Heavyweight: 2015, Feb 23- Mar 1

 
Saturday in Berlin, the comebacking David Price won by 6th-round TKO over Brazilian journeyman Irineu Beato Costa.  Costa seemed to be mostly in survival mode from the start, which may have been the major factor in Price looking fairly pedestrian over the first 5 rounds (despite winning them all).  The tall Liverpudlian broke through in a big way in round 6, however, bludgeoning Costa to 3 knockdowns and a stoppage.  

Price came in at about #30 in the Boxrec rankings, and I’m sure his win over Costa (whom I think they had ranked around #69) will probably improve that a bit.  As for me, I’ve got him at about #37, and that wasn’t changed by this one.
 
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 (296-509-509)
Last Fight: 11/15/2014- KO5 #5 Kubrat Pulev
Next Fight: 4/25/2015- vs. #17 Bryant Jennings
Klitschko-Jennings is on, and figures to be a fairly average defense for the Champ.
1) Tyson Fury (54-54-54)
Last Fight: 11/29/2014- RTD10 #6 Dereck Chisora
Next Fight: 2/28/2015- vs. Christian Hammer (UNR)
Christian Hammer is a very beatable gatekeeper, but did look good in his last fight, and is probably about a class better than you’d expect a guy with a mandatory championship shot coming his way to stay busy against.
2) Alexander Povetkin (39-383-383)
Last Fight: 10/24/2014- KO10 #7 Carlos Takam
Next Fight: Unknown
Negotiations are underway for a potential May 22 clash with Mike Perez in Moscow, with the winner to get a mandatory shot at Wilder’s belt.
3) Vyacheslav Glazkov (39-50-114)
Last Fight: 11/8/2014- TKO7 Darnell Wilson (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/14/2015- vs. #10 Steve Cunningham
With Main Events behind both fighters, you could almost see this one coming.  Glazkov will take on Steve Cunningham, likely on NBC Sports, in March.
4) Amir Mansour (47-47-47)
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 (54-147-224)
Last Fight: 11/15/2014- L (KO5) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
Despite his knockout loss to the Champ, Pulev and Sauerland have recently extended their promotional contract, and Pulev is set to begin working with Uli Wegner, who is essentially Sauerland’s house trainer.
6) Carlos Takam (13-38-58)
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.
7) Deontay Wilder (6-6-96)
Last Fight: 1/17/2015- UD12 #8 Bermane Stiverne
Next Fight: Unknown
With an alphabet belt under his…um…belt….Wilder will have plenty of suitors.
8) Dereck Chisora (6-169-232)
Last Fight: 11/29/2014- L (RTD10) vs. #1 Tyson Fury
Next Fight: Unknown
Chisora apparently doesn’t want to leave the bad taste in his mouth from his last performance, as he is reportedly planning to fight again on February 28.  He is also said to be splitting from trainer Don Charles.
9) Bermane Stiverne (6-42-104)
Last Fight: 1/17/2015- L (UD12) vs. #12 Deontay Wilder
Next Fight: Unknown
No word just yet on what’s next for now former beltholder Stiverne.
10) Steve Cunningham (6-114-114)
Last Fight: 10/18/2014- W (RTD7) vs. Natu Visinia (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/14/2015- vs. #3 Vyacheslav Glazkov
See Glazkov’s notes, above.
11) Tony Thompson (6-248)
Last Fight: 6/6/2014- L (UD12) vs. #12 Carlos Takam
Next Fight: 2/27/2015 – vs. #12 Odlanier Solis
It looked for a couple days that the Solis fight was going to be postponed for a 4th time due to problems with the local Hungarian promotion, but Solis’s promotional team appears to have rescued the February 27 date by moving the fight to Turkey.
12) Odlanier Solis (6-248)
Last Fight: 3/22/2014- L* (SD12) vs. #13 Tony Thompson
Next Fight: 2/27/2015- vs. #11 Tony Thompson
See Thompson’s notes, above.
13) Chris Arreola (16-77)
Last Fight: 5/10/2014- L (TKO6) vs. #12 Bermane Stiverne
Next Fight: 3/13/2015- vs. Unknown Opponent
Arreola’s return has now been set for March 13 in Ontario, CA.  No opponent yet.
14) Malik Scott (16-25)
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 (16-78)
Last Fight: 6/13/2014- RTD6 Newfel Ouatah (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/14/2015- vs. Johann Duhaupas (UNR)
Teper-Duhaupas has a new date: March 14 in Stuttgart.
16) Antonio Tarver (11-11)
Last Fight: 12/11/2014- TKO7 Johnathon Banks (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
After being shelved by Showtime due to steroids a few years back, Tarver has landed another commentary gig for Premiere Boxing Champions.
17) Bryant Jennings (10-31)
Last Fight: 7/26/2014- W* (SD12) vs. Mike Perez (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/25/2015- vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Jennings has got his shot at Klitschko for April 25.  Almost certanily too soon for him, given his mediocre last performance against Perez.
18) Artur Szpilka (10-16)
Last Fight: 11/8/2014- W (UD10) vs. #11 Tomasz Adamek
Next Fight: 4/24/2015- vs. Unknown Opponent
Now advised by Al Haymon and trained by Ronnie Shields, Szpilka will debut his new team against an opponent to be announced on an April 24 Showtime card in Chicago.
19) Mike Perez (10-31)
Last Fight: 2/5/2015- TKO2 Darnell Wilson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Povetkin’s notes, above.
20) Alex Leapai (10-10)
Last Fight: 10/31/2014- L (UD10) vs. #20 Malik Scott
Next Fight: Unknown 
 
THE WEEK AHEAD:
Friday
#11 Tony Thompson vs. #12 Odlanier Solis; Antalya, Turkey; Eurosport
This oft-delayed rematch finally appears good to go for Friday.  A clear win would obviously be a huge boon to the career of either man, neither of whom is getting any younger.  The first fight was very close, with Thompson getting what I saw as the benefit of the doubt to pull off a split decision victory by a one-round margin on both cards.  The 3rd judge had it 116-112 for Solis, which matched my own score.  In any case, it was a debatable contest.  Solis has been seen as an underachiever for the majority of his professional career, after having been a storied amateur in Cuba.  Thompson is the division’s ultimate dark horse spoiler, especially with his recent impressive run at a current age of 43.  If Solis plans to ever realize his presumed potential, he needs to emerge from this fight with a win, with his reputation among the public, the media, and the power brokers of the sport probably being even worse than he deserves with his actual performances.
 
Zoltan Csala vs. Arnold Gjergjaj; Basel, Switzerland; TV Unknown
This is an intriguing little scrap between undefeated European prospects.  Csala is from Hungary, and quite long in the tooth at 37.  On the bright side, he is coming off a knockout win only two months ago against borderline top-50 gatekeeper Zoltan Petranyi.  Gjergjaj has 26 spotless professional fights compared to Csala’s 6, and has won his last 13 by knockout.  
 
Saturday
#1 Tyson Fury vs. Christian Hammer; London, England; BoxNation (UK)
Fury, with two wins over Chisora and a stoppage of Steve Cunningham, is the top contender in the division and in line for a Klitschko shot in his next fight.  Boxrec has Hammer ranked #11, making him an apparent solid challenge.   I’ve personally got him ranked no better than #42, in part because of a couple losses in 2010, and in part because I believe he lost what shows up in the record as his best win- a December 2013 decision he was given over Kevin Johnson.  In my view, this is still a well-above-average tune-up for a guy in line for a Championship fight, but still not a major threat.
 
Charles Martin vs. Raphael Zumbano; Phoenix, AZ; Off-TV
Undefeated prospect Charles Martin takes on journeyman Raphael Zumbano on a non-televised Phoenix card which I doubt anyone outside Arizona will ever see.  Zumbano is approximately a top-75 journeyman, which is about on par with Martin’s previous top opposition to date.  Zumbano fought Eric Molina about 6 weeks ago, and was battered to an 8th-round stoppage in that one.  His chin probably earned more time off than this, to be honest.

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