Posts Tagged ‘Vitali Klitschko’

Looking at options after Vitali Klitschko’s decision to vacate WBC title

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After fighting Francesco Pianeta in May, Wladimir Klitschko is expected to face Alexander Povetkin. (Nadine Rupp/Bungarts/Getty Images)

Wladimir Klitschko may get a chance to unify his title with the vacated title of his brother Vitali. (Nadine Rupp/Bungarts/Getty Images)

Vitali Klitschko’s decision to vacate his WBC heavyweight title has created a scramble among boxers eager to fight for the coveted belt. On Tuesday, top contenders Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder engaged in (another) vulgar exchange on social media, while Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola both have made cases that they deserve a title shot.

How will it sort out? Here’s a suggested scenario:

Make Stiverne-Fury for the vacant title: Last April, Bermane Stiverne (23-1) beat Chris Arreola in a WBC eliminator, establishing Stiverne as the No. 1 contender on the WBC rankings. Whether he earned the right to be in an eliminator is debatable — boxing insiders get a good laugh out of the WBC’s monthly rankings, as they often appear to ignore merit — but Stiverne did win the fight.

Tyson Fury (21-0) is ranked No. 8 by the WBC, but his résumé is more complete than that of anyone ranked above him, a list that includes Bryant Jennings, Mike Perez and Dereck Chisora. Fury owns wins over Chisora, Steve Cunningham and Kevin Johnson in the last two years. His activity — he has not fought since stopping Cunningham last April — has been limited by the postponement and ultimate cancellation of a fight against David Haye. Still, among heavyweight contenders, Fury is as worthy as any to fight for a vacant title.

Make the new titleholder face the winner of Arreola-Wilder: Quality heavyweight fights in the U.S. have been scarce in recent years; Arreola-Wilder would be one of them. When Arreola (36-3) is in shape — as he was during a first-round destruction of Seth Mitchell last September — he can be very good. What he lacks in technique he makes up for with an iron chin and crushing power. Deontay Wilder’s list of opponents is pathetic, and he has been wobbled by non-punchers in the past. But he also possesses thundering one-punch power and, at 6-foot-7, Wilder (30-0) has the kind of size that is difficult to match up with.

It’s a classic crossroads matchup: Arreola, 32, the aging contender against Wilder, 28, the untested Olympic bronze medalist just entering his prime. It’s a fight Showtime would snap up in a heartbeat and it would produce a winner worthy of a title shot.

Whoever emerges gets Wladimir Klitschko: Make no mistake, Klitschko is dying to unify the titles. When Vitali held the WBC belt, Wladimir said all the right things. Privately though, Wladimir badly wants to unify the titles. Klitschko figures to be tied up with mandatory defenses for the first half of 2014, leaving would-be WBC contenders to fight it out for the title. Whoever comes out of that scrum will not only be battle tested against two legitimate heavyweight opponents but will have an increased profile that will undoubtedly create a bidding war among premium networks to secure the rights to the fight.

– By Chris Mannix


  • Published On Dec 17, 2013
  • A fresher Tomasz Adamek is ready for his next high-profile opponent

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    Tomasz Adamek (left) took some time off from boxing to sharpen his game. (Boris Streubel/Getty Images)

    Tomasz Adamek (left) took some time off from boxing to sharpen his game. (Boris Streubel/Getty Images)

    UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Sitting on a dais, dressed casually in shorts and a white polo shirt, Tomasz Adamek, 36, looked more like a peer of his longtime promoter, Kathy Duva, than several of the younger fighters he shared the stage with. Adamek has had a long and decorated career, one highlighted by titles at light heavyweight and cruiserweight and a heavyweight title challenge against Vitali Klitschko, and on Saturday he will take another step towards one more big opportunity when he faces Dominick Guinn at Mohegan Sun Casino (NBC Sports Network, 10:30 pm).

    “[A title shot] is my goal,” Adamek said. “If I win a couple of fights, that’s what I want.”

    Few fighters have the resolve–or longevity–of Adamek, one of boxing’s true warriors. He’s a take-two-punches-to-deliver-three type of boxer who has consistently been one of the toughest outs in the sport. Klitschko, Chris Arreola, Chad Dawson and Steve Cunningham (twice) are just a few of the fighters Adamek (48-2) has waged wars with. He didn’t win them all, but he didn’t go down easy in any of them, either.

    Still, mixing it up in so many fights takes a toll, and Adamek started to feel that toll last December. While training for a rematch with Steve Cunningham, Adamek felt sluggish. His energy wasn’t as high as it used to be. His punches, said trainer Roger Bloodworth, were a split second slow. The mind was willing, Bloodworth said, but the body was weak.

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  • Published On Aug 01, 2013
  • Quick Jabs: Gennady Golovkin’s next move, Seth Mitchell experiment probably over and more

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    Gennady Golovkin (above) will defend his middleweight title against an opponent to be determined on Jan. 19 in New York at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. (AP)

    Some quick jabs …

    • I’m told HBO is now considering two possible opponents for Gennady Golovkin’s Jan. 19 middleweight title defense: Fernando Guerrero, a one-time prospect who is represented by Al Haymon, and Gabriel Rosado, a rising junior middleweight who is currently the IBF’s mandatory challenger for Cornelius “K9″ Bundrage’s title. To me, the decision is an easy one: Guerrero — who beat Rosado in a controversial eight-round middleweight fight in 2009 — has done nothing recently to warrant this kind of opportunity. Rosado, meanwhile, beat three quality opponents in 2012, all on NBC Sports Network, all by knockout. Rosado is the definition of a television-friendly fighter. A matchup with Golovkin would be a war.

    • Super featherweight Teon Kennedy’s injury forced Main Events to find a new opponent for undefeated prospect Jerry Belmontes in the co-feature of the Dec. 8 card on NBC Sports Network. On Monday they announced that Eric Hunter (16-2) would step in. Hunter has been on the shelf for most of the last two years, fighting once (last July) since December of 2010.

    • Kudos to Seth Mitchell for accomplishing a lot in boxing despite not picking up the gloves until he was 24. But this experiment is probably over. You can’t teach a chin and in his last two fights Mitchell has been buzzed by Chazz Witherspoon and knocked out in two rounds by Johnathan Banks. There are things Mitchell can do to improve — he still has no idea how to hold when he gets hurt — but if light hitters like Witherspoon and Banks can wobble him, he’s a sitting duck for one of the Klitschko brothers.

    • Speaking of Banks: I’d like to see him face one more quality opponent before looking for a fight with Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko. A matchup with Tyson Fury, David Price or his preferred choice, Alexander Povetkin, next year could make Banks some money and, if he wins, give him some momentum heading into a major title fight.

    • I’m looking forward to Miguel Cotto-Austin Trout on Dec. 1 at Madison Square Garden, but that undercard is horrendous. Jayson Velez and Danny Jacobs — questionable choices for a televised undercard to begin with — will fight separately on Showtime’s broadcast in fights that do nothing for me. Velez (19-0) will face Salvador Sanchez II (30-4-3), nephew of Mexican legend Salvador Sanchez, while Jacobs (23-1), the former prospect and cancer survivor who will fight for the second time in three months, gets Chris Fitzpatrick (15-2).

    • I don’t know what has gotten into Carl Froch, but after another impressive knockout — this one over handpicked challenger Yusaf Mack — I just don’t know how Lucian Bute can beat him. Froch is just too strong.

    • Bring on Adrien Broner-Ricky Burns.

    • Thank you, Fred Sternburg, for sending out 400 emails letting everyone know that Manny Pacquiao gave away free turkeys last week. My overflowing inbox extends its regards.

    • Hey British promoter Frank Maloney: Your comment that Wladimir Klitschko would be happy not to have to pay Emanuel Steward his 10 percent after a one-sided win over Mariusz Wach last week was disgusting and classless. Steward, a longtime mentor and trainer for Klitschko, lost a battle with cancer last month. Maloney should be ashamed.

    – Chris Mannix


  • Published On Nov 20, 2012
  • Three thoughts from David Price’s swift knockout of Audley Harrison

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    David Price (right) made quick work of Audley Harrison (left) on Saturday in Liverpool, scoring a first-round knockout to retain his British heavyweight title. (AP)

    Three quick thoughts from David Price’s 82-second knockout of Audley Harrison on Saturday night in Liverpool …

    It didn’t prove much, but Price did exactly what he needed to do. The new hope in British heavyweight boxing proved coldly efficient against Harrison, the 2000 Olympic gold medalist whose professional career has failed to realize once-great expectations. A thudding straight right exploded on Harrison’s chin less than a minute into the fight, triggering a punishing flurry capped by a right hook that sent the 40-year-old crashing to the canvas with a broken nose and concussion. Thus Price (14-0, 12 KOs), who turned pro after winning Olympic bronze in 2008 and captured the vacant British heavyweight title last year, passed the first real challenge of his career — a devastating showing that required less time than his spine-tingling ringwalk to “You’ll Never Walk Alone” which electrified the sellout crowd of 8,000 at Liverpool’s Echo Arena. The general thinking is the 29-year-old Price is too raw and inexperienced to challenge Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko, the brothers who collectively rule the division. But given the dearth of fresh challengers at heavyweight and Price’s formidable size — at 6-foot-8, 245 pounds, he’s one of the few contenders who can look down at the champions — many within boxing are bullish on the Liverpudlian’s chances to one day inherit the title. “I think he’d beat the klitchkos now,” tweeted Ricky Hatton after the fight.

    It’s time for Harrison to retire. The faded veteran getting served up to the young lion is a tradition as old as boxing itself, and Saturday’s latest episode was no less cruel. Many had called for Harrison (28-6, 21 KOs) to quit the sport in 2010, after he capitulated so weakly in a third-round knockout loss to David Haye in which he threw just one punch. Those suggestions will only intensify after Harrison was booed from the ring Saturday night, a desultory farewell for a fighter who fell from national hero to figure of public ridicule during a 12-year career marked by mystifying underachievemnt. “If I lose to David Price, I’ve got no future,” Price had said this week. “It’s over for me as a professional fighter if I lose to David Price. This is my door. This is the door I have to walk through. This is the last-chance saloon for me and I would not want it any other way.” After a showing that couldn’t have been any less competitive, Harrison’s decision should be easy.

    Price should fight Tyson Fury. Though Price is tentatively slated to return on December 8 against Matt Skelton (who won on Saturday’s undercard), Frank Maloney, who promotes the Liverpudlian, wasted no time in calling out British compatriot Tyson Fury in the aftermath of Saturday’s laugher. Maloney offered £500,000 to Fury (19-0, 14 KOs), who last year vacated the British heavyweight title rather than face Price, who was the mandatory challenger. Since then, Fury has appeared to change his tune, prodding Price and campaigning for the bout via social media. (“He needs to get off the Twitter, stop Twittering and take this fight,” Maloney said.) Less than an hour later, Fury responded in a foul-mouthed TV interview with Channel 5 from ringside during the James DeGale-Hadillah Mohoumadi bout, expressing his willingness to make a fight the public wants to see, one that could potentially fill a stadium in the U.K. “I’ll fight David Price any day of the week,” Fury chirped. “It’s personal between me and you and I’m going to do you some serious harm, you big stiff idiot.”

    – Bryan Armen Graham


  • Published On Oct 13, 2012
  • Vitali Klitschko shows his prowess in another mismatch

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    Vitali Klitschko overwhelmed Manuel Charr to keep his WBC belt. (Kiril Kudryavtsev/EPA)

    Critics of the heavyweight division have long bemoaned the lack of talent at the top. Saturday afternoon’s WBC title fight between Vitali Klitschko and Manuel Charr will do nothing to quiet them. In a one-sided, dull mismatch, Klitschko picked up a fourth round technical knockout of Charr after the ringside physician ordered the fight stopped due to a cut over Charr’s right eye.

    A few things: First, it was a ridiculous stoppage. The cut was bad, sure, and when Vitali poked his jab in Charr’s face it spread the blood around until Charr’s face looked like it had been colored with a red magic marker. But the ringside doctor should have given Charr’s corner a chance to close it in between rounds. This was too big a moment not to give them a chance.

    Of course, Charr should never have been in that fight to begin with. Charr (21-0) came in with a spotless record but no notable wins on his resume. Granted, there aren’t many obvious opponents for Klitschko to face. Consider the WBC’s top-five: Chris Arreola (already battered by Vitali), Bermane Stiverne (no), Denis Boytsov (similarly unproven), Johnathan Banks (please, God, no) and Marisuz Wach (scheduled to face Wladimir Klitschko in the fall). But Charr was human chum from the beginning, going into a defensive shell early, waving Klitschko in while the 41-year old continued to tee off.

    Charr threw a tantrum after the fight, and in doing so probably saved a little face. He can go back to Germany claiming Klitschko didn’t beat him, that a doctor stopped him from delivering the beating he promised. But he never had a chance, and he knows it.

    There has been a lot of speculation that this could be Vitali’s final fight. He has the Ukranian parliamentary elections in October and his political party, Udar, has been outspoken about making sweeping changes within the government. But he’s not getting out of boxing. He’s in phenomenal condition, has not been threatened in the ring since coming out of retirement in 2008, and makes millions every time he laces up the gloves. Klitschko and David Haye have been circling each other for years and Haye’s spectacular knockout win of Dereck Chisora has made that fight a realistic possibility.

    Even if you don’t like Haye — and many who suffered through his woeful 2011 loss to Wladimir Klitschko don’t — understand this: He can’t be any worse than Charr.

    – Chris Mannix


  • Published On Sep 08, 2012
  • Haye sets his sights on Vitali Klitschko after knocking out Chisora

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    David Haye, Dereck Chisora

    David Haye’s only losses came against Wladimir Klitschko last year and Carl Thompson in 2004. (Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)

    LONDON — Three thoughts from David Haye’s fifth-round knockout of Dereck Chisora …

    That was a heavyweight fight. The scuffle in Munich in February set the tone, and the animosity between Haye (26-2, 24 KOs) and Chisora didn’t dissipate a bit before the bell Saturday. The tension was soup-thick. When the bell rang, Haye and Chisora tore into each other, Chisora bulling forward, trying to back Haye into the ropes, Haye backing up, boxing, winging power shots when Chisora let his guard down.

    Chisora ate some big punches in the first four rounds, but it wasn’t until the fifth when Haye, backing up again, dropped him twice with a pair of crushing right hands. Chisora (15-4) got up after both but was badly hurt following the second one, forcing the referee to stop the fight.

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  • Published On Jul 14, 2012
  • Evander Holyfield, ringside for Mayweather-Cotto, wants a Klitschko

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    Evander Holyfield, at 49 years old, says he’s still active and would like to fight for the heavyweight title against one of the Klitschko brothers. (AP)

    LAS VEGAS — Evander Holyfield is five months shy of his 50th birthday but the former undisputed heavyweight champion still believes he will be the current  undisputed heavyweight champion.

    “I’d like to fight a Klitschko,” Holyfield said Saturday at ringside during the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto fight. “I want to be a champion. I’ll fight any one of the champions.”

    Holyfield has been out of the ring since last May, when he knocked out Brian Nielsen. Holyfield says he is still active and hopes to have a fight before the end of the year. But there’s a catch: He says he will only fight again if it is a title fight.

    “If I have to fight somebody else, why fight?” Holyfield said. “I’m only interested in championship fights.”

    Holyfield could technically fight for a title without going through one of the Klitschkos. Alexander Povetkin holds the WBA “regular” heavyweight title — the organization bizarrely elevated Wladimir Klitschko to “super champion” shortly after he won the title from David Haye — and rumors persist that Povetkin’s promoter, Sauerland Event, is interested in making a Povetkin-Holyfield fight later in the year.

    “At the age of 50, I thought I’d be to be out of the game,” Holyfield said. “I thought I would have accomplished all I wanted to accomplish. But I still want to fight for the title.”

    – Chris Mannix


  • Published On May 05, 2012
  • Seth Mitchell talks heavyweight future, football-to-boxing transition and more

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    Seth Mitchell

    Seth Mitchell said he would consider a fight against one of the Klitschko brothers, for the right price. (Mel Evans/AP)

    LAS VEGAS — Megafights like Saturday night’s showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto generally bring many of boxing’s biggest names to town. That includes Seth Mitchell, the former Michigan State linebacker and current heavyweight prospect, who last weekend defeated Chazz Witherspoon in a third-round knockout.

    Mitchell sat down for a quick conversation with SI.com while in town for Saturday’s fight.

    You were a football player. How in the heck did you get into boxing?

    I went to Madison Square Garden and saw [Ravens safety] Tom Zbikowski’s pro debut, in 2006. I played against him in college. I thought, ‘if he could do it, I could do it.’ I had no experience. I was a very casual fan. I watched the major fights. I was a Tyson fan growing up. But I didn’t know a lot about it.”

    What made you think you would be good at it?

    Athletics is my gift. Not sport, athletics. I’ve always stood out when it comes to competing. I only played football for three years, and I was an All-American. My drive, my will, I figured I would have success.

    Did you take to it quickly?

    The transition from always running sprints to running three and four miles, it’s different. You have to train yourself to go hard for three minutes versus in football, you get a 30-35 second break. And you can’t train to take a punch. That was the toughest part. Playing middle linebacker in football, I was always tight when I would take on and engage those blockers. Where in boxing, you have to relax. It took me sometime to learn to relax in the ring.

    You got buzzed pretty good by Witherspoon in that first round, didn’t you?

    I was hurt. I had been buzzed three times before, but that time I was hurt. I have to start keeping that left hand up.

    Did you learn anything from that?

    If you had asked me how I would have reacted before, I would have told you that is how I would react. That I would be OK. But I didn’t know. Now I know I can recover. I know I have that drive and that will. I have to keep that left hand up. I have to keep my head on a swivel.

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  • Published On May 04, 2012
  • Klitschko unanimously beats Chisora, but post-fight brawl steals the show

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    Dereck Chisora lost to Vitali Klitschko before taking on fellow boxer David Haye in a post-fight press conference. (AP)

    MUNICH — Three thoughts from Vitali Klitschko’s unanimous decision win over Dereck Chisora:

    Let’s start with the brawl. Because this will be all over YouTube, you know, now. During the post-fight press conference David Haye, who was attending the fight as a commentator for a British outlet, started barking at Klitschko. He demanded a fight. Klitschko’s manager, Bernd Boente, told Haye unequivocally, “You’re out. You can’t talk your way into this fight.” After a few minutes, Chisora — who Haye has openly criticized — got involved. Chisora made fun of Haye’s toe. Haye made fun of Chisora’s record. Chisora challenged Haye to fight him. Haye said he would knock him out. Chisora left the dais and told Haye to say it to his face. Haye drilled him with an elbow to the chops.

    From there, it was bedlam. Haye hit Chisora. Chisora hit Haye. Haye hit Chisora’s trainer, Don Charles. Someone hit Haye’s trainer, Adam Booth, who was cut at the top of his forehead. Haye swung a tripod at one of Chisora’s friends. After a few minutes of brawling, Haye left, and Chisora told Booth, “David is going to fight me or I’m going to shoot him. I’m going to shoot him in the street. I’ll burn him.”


    All this amused the Klitschko’s, who stayed out of the fray. Wladimir stood on a chair, laughing. Vitali shook his head and left the room. Boente suggested that Haye and Chisora fight, with the winner earning a shot at Vitali’s WBC heavyweight title belt. Later, a handful of police cars were spotted outside the building, waiting, I was told, for Chisora. All in all, a wild ending to the night.

    Chisora sure makes things interesting. One day after slapping Klitschko at the weigh-in — a shot Chisora says he threw because he promised his mother that when he was face-to-face with a Klitschko he would slap one — Chisora nearly came to blows with Wladimir Klitschko in his dressing room. Sources say Wladimir, who was in the room inspecting Chisora’s hand wraps, as he often does in Vitali’s fights, took issue with the way Chisora was wrapping his hands, prompting Chisora to rip his wraps off and threaten not to fight. When he finally did get in the ring, Chisora spit water in Wladimir’s face during introductions. “The hardest thing I have ever done,” Wladimir told me later, “was not break his face.”

    The Klitschko’s have dealt with trash talkers before, but Chisora’s behavior clearly struck a nerve. “I have big respect for him as a fighter,” Vitali said, “but no respect for him as a human.”


    Oh yeah, there was a fight.
    Chisora talked tough but like most of Vitali’s opponents — Klitschko is now 9-0 since coming out of retirement in 2008 — he didn’t measure up. Chisora was aggressive early, taking the fight to Vitali, who struggled throwing his jab due to an arm/hand injury he suffered in the fourth round. Still, Vitali was never in trouble, popping right hands off Chisora’s head and peppering him with combinations. It wasn’t an A+ performance but even Chisora admitted after the fight Vitali had gotten the job done.

    – Chris Mannix


  • Published On Feb 18, 2012
  • Dereck Chisora slaps Vitali Klitschko at weigh-in for title fight

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    Dereck Chisora (right) caused a stir when he slapped Vitali Klitschko at the weigh-in for Saturday's heavyweight title fight in Munich. (Youtube.com)

    MUNICH — At the weigh-in for his fight against Robert Helenius in December, Dereck Chisora nearly sparked a riot when he got into a shoving match with Helenius on the dais. On Friday, Chisora did it again: after weighing in for his WBC heavyweight title fight against Vitali Klitschko, Chisora slapped Klitschko with a hard right hand.

    Klitschko appeared angry, but stayed composed. He took a step back and stared at Chisora, pointing a long arm at the Briton, who promptly fled the stage. Members of Klitschko’s team, however, started barking at Chisora, screaming “You f—ed up now, you really f—ed up” in his general direction. They also got in the face of Chisora’s trainer, Don Charles, who remained on the stage to test out the gloves being used in the fight.


    Klitschko-Chisora will air in the U.S. on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET on Epix and EpixHD.com.

    – Chris Mannix


  • Published On Feb 17, 2012


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