WBC champ Oleg Maskaev to fight unknown in Moscow
Just when you thought all might be well in heavyweight land, word comes from Dennis Rappaport, longtime promoter of newly crowned WBC heavyweight champion Oleg Maskaev, that Big O will make his first defense in mid-December in Moscow against none other than Peter Okhello.
If that name doesn’t ring a bell you’re not alone. The 34-year-old, 6-foot-4-inch Okhello was born in Uganda, fights out of Nagoya, Japan, where he’s affectionately known as ‘Ishimaru,” and has a respectable but not earthshattering record of 18 wins and 4 losses, with 16 of those wins coming by way of KO.
The biggest names on Okhello’s ledger are Kali Mehan, to whom he lost by KO3 in 1999 in Japan, Imamu Mayfield, to whom he dropped a 6 round UD in Jersey City in 2002, and Sinan Samil Sam, to whom the Ugandan dropped a UD over twelve in 2005 at the BigBox in Kempton, Germany.
Maskaev vs. Okhello is “pretty much a done deal. He’s in the rankings, he’s available and it’s a voluntary defense,” Rappaport told ESPN.com.
Many were hoping Maskaev â€“ whose clutch stoppage of Hasim Rahman Rappaport described to TSS as a “truly Cinderella ending to a Cinderella story” â€“ might make a move at reunification as soon as possible, but the proposed Nov. 11 date with IBF champion Wladimir Klitschko at Madison Square Garden was too much/too soon for Big O; his hands are still sore, he has a hairline fracture at his elbow, a troublesome back, and assorted welts and bruises to contend with.
“It was about a month too soon for Oleg to be ready to fight Klitschko,” Rappaport insisted. “It’s a fight we wanted and a fight we worked on, but the timing just wasn’t right. It looks like what we are going to do is for the first time have a heavyweight championship fight in Moscow. Oleg can get in a voluntary fight and then we can come back here for the big fights.”
The clock is ticking. We say, let Maskaev have his ‘easy payday.’ Maybe then, after the side trip to Russia to fight Okhello, he can get “back to the U.S. for successive defenses.”