Heavyweight: 2014, Nov 24-30

44 year old Gatekeeper Kali Meehan continued his late-career resurgence on Saturday in Auckland by outpointing the once decent but, at 37, apparently completely finished Shane Cameron.  Scores were 97-93, 98-92, and 99-91.  I couldn’t find a video, and thus have no comment on the scoring.

 

 In perhaps his toughest test to date (at least on paper), blue chip British prospect Anthony Joshua showed why the hype is justified, obliterating Michael Sprott in less than a round.  Sprott has traditionally tested all but the absolute elite, and won Prizefighter in 2014 against a middling field before failing in the finals of the New Zealand version of the tournament.  That loss, a first-round knockout to Meehan, may have put the writing on the wall for this one, since even if he doesn’t fulfill the prophecies about him, Anthony Joshua is clearly a lot better than Meehan ever was.  Granted, the Prizefighter/Super 8 format can yield an unlevel playing field and Sprott wasn’t as fresh at that stage was was Meehan, but still.  Joshua shows fantastic power, punching technique, and offensive footwork.  The only thing I haven’t yet seen from him is how well he takes a punch and/or defends against them.  That’s not a bad commentary on what a guy’s doing in the ring by any means, but until it should happen, he’s still got that one question remaining about his overall game.

 

Finally, in a low-profile scrap in Indianapolis, former fringe contender Franklin Lawrence returned from a layoff of nearly 2 years to stop Ghanaian journeyman Daniel Adotey Allotey in 3 rounds.  Allotey is nothing to write hope about in terms of competition, but the return to activity alone is enough to get Lawrence back into the mix.  He was ranked #21 unofficially when he was removed early this year.  Comparing him to the current field, I’d say he’s still in the top 30.

 

Speaking of the top 30, that’s around where Anthony Joshua began the night.  With Sprott being almost identically positioned as compared to Joshua’s most recent prior victim, Bakhtov, as a very borderline member of the top 50, Joshua gets a mild boost from quantity, but in my book only manages to edge past Gerald Washington and close to the top 25.  As for the top 20, no changes.
 

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (283-496-496)
Last Fight: 11/15/2014- KO5 #5 Kubrat Pulev
Next Fight: Unknown
Klitschko plans to make his next defense in the Spring.  Bryant Jennings has been mentioned.  That sounds undeserved, until you hear the other name being mentioned- Shannon Briggs.
1) Tyson Fury (41-41-41)
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 (26-370-370)
Last Fight: 10/24/2014- KO10 #7 Carlos Takam
Next Fight: Unknown
Povetkin’s finishing skills were quite impressive, but it might be a bit worrisome that he was clearly getting outboxed by Takam for a good chunk of the fight.  With the win, he now figures to eventually become the mandatory for the winner of Wilder-Stiverne.  His team seems to want Tyson Fury, though, which would be amazing.
3) Vyacheslav Glazkov (26-37-101)
Last Fight: 11/8/2014- TKO7 Darnell Wilson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
An easy stoppage win for Glazkov over Wilson will hopefully be a quick confidence boost after he struggled mightily against mediocre opposition last time around.
4) Amir Mansour (34-34-34)
Last Fight: 11/8/2014- KO7 Fred Kassi (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mansour’s power was brought to bear on the mediocre Kassi, who did a good job of hanging in there- perhaps for longer than most expected while losing every round.
5) Kubrat Pulev (41-134-211)
Last Fight: 11/15/2014- L (KO5) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
Back to the drawing board for the Bulgarian.  He at least mounted an attack.  That’s more than some challengers can say.
6) Dereck Chisora (41-156-219)
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 (25-25-45)
Last Fight: 10/24/2014- L (KO10) vs. #2 Alexander Povetkin
Next Fight: Unknown
Takam found the ceiling on his rise to the top in #2 Povetkin.  He actually appeared more than a match for the Russian early in the fight, but couldn’t hang in the later rounds.
8) Bermane Stiverne (25-29-91)
Last Fight: 5/10/2014- TKO6 #13 Chris Arreola
Next Fight: 1/17/2015- vs. #12 Deontay Wilder
Stiverne-Wilder is finally set for January 17 at the MGM Grand in Vegas, it would appear.
9) Steve Cunningham (25-101-101)
Last Fight: 10/18/2014- W (RTD7) vs. Natu Visinia (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Despite some scary moments with the much bigger relative novice Visinia, Cunningham ultimately took care of business.
10) Tony Thompson (25-36-235)
Last Fight: 6/6/2014- L (UD12) vs. #12 Carlos Takam
Next Fight: Unknown
The Thompson-Solis rematch set for November 22 has apparently been postponed again, or perhaps canceled, due to another Solis ankle injury.
11) Odlanier Solis (3-235)
Last Fight: 3/22/2014- L* (SD12) vs. #13 Tony Thompson
Next Fight: Unknown
See Thompson’s notes, above.
12) Deontay Wilder (3-83)
Last Fight: 8/16/2014- W(RTD4) vs. Jason Gavern (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/17/2015 – vs. #8 Bermane Stiverne 
See Stiverne’s notes, above.
13) Chris Arreola (3-64)
Last Fight: 5/10/2014- L (TKO6) vs. #12 Bermane Stiverne
Next Fight: Unknown
Bad news for Arreola fans- he’s reportedly pulled out of a planned December 11 return due to an elbow injury.  Elbow surgery is what he was trying to come back from in the first place.
14) Malik Scott (3-12)
Last Fight: 10/31/2014- UD10 #16 Alex Leapai
Next Fight: Unknown
After an apparently dominant win over Leapai, Scott is probably back in the mix for some sort of big fight.
15) Erkan Teper (3-65)
Last Fight: 6/13/2014- RTD6 Newfel Ouatah (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/13/2014- vs. Johann Duhaupas (UNR)
Teper will apparently be defending his European title against France’s Johann Duhaupas in Germany on December 13.
16) Andy Ruiz (3-53)
Last Fight: 10/25/2014- TKO1 Kenny Lemos (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/20/2014- vs. Sergei Liakhovich (UNR)
Ruiz has rescheduled his planned October fight with faded former contender Liakhovich for December 20.
17) Bryant Jennings (3-18)
Last Fight: 7/26/2014- W* (SD12) vs. Mike Perez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Jennings is once again said to be in the running for a Klitschko shot.  After barely and perhaps undeservedly getting by Mike Perez, I’m not sure that’s a natural fit at this stage.
18) Artur Szpilka (3-3)
Last Fight: 11/8/2014- W (UD10) vs. #11 Tomasz Adamek
Next Fight: 1/31/2015- vs. Unknown Opponent
Szpilka returned to camp just a week after the Adamek fight, as he is planning a return for January 31 in Torun, Poland.
19) Mike Perez (12-18)
Last Fight: 7/26/2014- L* (SD12) vs. Bryant Jennings (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
20) Alex Leapai (4-53)
Last Fight: 10/31/2014- L (UD10) vs. #20 Malik Scott
Next Fight: Unknown
It looks pretty clear now that Leapai’s win over Boytsov was more about Boytsov’s shortcomings than Leapai’s quality.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD:
Friday
Zoltan Petranyi vs. Temoo Tamaititahio; Papeete, French Polynesia; TV Unknown
You don’t really hear a lot about Petranyi, and maybe with good reason.  But he’s actually kind of an unlikely, if borderline, member of the top 50.  He began his career in 1996 and was under .500 going into his 28th fight in 2005.  He’s hardly been perfect since then, but hasn’t really been within shouting distance of .500 in about a decade.  He’s also 48 years old.  At the moment, he’s on a 15-fight win streak.  Most of that was against very weak opposition, but his last two came against halfway credible journeymen/prospects on the domestic level.  He’s now the Hungarian champion, and this weekend he’ll fight on the road in French Polynesia against a 40-year old local who has still never fought anyone, but is nevertheless trying to rebound from his first career loss.  I don’t know that there’s a whole lot of rhyme or reason to this fight, but Petranyi’s career is interesting enough to deserve a comment or two.

 

Saturday
#1 Tyson Fury vs. #6 Dereck Chisora; London, England; Sky (UK)
This is a highly anticipated rematch between Britain and the Commonwealth’s two best (or at least most proven) active Heavyweights.  Fury comprehensively outboxed Chisora in the last meeting to win a one-sided decision, but many saw his win as almost a default, since Chisora inexplicably came in fat and woefully underprepared.  Since then, he’s shown considerable mettle in defeating Robert Helenius (I know), Malik Scott (I know), Edmund Gerber, Ondrej Pala, and Kevin Johnson, as well as giving Vitali Klitschko perhaps the best challenge he’d had since Lennox Lewis.  If Chisora trains decently, there are a lot of people that think he might end Fury’s impressive run.

 

Eddie Chambers vs. Dorian Darch; London, England; Sky (UK)
Chambers returns from a 3-week layoff, and steps back down from the mediocre journeyman level to the novice level when he fights Welshman Dorian Darch.  Darch may sound like a Bond or Star Wars villain, but he’s not really that threatening.  At 8-3, he’s been beaten by Anthony Joshua, Hughie Fury, and Ian Lewison, and has never beaten anyone with both a winning record and 5 or more wins. Not sure if this one makes the broadcast or not.
 
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