My Take on the Heavyweight Scene

Saturday 29th April 2017 – Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko, the night that signalled the return of the heavyweight division into the public consciousness. The heavyweight division can capture the attention of the general public like no other division can, illustrated by the 90,000 people in attendance that night. For so long the division had lay dormant under the reign of Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko. Last Saturday’s heavyweight classic signalled the start of another golden era for the heavyweight division, but who will follow in the footsteps of Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis and write themselves into the history books?

The Current Champions 

Anthony Joshua 

250px-Anthony_JoshuaAge – 27

Height – 1.98m

Reach – 208cm

Record – 19-0 (19 KOs)

The current IBF and WBA heavyweight champion after his conquest of Klitschko last Saturday. In my opinion the best of the current champions and for sure the man to beat in the division. Joshua answered many questions against Klitschko; can he take a shot? Yes. Can he take his knockout power into the later rounds? Yes. Can he win against an opponent of equal size? Yes. After only 19 professional fights, AJ has unified the IBF and WBA titles, but he has probably learnt more from his last fight than in the previous 18 combined! I expect him to be an even more fearsome prospect after his victory against Klitschko and no doubt we will see ‘AJ’ in more unification fights in 2018.

Deontay Wilder 

article-2624566-1B3498DB000005DC-214_634x574Age – 31

Height – 2.01m

Reach – 211cm

Record – 38-0 (37 KOs)

Deontay Wilder is the WBC belt holder and is the longest serving champion out of the current crop, having held his belt for over 2 years. Despite an impressive sounding 38-0 record and only failing to win by KO in one fight, Wilder’s record is not overly impressive. His toughest test to date came on the night he won the title against Bermane Stiverne via unanimous decision. Stiverne is the only fighter Wilder has faced that I believe is at world-level and Wilder did not dispatch him with ease like he has his other opponents. In fact, in two of Wilder’s most recent fights against Artur Szpilka and Gerald Washington he was being out-boxed for long periods before he scored the KO. Wilder needed his concussive knockout power to get him out of jail in those fights but against higher level opponents he may not be given the opportunity. Never the less, Wilder’s pure natural power and sheer size give him a chance against any opponent.

Joseph Parker

joseph-parker-shortsAge – 25

Height – 1.93m

Reach – 193cm

Record – 23-0 (18KOs)

Joseph Parker is the WBO heavyweight champion from New Zealand. A few years ago when Parker and Joshua were still just prospects coming through the ranks, I saw Parker as someone who could match Joshua’s combination of speed and power. However, despite winning the WBO belt along the way, Parker has looked less impressive as his level of opponent has improved. In 3 out of Parker’s last 5 fights he has been taken the distanceIn his most recent outing he looked lost for ideas when he couldn’t get the KO against late replacement and former sparring partner Razvan Cojanu. I believe Parker is the weakest out of the current champions but at 25 years of age, he has the time to make improvements and challenge the big stars of the division.

Next up for Parker is probably a fight against mandatory challenger Hughie Fury who will be a tough test for Parker. If Parker can best Fury then big unification fights are a possibility in the future.

The Contenders

Tyson Fury

1EB048C200000578-3347386-The_boxer_has_attracted_controversy_for_his_views_on_homosexuali-a-7_1449386618489

Age – 28

Height – 2.06m

Reach – 216cm

Record – 25-0 (18 KOs)

Tyson Fury was the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion after he ended Wladimir Klitschko’s decade long unbeaten run in November 2015. Since then however, Fury has been stripped of his IBF title and vacated his WBA and WBO titles due to mental health issues. Fury admitted to taking cocaine to help him cope with depression and as a consequence is currently serving a ban that he is trying to get overturned. Should the British Boxing Board of Control reinstate Fury’s boxing license, he is aiming to make his comeback fight on July 8th and has wasted no time in calling out the divisions new start Anthony Joshua.

After such a long period of inactivity, Fury will need a few warm-up fights before getting in the ring with ‘AJ’ and will also need to get back into fighting shape, after reportedly ballooning up to 26 stone. In my opinion, Fury is the biggest threat to Joshua’s crown due to his superior height, footwork and boxing skills. If Fury can rediscover his passion for boxing, I have no doubt that he will get his wish and fight Joshua in what will be one of the UK’s biggest ever fights.

Luis Ortiz

luis_ortizAge – 38

Height – 1.93m

Reach – 213cm

Record – 27-0 (23 KOs)

Luis Ortiz has been branded the most avoided man in the heavyweight division and has claimed he would knock Joshua out within 8 rounds. Ortiz is the mandatory challenger to Joshua’s WBA belt but it’s unlikely that they’ll meet in the near future as Joshua seems to be looking at other fights. No doubt the undefeated Cuban would cause anyone in the division serious problems with his power and counterpunching ability, not to mention that he’s also a southpaw. Ortiz has some impressive performances on his record including devastating knockouts against Tony Thompson and Bryant Jennings. The one blip on his record however came recently against Malik Scott who he beat by unanimous decision, an opponent who has been knocked out by Wilder and Chisora in the past. Ortiz hasn’t taken much damage throughout his professional career, but at the age of 38, Ortiz has a limited time to make a big impact in the heavyweight division.

Kubrat Pulev
280px-KubratPulev
Age – 36

Height – 1.94m

Reach – 203cm

Record – 25-1 (13 KOs)

Pulev is another mandatory of Joshua’s but this time to his IBF belt. Pulev only has a solitary loss on his record at the hands of Wladimir Klitschko where he was knocked down 4 times on his way to a 5th round knockout. Since this he has bounced back with 5 straight wins, including a good victory over Dereck Chisora. I haven’t watched much of Pulev but his record suggests he wouldn’t give Joshua too many problems and would probably succumb the Joshua’s power in the first half of the fight.

My Dream Heavyweight Fight For the Future:

Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder – it certainly doesn’t take a genius to work out that this fight would not go the distance. I doubt the fight would even go past 6 rounds but whilst it lasted it’d be a great fight! The winner would be whoever landed first and I’d slightly favour Joshua as he is the more skilled boxer in my opinion and is only going to keep improving as he is still new to the game (AJ only started amateur boxing in 2008!). However, Wilder would have more than a punchers chance as he is physically Joshua’s match and would hold a height and reach advantage.

 

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