By: John Hoolan
So 2014 is upon us and it’s looking like a great year is in store for the heavyweight division.
Let’s recap on the five I wrote about last Jan…
The five I said would have big years in 2013 were Lucas Browne (now on the brink of the commonwealth title and a possible world title shot). Tyson Fury (one fight last year thanks to the celebrity that is Haye). David Price (who had a big 2013, sadly for him for all the wrong reasons). Robert Helenius (who like Fury only had the one fight last year, however his inactivity was due to injury) and Magomed Abdusalamov who is currently on a very long hard road to recovery after he went into a coma following his last fight in November – I wish him well.
This year I have chosen 3 that I think will have a big year in 2014 – Lucas Browne, Derek Chisora and Deontay Wilder.
Ranked No 11 by the WBC, Lucas had five fights in 2013, four of which ended before the final bell. The one which went the distance was his UD over 12 rounds against former three-weight world champion James Toney, which was for the lightly regarded WBF title. The highlight of his year was his win against the highly regarded Richard Towers in an eliminator for the commonwealth title, which Browne won by 5th round TKO.
Browne’s record now stands at 19 fights, 19 wins, 17 KOs (11 of which have been in the first 3 rounds). After his win over Towers he was next fight should have been against David Price for his Commonwealth Belt, however Price vacated all his titles, while he trys to rebuild his career in Germany with the Sauerland team.
Browne is due to fight for the vacant title in Victoria on the 3rd April. As yet no opponent has been named for the fight, however out of those mentioned and available I fully expect Browne to win and win well. That then leaves his next step…
Last year there was talk of a possible fight with Alex Leapai, however that fight may well be a thing of the past now, especially as Leapai has done a remarkable job in manoeuvring himself into the mandatory challenger for Wlad’s WBO belt, a fight expected to take place around April time. Aussie boxing is certainly on the up.
Lucas has been mentioned in dispatches by both Wilder and Fury in recent months as a possible fight. Whilst I think Wilder is being moved in a different direction, I could see Browne fighting the winner of the possible Fury Vs Chisora fight, which could also be a elimination bout for a shot at one of the titles as mandatory. Once he has fought for the commonwealth a fight Vs Mike Perez would be a good match up.
Lucas has come far in a fairly short period of time. When I wrote a similiar article Jan he was the outsider, now he is very much a main player. Most of what he has achieved has been through his own efforts and without the benefit of a settled corner team, especially a trainer. Once this is solved then I see nothing but great things for Browne. Future Champion Of The World? In my humble opinion – Yes, no doubt.
Chisora has kept himself busy in 2013. He has shown himself to have been fitter and sharper than he has ever been which has resulted in all four of his fights being TKO stoppage wins. Picking up four belts along the way (WBA International Title, WBO International Title, EBU European Title & WBA inter-continental Title), whilst also getting himself ranked in the top 15 by all four of the major bodies, which is no mean feat – No 6 by the WBC, No 14 by the WBA, No 7 by the IBF & No 2 by the WBO – Impressive.
Chisora’s next fight is against Andriy Rudenko in his first defence of his European title. Rudenko has an impressive record on paper of 16 KOs from 24 wins and is classed as “The Klitschko” clone, however he has never fought outside the Ukraine before and whilst anything is possible with one punch in the heavys, I don’t see him beating Chisora. Next up it is looking very likely that there will be a rematch between Fury and Chisora. Frank Warren would have you believe it is going to be an eliminator fight, it won’t be, it would however be a fascinating fight. The original fight in 2011 was for the Commonwealth Title and saw a hugely out of shape Chisora lose to a UD over 12 rounds. With his renewed focus, I see a very different result this time around should the fight happen.
Of course however, with Chisora being ranked with all four of the main bodies he has a lot of options open to him and perhaps Fury needs him more, Chisora and Warren could go in a different direction and may look at a possible fight with Jennings who is also ranked in the top 15 by all four bodies.
If Chisora can keep his focus then the world is his oyster, he took Vitali to 12th round decision in 2012 and has been in with some top fighters. Of the three I highlight in this article he is perhaps the most experienced, his record is 19 fights, 15 wins, 13 by KO.
Deontay Wilder is perhaps the dark horse of the three, whilst also possibly the most likely to destroy all challengers no matter if the name is Browne, Chisora or Klitschko. The problem with Wilder is that no-one really knows how good he is yet. He has an incredibly impressive record of 30 fights winning all by KO which can not be taken away, even if the quality of those fighters can be called into question. You can only beat what’s in front of you. He is, like Chisora ranked by all four of the world bodies – No 3 WBC, No 7 WBA, No 11 IBF & No 4 WBO.
Wilder has called out Fury lately via twitter, whilst Fury has returned fire, Chisora has called out Wilder via an online open letter and has been told by Wilder to wait his turn, whilst Browne has been mentioned by all them simply replying he’ll fight them all. So what next for Wilder?
Wilder has said recently that he would like to fight Tyson Fury in his next fight, although I don’t think either people’s handlers would want that fight without a belt on the line. Most likely for Wilder is for him to fight the winner of the Stiverne Vs Arreola rematch who will be fighting for the WBC belt vacated by Vitali, would he win a fight against one of those 2 fighters? Wilder certanly thinks he beats Stiverne and has almost gone as far recently to call him a bum.
Both Stiverne and Arreola are more experienced than Wilder as the biggest name on Wilder’s “CV” is Siarhei Liakhovich, closely followed by Audley Harrison, however his power can not be taken for granted and is still very much an unknown quantity. Should he beat either Stiverne or Arreola then I could see a big money clash Vs Fury perhaps in late autumn which would put paid to Fury Vs Chisora, yet might open a door for Browne Vs Chisora. If Wilder can live up the hype, which seems to grow louder with each passing day, then he will be awesome, I am keeping my powder dry for the time being…
So having started out with the intention of writing just about three fighters, I have ended up mentioning 8 heavyweights who could all have a big say in the 2014 heavyweight scence. Of them all I think Chisora is most likely the best boxer, yet in the heavys that is not always the be all and end all, which I find it such a great division.
I wish them all well…by