a member of a new breed of dynamic heavyweights, then Wach is a member of the aging breed of mountainous and ponderous giants that has in some ways typified the current era.  He is predictably slow, but iron chinned.  His only loss was a decision to the Champion nearly two years ago, and he hasn’t been in the ring since.  That is in large part due to a positive steroid test following that fight.  Kurtagic began his career 7-0, but has since proven himself very mediocre when matched with reasonably decent opposition.  He is a 6’7″ beast in his own right, and sturdy, if nothing else.  He’s never been stopped in his 6 losses, including fights with the likes of Edmund Gerber, Francesco Pianeta, Alexander Dimitrenko, and Denis Boytsov.  He’s always good for getting work in, which might be what Wach needs most of all right now.

 

Saturday
#9 Steve Cunningham vs. Natu Visinia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; NBC Sports (US)
A good big man beats a good small man.  The problem for Visinia is that it’s not at all clear that he’s good.  He comes in at 10-0, but his best opponent has literally less than 1% of the boxrec ratings points as does Cunningham.  For all intents and purposes, he might as well be making his pro debut against a top 10 contender.  You would think that a guy that usually scales around 270 lbs. would have some sort of power, though, so even with the huge experience and skill gap, I’m not sure you can fully take it for granted.  Still, on paper it’s a blatant mismatch.
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