We’ve entered the age of the giant heavyweights. The days of a small 5-11 heavyweight with shocking power or a 6’3” heavyweight with legs that can nimbly move about like a bantamweight are gone.
The brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko showed the world that height and power can dominate in the heavyweight division. The days of Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali are a foregone era.
Golden Boy Promotions is betting that China’s giant heavyweight Taishan Dong (2-0, 2 Kos) can be the next heavyweight champion. The Beijing bomber meets Roy McCrary (3-2) tomorrow, Friday, at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio. Fox Sports 1 will televise the affair.
“He’s the biggest fighter that anyone has seen in the ring and he has talent. He’s been working and progressing and has speed, and tremendous power. He demonstrated that in his last two fights. He’s 2 and 0 with 2 knockouts,” said Oscar De La Hoya, president of Golden Boy Promotions. “He’s exciting to watch. Everywhere we take him, people want him back.”
In Taishan’s last fight he lumbered forward but not too slowly. Though his speed was by no means blistering, the punches he landed on Tommy Washington Jr. thudded with force. One solid blow into the first round was all it took for Taishan to blast Washington unconscious.
He didn’t waste punches while following Washington around the ring. But when he unleashed his punches they were quicker than expected.
Listed at 7-feet in height, Taishan, 26, won’t be the first heavyweight at that height.
Former champion Nicolay Valuev was also a 7-footer. The Russian giant captured the WBA world title against John Ruiz in 2005 and held it successfully for three title defenses until defeated by fellow Russian Ruslan Chagaev in 2007. He was a Don King heavyweight so despite losing, Valuev returned to fight for the same WBA heavyweight title again and defeated Ruiz again in 2008. He then had a win over Evander Holyfield but was defeated by United Kingdom’s David Haye in 2009. Valuev (50-2, 34 Kos) never fought again.
Experts claimed that Valuev was too slow to be a champion but he proved them wrong and showed that height and girth had benefits in boxing. Other fighters were quicker, but they could not afford to make a mistake against Valuev.
Taishan has many of those same physical qualities that Valuev harbored. When asked his opinion of current WBA champion Wladimir Klitschko he was polite, honest and brief.
“I think he (Klitschko) fights very well,” said Taishan, a former kickboxer. “I believe if I have more opportunities boxing that I could prepare for a fight with him. But I need more opportunities.”
De La Hoya knows nothing is certain even if Taishan has a giant advantage.
“We believe in him. We believe in his ability. We know how to build champions one fight at a time, one training camp at a time. We believe he has the desire the hunger to be that heavyweight champion,” De La Hoya said.
Taishan could be following in the footsteps of Valuev.
Follow David A. Avila on the Twitter: