Former WBO/IBF heavyweight champion Chris Byrd (40-3-1, 21 KOs) goes up against Alexander Povetkin 13-0, 10 KOs), former 2004 Olympics Gold medal winner in the super heavyweight, this Saturday iat the Messehalle, Erfurt, in Thüringen, Germany. The bout is a box off for the fight to fight IBF heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. At 28, Povetkin is considered by many to the the best heavyweight prospect in the division, despite being somewhat undersized at only 6’2. He doesn’t have a lot of power, either, but he makes up for it by throwing a lot of punches and avoiding the incoming fire from his opponents. At this early point in his career, Povetkin appears to be being brought along a bit too fast for his own good, because he doesn’t seem to be even near Wladimir Klitschko in ability, size or power, something that will be found out should Povetkin get by Byrd on Saturday.
Former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman (44-6-2, 35 KOs) stopped Cerrone Fox (8-7, 5 KOs) in the 1st round on Thursday night at the Kewadin Casino, in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan. Rahman, 34, blasted out Fox with a powerful combination, sending him to the canvas where referee Dale Grable counted him out at 2:27 of the first round. The fight was in now way competitive, as Fox was gunshy from the very first, looking as if he was just there to survive.
Former IBF flyweight champion Vic Darchinyan (29-1, 23 KOs) had a tough time in stopping Federico Catubay (20-14-3, 11 KOs) in the 12th round on Saturday night at the Auburn RSL Club, Auburn (Sydney), in New South Wales, Australia. In his first bout since losing his IBF flyweight title to Nonito Donaire in a 5th round knockout on July 7th, Darchinyan struggled with Catubay and was hurt several times by wild shots. However, Darchinyan continued with his own power shots and eventually knocked Catubay down in the 7th, and 11th rounds before the fight was ultimately stopped in the 12th.
WBA middleweight champion Felix Sturm (28-2-1, 12 KOs) fought to a 12-round draw against American challenger Randy Griffin (24-1-3, 12 KOs) on Saturday night at the Gerry Weber Stadium in Germany. The final judges’ scores were 114-114, 115-114 for Sturm and 117-111 for Griffin. I personally had Griffin winning easily by 8 rounds to four. It wasn’t a close fight and I was being generous by giving Sturm two of the four rounds, because he out-punched in every round of the fight and mostly limited to jabs as his main weapon. Griffin dominated the first two rounds of the fight, attacking Sturm nonstop and hitting him with a massive amount of hooks.
However, each time that Stum landed anything – almost entirely jabs – the German crowd would roar with approval, as if he’d scored a knockdown or something. It had to have had an effect on the judges because Sturm really took a beating in every round and rarely let his hands go at all.
In one of the most exciting fights of the year, Argentinean welterweight Sebastian Lujan (28-5-2, 20 KOs) knocked out Walter Matthysse (26-3, 25 KOs) in the fifth round on Friday night at the Club Atletico Newell’s Old Boys, Rosario, in Santa Fe, Argentina. Both fighters were knocked down in the fight with Lujan going down in the 1st and Matthysse knocked down in the 4th and 5th round. Lujan, 26, nailed Matthysse with two left hooks in the 5th, sending him to the canvas out cold.
According to Sports Illustrated, International Boxing Federation heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko is in talks with World Boxing Organization heavyweight champion Sultan Ibragimov about a possible unification bout in 2008. Klitschko, 31, the younger brother of former heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, has been obsessed with unifying the title for the past year. However, up to this point Wladimir has had little luck in attracting the other heavyweight title holders into a bout with him. Ibragimov, who recently easily defeated 44-year old challenger Evander Holyfield, appears to be interested in taking on Wladimir. Why, that’s a good question. It would seem that Ibragimov would have little chance in defeating Wladimir, and by taking him on it would seem very likely that he’ll lose his title, and and look bad in doing so.
However, it’s not so hard understand when you see that heavyweight challengers Tony Thompson and Alexander Dimitrenko are breathing down Ibragimov’s neck, both of which would have an excellent chance at beating Ibragimov almost as easily as Wladimir will.
Heavily hyped prospect Travis Walker (25-1-1, 19 KOs) was brought to earth on Friday night, losing by 1st round TKO in the first 15 seconds of the fight to 2000 super heavyweight amateur star TJ Wilson (12-1, 8 KOs). Walker, 28, a six foot four inch muscle bound heavyweight known for his devastating knockout power, made a tactical blunder in the first few seconds of the bout when he let the 6’6″ 280 lb Wilson immediately back him up into a corner where he couldn’t escape the power shots thrown by Wilson. Within 15 seconds, Wilson unleashed a slurry of punches which all connected to Walker’s head, the last two stunning him can causing him to drop his hands to his side.
The referee quickly jumped in and stopped the bout, wanting to prevent Walker from being seriously hurt by Wilson. An argument can be made that the referee jumped in a little too soon, however, Walker only threw one punch in the fight before the stoppage and was taking serious punishment before the referee chose to stop the bout. I have no doubt that Walker would have been dropped in another 10-20 seconds the way Wilson was punching, mainly because Wilson was just much too fast and large to be dislodged from his punching position, especially the way Walker was looking after absorbing the last two shots.
Lucian Bute (21-0, 17 KOs) remained unbeaten on Friday night as he stopped Colombian Alejandro Berrio (26-5, 25 KOs) in the 11th round at the Bell Centre, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The southpaw Bute, 27, led all the way, jabbing constantly and moving on the outside to stay away from the knockout artist Berrio. Despite sporting two badly swollen eyes, Bute connected with two powerful left hooks to drop an exhausted Berrio in the 11th round. Referee Marlon Wright moved in and put a halt to the bout. Berrio stalked Bute round after round, landing an occasional bomb whenever Bute would remain stationary long enough for Berrio to connect. However, Bute’s fighting style was all wrong for Berrio, who prefers his opponents to stand in front of him rather than the hit and run type that Bute more closely resembles.
In the early rounds, Bute used stinging combinations and a accurate jab to keep Berrio on the outside. Berrio remained patient, looking as if he knew that he would catch up to Bute sooner or later. However, by the 8th round Berrio was now looking desperate, as he was trailing badly by that time.
Heavyweight Juan Carlos Gomez (43-1, 35 KOs) dominated the 42-year old Oliver McCall (51-9, 36 KOs) beating him by 12-round unanimous decision at the Estrel Convention Center, Neukoelln, in Berlin, Germany. The final judges’ scores were 116-112, 118-110 and 118-110, giving Gomez the victory. Strangely enough, this was the second time that Gomez has beaten the forty year old McCall, having beaten him two years ago by unanimous decision only to have the victory ruled a no-contest when drugs showed up in his urine after the fight. This time, however, the victory was even easier as the southpaw Gomez controlled the action with his long jab and straight left hand.
For some reason, McCall seemed to be holding back, as if he was trying to preserve his energy until the right moment in which to expend it. However, by the time that McCall began to start punching in the 8th round, he seemed to lack the power in his shots that he normally has in the early rounds of his fight. Obviously, it was a tactical error on his part, something he should have accounted for because he did very little in the first seven rounds of the fight other than following Gomez around the ring, taking shots during much of the time.
Former 2004 heavyweight Olympic gold medalist for the Cuban team, Odlanier Solis (5-0, 4 KOs) obliterated American Jeremy Bates (21-15-1, 18 KOs) in the 2nd round tonight at the Estrel Convention Center, Neukoelln, in Berlin, Germany. Using mostly uppercuts and powerful body shots, Solis pounded away at Bates, 33, knocking him down in the 1st round, and then hurting him badly in the 2nd round with a devastating right uppercut that sent him to the ropes where the referee moved in and halted the bout.
Solis, 27, looked remarkably overweight at 250+ pounds, 50 more than he weighed in three years ago when he won the heavyweight gold medal in the 2004 Olympics. I suppose Solis feels that he needs the weight to compete in the heavyweight division, where the money is better than the cruiserweight division – where Solis should really be fighting at his height (six feet). However, mixed in with all the blubber that Solis has put on there’s a decent amount of muscle, which makes him effective against the unskilled heavyweights in the division like Bates.