Hope for the Heavyweights Yet?
October 1st, 1993, I was a month shy of my 10th birthday. I remember it like yesterday.
We were all huddled round the TV, cheering and chanting as 28-year-old Lennox Lewis delivered a huge left hook which rocked Frank Bruno. Lewis proceeded to unload flurry of punches and referee Micky Vann intervened and stopped the fight. The Lion had retained his WBC title in the Cardiff Arms arena.
This was my 1st vivid memory of Heavyweight boxing as a boy, and of course, the division has always carried the pressure and expectations of the sport on its shoulders.
However, it’s no secret that the post-Lewis world of Klitschko domination has been largely a forgettable decade.
There has been a huge void with nobody to fill it. Yet, it appears that there’s hope in the future, with some promising talent seeping in at various stages of their careers. Let’s discuss who I feel will be holding the torch over the next decade, once the Klitschko brothers are no longer in the picture.
Deontay Wilder: 30-0: 30 KO’s.
The Bronze Bomber, 28 yrs old, hailing from Alabama has a punch perfect record. Wilder has big power, speed and stands at a towering 6′ 7″. Despite all of the promise, the major issue with Wilder is that he hasn’t fought anyone of significance yet.
It’s possible that Wilder gets a chance at one of the Klitschko brothers next year. Then we will see how good he really is, of course. There’s also a potential match-up with the winner of David Haye vs. Tyson Fury, with their fight rescheduled for February 2014, not to mention fellow American prospect Bryant Jennings. Either way, 2014 will be a defining year for this man.
Tyson Fury: 21-0: 15 KO’s
Fury was on the cusp of an IBF eliminator with Kubrat Pulav to face Wladimir Klitschko, when he agreed to fight David Haye in September. Yet, the fight was postponed due to a David Haye injury, leaving Fury on the shelf.
Fury defeated Kevin Johnson and more recently, Steve Cunningham. However, in that fight Fury was decked in the 2nd round, and needed to show some real heart to get up off his backside and knock Cunningham out in the 7th.
Fury can punch, and he uses his clear weight advantage to his favor against smaller opponents such as Cunningham. At 6′ 9″, he has great height and reach. As the Cunningham fight showed though, my fear for him is his chin. Against Wilder, or Haye, he will visit the canvas at some stage, and he will need to fight his way out of trouble. He may never be able to get past a Klitschko, but he’s likely to be at the forefront of the division when they’re gone.
Andy Ruiz Jr: 20-0: 14 KO’s
Mexican-American Ruiz has a fantastic amateur pedigree background, 104-8 under Cuban trainer Fernando Ferrer. He went on to win two Mexican National Junior Olympics gold medals and won the World Ringside Heavyweight Championship. Andy represented Mexico in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
He doesn’t look like a future heavyweight star with his corpulent physique and short stature. Then you see him throwing punches. His technique is superb and unlike many big men, he throws shots in combination. He throws punches like a man in a lower weight class. Against fellow American unbeaten Joe Hanks earlier this year, he was awfully impressive. Looks can be deceiving, as he easily dispatched of a foe that looked far more formidable, reminding us boxing is not a pose-down.
Ruiz now trained by Freddie Roach is certainly progressing in a steady manner.
Hughie Fury: 11-0: 6 KO’s
Tyson’s 19-year-old cousin, trained by his father Peter Fury, turned pro earlier this year. What I have been impressed with his how active he has been, fighting on Sundays at York Hall in London to get that experience and exposure.
He regularally spars with Tyson and holds his own. Definitely will be knocking on the door for a British title soon. I, for one, hope he has a great rivalry with the great British hope Anthony Joshua.
Anthony Joshua: 2-0: 2 KO’s
Olympic Gold Medalist Anthony Joshua is labelled at the next great thing from the British shores. Joshua is a real athletic specimen for a heavyweight. He is as lean as a welter, moves like a middle, and punches like a heavy.
Hopefully Joshya uses Hughie as an example for how active he needs to be. He is due to fight on Thursday, November 14th headlining a UK vs. USA Prizefighter in London. He will also appear on the Carl Froch vs. George Groves undercard and on another card in London before the year is out, meaning he should comfortably be 5-0 before the year is out.