The Changing Landscape Of The Heavyweight Division

By Niall Doran

At the moment the Heavyweight Division seems to be in a bit of a transitional period. With Vitali Klitschko on the verge of retirement there is an opening beginning to emerge for a new champion to reign alongside his brother Wladimir Klitschko.

With David Price getting stopped in the 2nd round last weekend  and Audley Harrison’s unexpected victory in Prizefighter, the domestic scene in Britain and Ireland seems to be wide open again. I think Price will comeback and to be fair the shot that stopped him connected on the ear which in some rare cases can mess up a fighter’s balance and equilibrium. That’s all I think really happened, a lucky punch in essence. For the time being however his world title aspirations are well and truly quashed which leaves an opening for some one else. That some one else more than likely will be Tyson Fury who makes his American debut in April against Steve Cunningham. Provided he gets past him I think a good match might be him against Audley Harrison. I’d expect Tyson Fury to beat Audley in what would sure to be a massive ticket seller and could potentially get the casual sports fans talking about and interested in the fight.

Another question is of course will David Haye fight again? He said that if he does not get a shot at Vitali then he will stay retired. I’m not sure am I totally convinced of that though. I mean, how many times have we seen boxers over the years been drawn back to the magic lure of the sport or in most cases the lure of another big pay day? It is probably the hardest of all sports to walk away from and to actually stay away from. Very few seem to achieve this (Lennox Lewis springs to mind as a rare example of someone who did). I think Haye is  a man who is a competitor by nature and will want to finish his career on some sort of high note, ultimately erasing that painful memory of losing to Wladmir a couple of years ago. He’ll be back, just give him time.

In America you have a potential rematch looming on the horizon between Seth Mitchell and Jonathan Banks. With Banks dashing Mitchell’s hopes of becoming the next American Heavyweight star in their last bout, it will be interesting to see how Mitchell reacts in a return match. The winner of this fight I would have thought would surely be in the mix to fight Wladimir Klitschko or if Vitali were to retire, a vacated WBC Belt fight with some one else.

Another man that needs a mention is Russia’s Alexander Povetkin. Currently Povetkin holds a version of the WBA title and has a fine record of 25-0. To me he seems like a good technical and well schooled fighter, a typically tough pugilist with a conventional Soviet Union style. Looking through his record the only decent wins I can see at the moment really are against Marco Huck (a fight that was very close) and a decent win over Ruslan Chagaev when he won the title originally. I think he has more to show and has much more room to improve. A fight against Wladimir Klitschko (that he has been linked to recently) would certainly show whether he is the real deal or not.

As the next generation of heavyweights start to come through over the next few years one can only wonder will we ever have legendary heavyweights again like Lewis, Tyson and Holyfield like we did in the 90’s? Maybe Tyson Fury will be that man? Maybe David Price will come back stronger than ever from his defeat at the weekend?

Since boxing began people have always been drawn to the heavyweights. There has always been a lure to watching the big men fight one another. Perhaps it is still people’s perception that the heavyweight champion of the world is regarded as one of the strongest men in the world, and is still one of the most respected accomplishments in all of sports to win. One thing is for sure, if a young Heavyweight like Tyson Fury took the division by the scruff of the neck and became unified Heavyweight Champion of the World, it would help propel boxing back again to the old days when fights were broadcasted to the masses on terrestrial tv.

Boxing for me is at it’s best when two great heavyweight fighters are exchanging bombs with one another until another man is rendered unconscious. It is almost a primal fascination of sorts to watch these giants partake in combat with one another. As an Irish man, it would be great if Tyson Fury could be that next great heavyweight that we have all been waiting on for so long it seems!

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