Archive for Flo Simba

Cruiserweight: 2012, Sep 17-23

Posted in Cruiserweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2012 by danboxing
#1 Yoan Pablo Hernandez can’t have a completely non-controversial fight, it seems.  Both of his decision wins over Steve Cunningham were disputed in some quarters (I agreed completely with the second), and now he gets very clearly outfought by #20 Troy Ross, but still walks away with what appeared from the cards to be a relatively routine decision win.  Now I will qualify that.  Ross straight-up gave away enough rounds (including while Hernandez was obviously still wobbly from a 5th round knockdown) to open the door to a narrow Hernandez victory, especially in Hernandez’ adopted home of Germany.  I think Floridian Michael Pernick’s card of 114-113 Hernandez gave the Cuban every benefit of the doubt, but that it was a respectable score.  The UK’s Mickey Vann (115-112 Hernandez) and especially Belgium’s Benny Decroos (116-112 Hernandez), on the other hand, were obviously determined not to give Ross any round that he didn’t dominate, or else they were intimidated by the venue and the promoter, in which case they don’t deserve to judge on this level.  I had the fight 115-112 Ross.  I think anything between 116-111 Ross and 114-113 Hernandez would be defensible.  I want to call this a robbery because it basically was.  But since I could see Hernandez winning the fight if he got all the toss-up rounds, this is a textbook example of a decision that will receive minimum deference here.  That is to say that it will be treated essentially as a draw, but with the barest of edges granted to the official winner, Hernandez, wherever relevant.

 

As for the fight itself, it was a wild and unpredictable affair.  There were times when it looked as if someone plucked Max Baer out of the Primo Carnera fight, cloned him, and matched him against himself, with wild swinging and tripping over each other being the rule rather than the exception.  But after the 5th, when Ross badly hurt Hernandez to the extent that it appeared he never totally recovered, Hernandez was a spoiler.  He held, he flopped, he slipped, and he even turned his back more than once.  But the visibly much smaller Ross, still evidently afraid of Hernandez’ power, too often laid back and let Hernandez walk him down, which likely won the Cuban a round or two almost by itself.

 

Lost a bit in the shuffle, #15 Mateusz Masternak turned in an excellent performance against the aging but still undefeated prospect David Quinonero, who came into the fight at 27-0 with 26 knockouts, including a 5th round knockout of borderline top-50 gatekeeper-type Ali Ismailov.  Quinonero showed nothing to suggest the devastating puncher his record might indicate.  He showed a really good chin and a lot of heart, which ultimately just meant he got a busted-up eye added to his defeat.  Masternak appeared bigger, stronger, faster, rangier, and more skilled.  I think he’s a special fighter.  The thing that most impressed me was that he was able to throw heavy, hurtful punches while going backwards.  Any opponent that hopes to get close enough to hurt Masternak is going to need a dynamic defense and a lot of will.  As Teddy Atlas would say, you have to go through a bad neighborhood to get to him.

 

In the also ran category, Finnish gatekeeper Juho Haapoja slammed the gate shut, as expected, on middling Italian fringe prospect Francesco Versaci in Finland, as the Italian failed to answer the bell for the 4th round.

 

Hernandez’ performance against a mere #20 contender obviously hurts his standing.  Ross has proven credible in the past, as it’s at least arguably the case that he should have won against then-#1 Steve Cunningham, as well.  It’s legitimately a reasonable conclusion that he might be the best cruiserweight in the world.  However, he hasn’t conclusively beaten anyone near that level.  Nevertheless, he gets credit for beating Hernandez on my scorecard, at least.  Hernandez has fairly conclusively beaten Cunningham, but a struggle like that he had against Ross shows that his status as the best cruiserweight in the world is at least arguable.  Enter last week’s #2 Denis Lebedev.  Lebedev conclusively beat then-#2 Marco Huck (without getting credit for it), and has torn through a series of fringe contenders (including a #19-ranked Alexander Alekseev) without coming close to losing against anyone but Huck.  His resume is of similar quality to Hernandez’, but without any setbacks of any significance such as you’d find on the Cuban’s ledger.  As a result, Lebedev succeeds him at #1. 

 

With Steve Cunningham still deserving the spot right behind Lebedev’s former position (arguments for his removal due to moving up in weight aside), it would be impossible for Hernandez to fall too far- particularly since Ross has given a near-prime Cunningham as significant a problem in abbreviated action as he did Hernandez, who therefore settles in at #2.  Ross, having done everything but clearly beat Hernandez, jumps all the way up to claim the #3 spot, forcing Cunningham and everyone else rated #3-19 last week down one place apeice.  Even Masternak is not immune from this with his win, since he still has not fought anyone on the level that Fragomeni and Branco have wins and/or draws against.  Included in the wave of demotion is Danny Green, who exits the top 10 after 3 consecutive months within its confines.  You know it was a significant week of action when not one fighter on the list has the same rank at which he found himself the week before.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: None
1) Denis Lebedev (1-137-137)
Last Fight: 4/4/2012- KO2 Shawn Cox (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/20/2012- vs. #9 Guillermo Jones
Lebedev will fight very inactive alphabet titleholder and former welterweight Guillermo Jones in Moscow this October.
2) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (1-117-117)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- W*(UD12) vs. #20 Troy Ross
Next Fight: Unknown
Hernandez officially got the win over Ross, and I’m not quite willing to call it a robbery, but it’s pretty close to one.  I think you’d be pushing the limits of reason to give the fight to Hernandez, and I think that even if you managed to do so in terms of rounds won, you’d have to admit that Ross got the better of the fight overall.  Even Hernandez promoter Sauerland admits that Hernandez didn’t deserve a win, and believes a rematch is warranted.
3) Troy Ross (1-1-33)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- L*(UD12) vs. #1 Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Next Fight: Unknown
Ross deserved to beat Hernandez.  That’s all I’ve got to say (except the more detailed statement I made above).
4) Steve Cunningham (1-431-431)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- UD10 Jason Gavern (UNR) (at HW)
Next Fight: Unknown
So far so good for Cunningham at Heavyweight.  He’ll retain his ranking here until the anniversary of his February 4 cruiserweight fight, or until he schedules a heavyweight fight for a date after that.
5) Marco Huck (1-302-302)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- Draw* (MD12) vs. #7 Ola Afolabi
Next Fight: 11/3/2012- vs. #10 Firat Arslan
Huck will fight Arslan next in early November.
6) Ola Afolabi (1-184-184)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- Draw* (MD12) vs. #4 Marco Huck
Next Fight: Unknown
7) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (1-378-378)
Last Fight: 11/30/2011- TKO11 #9 Danny Green
Next Fight: 9/22/2012- vs. #13 Francisco Palacios
It appears- according to Boxrec- that Wlodarczyk has finally consented to an alphabet-mandated rematch with Palacios. The first fight was close (I thought Palacios won), but unfortunately almost unwatchable, as well.
8) Lateef Kayode (1-16-96)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- Draw (SD12) vs. ‘Roided up #3 Antonio Tarver
Next Fight: Unknown
Kayode originally was angling for a fight with Roy Jones, but now appears to be in discussions to fight Grigory Drozd in Siberia.
9) Guillermo Jones (1-103-103)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- TKO6 Michael Marrone (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/20/2012- vs. #1 Denis Lebedev
Jones will travel to Moscow to put his alphabet title on the line against the much younger Lebedev.
10) Firat Arslan (1-19-62)
Last Fight: 5/11/2012- Draw* (MD12) vs. #12 Alexander Alekseev (Robbery)
Next Fight: 11/3/2012- vs. #5 Marco Huck
Long-since slated for a November rematch with Alekseev, Arslan was the subject of a surprise announcement that he would instead fight Marco Huck.
11) Danny Green (1-146)
Last Fight: 7/25/2012- TKO5 Danny Santiago (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
12) B.J. Flores (1-117)
Last Fight: 1/28/2012- TKO6 Hugo Pineda (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Flores suffered a hand injury in training for his September 14 date, and is now on the shelf for the moment.
13) Francisco Palacios (1-77)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- UD8 Joell Godfrey (UNR)
Next Fight: 9/22/2012- vs. #7 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
See Wlodarczyk’s notes, above.
14) Giacobbe Fragomeni (1-201)
Last Fight: 3/17/2012- Draw (MD12) vs. Silvio Branco (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Fragomeni appears to be showing his age after nearly losing to an even older man in Branco.
15) Silvio Branco (1-27)
Last Fight: 3/17/2012- Draw (MD12) vs. #10 Giacobbe Fragomeni
Next Fight: Unknown
45 year old veteran Silvio Branco got what may have been his final hurrah with a close-fought draw with top 10-ranked Giacobbe Fragomeni.
16) Mateusz Masternak (1-25)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- TKO8 David Quinonero (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Masternak put on a Masterful performance against a game but apparently limited Quinonero, but that was only the 2nd-best event of his week, as his son was born that same Wednesday.
17) Alexander Alekseev (1-88)
Last Fight: 5/11/2012- Draw*(MD12) vs. #19 Firat Arslan (robbery- should have been L)
Next Fight: 9/28/2012-  vs. Agron Dzila (UNR)
We know that Alekseev will fight journeyman Agron Dzila in September.  We also know he won’t be rematching Arslan in November as previously-expected.  It remains to be seen if that fight will eventually happen after Arslan fights Huck or not.
18) Enad Licina (1-117)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- L(UD12) vs. #17 Alexander Alexeev
Next Fight: Unknown
19) Dmitro Kucher (1-12)
Last Fight: 8/19/2012- TKO5 Geoffrey Battelo (UNR) (at HW)
Next Fight: 10/27/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
Kucher will be fighting in Kiev on October 27 for some alphabet regional color-coded belt, but no announced opponent yet.
20) Pawel Glazewski (1-12)
Last Fight: 6/30/2012- L(Robbery) vs. Roy Jones, Jr. (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/13/2012- vs. Sofiane Sebihi (UNR) (at LHW)
Glazewski’s opponent for October is decent Swiss journeyman Sofiane Sebihi, and the fight will be contested at the 175 pound limit.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: Three notable fights can be found on two cards on Saturday.  In Wroclaw, Poland, #7 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk takes on #13 Francisco Palacios in a rematch of their close and controversial (and deathly boring) spring 2011 fight.  I scored that fight for Palacios 115-113, while two of the three judges disagreed.  Neither judge had a credible scorecard, incidentally.  Adrio Zannoni in particular scored a fight that was certainly between 115-113 Wlodarczyk and 117-111 Palacios as a 118-112 win for Wlodarczyk.  Regardless of the winner, I hope it’s a fair result this time around.

 

Meanwhile, in Kempton Park, South Africa, the semifinals of the “Super 8” Cruiserweight tournament plays out, with gatekeepers Zack Mwekassa  and Danie Venter doing battle.  The other fight originally figured to be a battle between the winners of first-round matchups between Israeli prospect/fringe contender Ran Nakash fighting seemingly overmatched fringe prospect Johnny Muller and Congolese gatekeeper Flo Simba fighting South African prospect Thabiso Mchunu.  When Nakash initially came in heavy and then bailed on the tournament entirely, it appeared Muller would fight the Simba-Mchunu winner after passing to the semis with a bye.   But after the Mchunu-Simba fight ended with an unnessesary and premature stoppage win for Mchunu, it appears that the promoter was able to prevail upon Muller to step aside in favor of a shot at an African Light Heavyweight title, allowing Simba and Mchunu to rematch on Saturday for a shot at the finals.

Cruiserweight: 2012, Jun 18-24

Posted in Cruiserweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , on July 20, 2012 by danboxing
Australian Anthony McCracken- who deserved to be considered a top-50 cruiserweight despite his robbery loss to David Aloua in the spring- dropped a unanimous decision to solid journeyman Daniel Ammann on Friday.  While news reports speak of a competitive bout in which the scores didn’t reflect the action, there is no video available that I can find, and so I must give Ammann credit and let McCracken take a hit.

 

In Friday’s second upset, gatekeeper Faisal Arrami dropped a decision to low-to-mid-level journeyman Jeremy Ouanna in both men’s native France. 

 

But the real good stuff was brewing on Saturday in South Africa’s 8-man cruiserweight tournament, the Super 8.  Unfortunately, it was not without a pair of SNAFUs.  The tournament favorite (and only non-African participant), Ran Nakash of Israel, failed to make weight initially by more than 2 pounds.  He trimmed one of these pounds in a 2 hour grace period, but then refused to try any further.  Faced with forfeiting his purse if the fight continued, Nakash essentially bolted.  This gives Johnny Muller- the weakest entrant to the tournament- and effective bye into the second round. 

 

Now to the fights that actually happened:
Congolese prospect Zack Mwekassa wasted no time in dispatching South African journeyman Tshepang Mohale, winning by 1st-round TKO.

 

Previously unproven South African prospect Thabiso Mchunu impressed during the first round, getting favorite Flo Simba in some trouble.  This was the second SNAFU of the tournament, however, as referee Tony Nyangiwe, by all accounts, prematurely stopped the contest with a matter of seconds to go in the opening round.

 

And finally, heavyweight journeyman and former South African Olympian Danie Venter- who probably translates to roughly gatekeeper-level as a cruiserweight given the comparative thinness of the division- won a solid 8-round decision over journeyman and countryman Daniel Bruwer. 

 

Even without Nakash’s credentials feeding the system, and even with the Mchunu-Simba controversy, the eventual winner of this tournament figures to earn a top 20 ranking.  No changes to the rankings yet, though.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: None
1) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (20-104-104)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- UD12 #4 Steve Cunningham
Next Fight: Unknown
Since there’s been no news on Hernandez’ next opponent for months, I might as well start speculating.  For what it’s worth, the IBF has Polish prospect Pawel Kolodziej ranked as their top contender for his belt.  That’s a crazy ranking, but it could put Kolodziej in line for a shot soon.
2) Denis Lebedev (20-124-124)
Last Fight: 4/4/2012- KO2 Shawn Cox (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Lebedev-Mormeck appears to be off.  Reporting on the subject has been virtually non-existent, so I can’t readily say why exactly.  But it appears that Lebedev may be fighting Guillermo Jones, instead.  WBA purse bid scheduled for June 29.
3) Steve Cunningham (3-418-418)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- L(UD12) vs. #3 Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Next Fight: Unknown
Cunningham said recently that although he would consider fighting Kayode in the event he beat Tarver (the fight ultimately ended in a draw), he doesn’t believe there are any other big fights available for him at Cruiser.  He is therefore likely to move up to heavyweight.
4) Marco Huck (3-289-289)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- Draw* (MD12) vs. #7 Ola Afolabi
Next Fight: Unknown
A summary of where Huck is at: Afolabi understandably wants a third fight with him- this time in the UK.  Huck wants a rematch with Povetkin.  Meanwhile, Huck is laying the groundwork for hyping a potential fight with Alekseev following the Russian’s poor performance against Arslan, and also for a shot at Vitali.
5) Ola Afolabi (3-171-171)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- Draw* (MD12) vs. #4 Marco Huck
Next Fight: Unknown
Afolabi would like a third fight with Huck, this time in the UK, or a fight with Tarver or Kayode in the US.
6) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (3-365-365)
Last Fight: 11/30/2011- TKO11 #9 Danny Green
Next Fight: Unknown
Originally rumored and long-since forgotten, the rematch with Palacios is now back on the table, and reportedly being negotiated for a September date.
7) Antonio Tarver (3-48-48)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- Draw (SD12) vs. #13 Lateef Kayode
Next Fight: Unknown
Tarver retained his IBO belt with the Kayode draw, but it’s up in the air where he goes from here.  He often says he wants to be heavyweight champion, but he’s clearly not even a full-sized cruiser at this point considering how soft he looked in comparison to Kayode.
8) Lateef Kayode (3-3-83)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- Draw (SD12) vs. #3 Antonio Tarver
Next Fight: Unknown
The first major fighter to agitate for a fight with Kayode after his draw with Tarver is B.J. Flores.
9) Guillermo Jones (3-90-90)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- TKO6 Michael Marrone (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Reading news and googling Jones’ name, it appears that the Joell Godfrey fight is off, but nobody ever seems to have actually reported that fact.  The fight simply disappeared.  Jones has been ordered to make a mandatory defense against Denis Lebedev, with purse bids scheduled for June 29.
10) Firat Arslan (3-6-49)
Last Fight: 5/11/2012- Draw* (MD12) vs. #12 Alexander Alekseev (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
The EBU has ordered a rematch between Arslan-who was robbed- and Alekseev, who escaped with a gift draw.
11) Danny Green (3-133)
Last Fight: 11/30/2011- L(TKO11) vs. #8 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
Next Fight: 7/25/2012- vs. Danny Santiago (UNR) (at LHW)
Green is dropping down in weight in hopes of luring the much-smaller Anthony Mundine into a rematch.
12) B.J. Flores (3-104)
Last Fight: 1/28/2012- TKO6 Hugo Pineda (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Flores is chasing a fight with Kayode that failed to materialize last year.
13) Francisco Palacios (3-64)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- UD8 Joell Godfrey (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The almost forgotten rumor of a rematch with Wlodarczyk is now back on the front-burner, with a deal being worked on for a September fight between the two.
14) Giacobbe Fragomeni (14-188)
Last Fight: 3/17/2012- Draw (MD12) vs. Silvio Branco (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Fragomeni appears to be showing his age after nearly losing to an even older man in Branco.
15) Silvio Branco (14-14)
Last Fight: 3/17/2012- Draw (MD12) vs. #10 Giacobbe Fragomeni
Next Fight: Unknown
45 year old veteran Silvio Branco got what may have been his final hurrah with a close-fought draw with top 10-ranked Giacobbe Fragomeni.
16) Mateusz Masternak (12-12)
Last Fight: 5/19/2012- UD10 Hari Miles (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
17) Alexander Alekseev (6-75)
Last Fight: 5/11/2012- Draw*(MD12) vs. #19 Firat Arslan (robbery- should have been L)
Next Fight: Unknown
Huck has randomly been talking smack, which seems like a contrived attempt at hyping a pretty pointless fight between the two of them.  A rematch with Arslan would seem like a pretty natural move- and the EBU has ordered just that.
18) Enad Licina (6-104)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- L(UD12) vs. #17 Alexander Alexeev
Next Fight: Unknown
May be getting a little shopworn.  He’s not a pushover by any means, but you’d have to be crazy to imagine him as a top-10-type guy.
19) Troy Ross (6-20)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- UD8 Lukasz Rusiewicz (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Inactivity combined with poor competition are killing the career of top-level talent Ross, but at least he’s technically an active cruiserweight again, and thus eligible to remain in the rankings.
20) Grigory Drozd (12-19)
Last Fight: 2/8/2012- RTD9 Richard Hall (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/20/2012- vs. Fabio Garrido (UNR)
After expected fights with William Joppy and Cesar Crenz both fell through with little explanation, Drozd will fight mediocre Brazilian journeyman Fabio Garrido on relatively short notice, in Moscow.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD:  #20 Grigory Drozd takes on Brazilian journeyman Fabio Garrido Wednesday in Moscow.

Cruiserweight: 2012, Jun 11-17

Posted in Cruiserweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , on June 15, 2012 by danboxing
No action in the division this week.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: None
1) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (19-103-103)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- UD12 #4 Steve Cunningham
Next Fight: Unknown
Since there’s been no news on Hernandez’ next opponent for months, I might as well start speculating.  For what it’s worth, the IBF has Polish prospect Pawel Kolodziej ranked as their top contender for his belt.  That’s a crazy ranking, but it could put Kolodziej in line for a shot soon.
2) Denis Lebedev (19-123-123)
Last Fight: 4/4/2012- KO2 Shawn Cox (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Lebedev-Mormeck appears to be off.  Reporting on the subject has been virtually non-existent, so I can’t readily say why exactly.  But it appears that Lebedev may be fighting Guillermo Jones, instead.  WBA purse bid scheduled for June 29.
3) Steve Cunningham (2-417-417)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- L(UD12) vs. #3 Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Next Fight: Unknown
Cunningham said recently that although he would consider fighting Kayode in the event he beat Tarver (the fight ultimately ended in a draw), he doesn’t believe there are any other big fights available for him at Cruiser.  He is therefore likely to move up to heavyweight.
4) Marco Huck (2-288-288)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- Draw* (MD12) vs. #7 Ola Afolabi
Next Fight: Unknown
A summary of where Huck is at: Afolabi understandably wants a third fight with him- this time in the UK.  Huck wants a rematch with Povetkin.  Meanwhile, Huck is laying the groundwork for hyping a potential fight with Alekseev following the Russian’s poor performance against Arslan, and also for a shot at Vitali.
5) Ola Afolabi (2-170-170)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- Draw* (MD12) vs. #4 Marco Huck
Next Fight: Unknown
Afolabi would like a third fight with Huck, this time in the UK, or a fight with Tarver or Kayode in the US.
6) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (2-364-364)
Last Fight: 11/30/2011- TKO11 #9 Danny Green
Next Fight: Unknown
Originally rumored and long-since forgotten, the rematch with Palacios is now back on the table, and reportedly being negotiated for a September date.
7) Antonio Tarver (2-47-47)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- Draw (SD12) vs. #13 Lateef Kayode
Next Fight: Unknown
Tarver retained his IBO belt with the Kayode draw, but it’s up in the air where he goes from here.  He often says he wants to be heavyweight champion, but he’s clearly not even a full-sized cruiser at this point considering how soft he looked in comparison to Kayode.
8) Lateef Kayode (2-2-82)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- Draw (SD12) vs. #3 Antonio Tarver
Next Fight: Unknown
The first major fighter to agitate for a fight with Kayode after his draw with Tarver is B.J. Flores.
9) Guillermo Jones (2-89-89)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- TKO6 Michael Marrone (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Reading news and googling Jones’ name, it appears that the Joell Godfrey fight is off, but nobody ever seems to have actually reported that fact.  The fight simply disappeared.  Jones has been ordered to make a mandatory defense against Denis Lebedev, with purse bids scheduled for June 29.
10) Firat Arslan (2-5-48)
Last Fight: 5/11/2012- Draw* (MD12) vs. #12 Alexander Alekseev (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
The EBU has ordered a rematch between Arslan-who was robbed- and Alekseev, who escaped with a gift draw.
11) Danny Green (2-132)
Last Fight: 11/30/2011- L(TKO11) vs. #8 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
Next Fight: 7/25/2012- vs. Danny Santiago (UNR) (at LHW)
Green is dropping down in weight in hopes of luring the much-smaller Anthony Mundine into a rematch.
12) B.J. Flores (2-103)
Last Fight: 1/28/2012- TKO6 Hugo Pineda (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Flores is chasing a fight with Kayode that failed to materialize last year.
13) Francisco Palacios (2-63)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- UD8 Joell Godfrey (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The almost forgotten rumor of a rematch with Wlodarczyk is now back on the front-burner, with a deal being worked on for a September fight between the two.
14) Giacobbe Fragomeni (13-187)
Last Fight: 3/17/2012- Draw (MD12) vs. Silvio Branco (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Fragomeni appears to be showing his age after nearly losing to an even older man in Branco.
15) Silvio Branco (13-13)
Last Fight: 3/17/2012- Draw (MD12) vs. #10 Giacobbe Fragomeni
Next Fight: Unknown
45 year old veteran Silvio Branco got what may have been his final hurrah with a close-fought draw with top 10-ranked Giacobbe Fragomeni.
16) Mateusz Masternak (11-11)
Last Fight: 5/19/2012- UD10 Hari Miles (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
17) Alexander Alekseev (5-74)
Last Fight: 5/11/2012- Draw*(MD12) vs. #19 Firat Arslan (robbery- should have been L)
Next Fight: Unknown
Huck has randomly been talking smack, which seems like a contrived attempt at hyping a pretty pointless fight between the two of them.  A rematch with Arslan would seem like a pretty natural move- and the EBU has ordered just that.
18) Enad Licina (5-103)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- L(UD12) vs. #17 Alexander Alexeev
Next Fight: Unknown
May be getting a little shopworn.  He’s not a pushover by any means, but you’d have to be crazy to imagine him as a top-10-type guy.
19) Troy Ross (5-19)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- UD8 Lukasz Rusiewicz (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Inactivity combined with poor competition are killing the career of top-level talent Ross, but at least he’s technically an active cruiserweight again, and thus eligible to remain in the rankings.
20) Grigory Drozd (11-18)
Last Fight: 2/8/2012- RTD9 Richard Hall (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/20/2012- vs. Fabio Garrido (UNR)
After expected fights with William Joppy and Cesar Crenz both fell through with little explanation, Drozd will fight mediocre Brazilian journeyman Fabio Garrido on relatively short notice, in Moscow.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD:  We’ve got two fights to mention on Friday and the start of a significant tournament on Saturday.  See below for details.

 

Friday: Australian gatekeeper Anthony McCracken- who we last saw getting all-out robbed against Kiwi prospect David Aloua- appears to have recovered better than I thought possible from a bad cut in that fight, as he is scheduled to face solid journeyman Daniel Ammann in Newcastle, Australia.  Then, in Toulouse, France, local gatekeeper Faisal Arrami fights countryman and mid-level journeyman Jeremy Ouanna.

 

Saturday: All the cruiserweight action is located in South Africa, where local promoters have put together a single elimination tournament for mostly South African-based cruisers.  This tournament features 8 fighters.  Three of these begin the tournament in the world top 50.  The winners of the first round will fight again in September, with the final to be settled in November.  The first round draw:
1) Congolese gatekeeper/prospect Zack Mwekassa vs. South African journeyman Tshepang Mohale
2) Israeli prospect/fringe contender Ran Nakash vs. South African journeyman Johnny Muller
3) Power punching Congolese gatekeeper Flo Simba vs. South African prospect Thabiso Mchunu
4) South African Olympian and current journeyman Danie Venter vs. countryman and fellow journeyman Daniel Bruwer.

 

All but #4 feature at least one credible fighter, and the winner of this tournament figures to be close to a top 10 fighter when the dust settles.