Eye on the Heavyweights – The pieces appear to be falling into place for the much talked-about Anthony Joshua versus Wladimir Klitschko bout. As of now, Joshua’s planned IBF world title defense has been moved to a date of December 10th. There is no official announcement as to location or opponent, but it is looking more and more like a deal for Joshua to face Klitschko will be announced shortly. British heavyweight David Haye took to social media to discuss the bout, hinting that the formal announcement is a foregone conclusion. Nevertheless, the deal being orchestrated by the two camps is complicated and no formal announcement was issued 24 hours after Haye’s comments brought the anticipation to a fever pitch.
One of the open questions is what titles other than Joshua’s IBF title will be on the line, if any. Earlier this week, Tyson Fury took the step of vacating the WBO, WBA and IBO world belts and the British Boxing Board of Control reacted by suspending Fury’s license to box. Now it is a matter of settling and paying sanctioning fees for some of the vacant belts, a bureaucratic process that could take some time as the alphabet soups revel in their own self-importance. The bottom line at this point: Klitschko vs Joshua is the biggest fight that can be made anywhere.
For his part, the undefeated Fury steps away from boxing to address his mental health issues, and there has been no formal announcement of any plans for Fury to box again or anything of the sort.
Eye on the Heavyweights – Round-up
More news that borders on the incredible is that Erkan Teper is fighting this weekend. He faces Christian Hammer (19-4) in Hamburg, Germany. Teper fought in July of 2015 when he stopped England’s David Price via a vicious second round KO, but his European title match scheduled for December against Robert Helenius fell apart when he was injured. Shortly after that, Teper was the focus of serious steroid allegations that involved potential criminal charges and saw him hit with a two-year suspension. Teper, who was beginning to crack some of the top 10 rankings, seemed to be in limbo.
Well, the two-year suspension that Teper was under didn’t stop him from entering the ring this past July in Germany to face journeyman Derric Rossy (30-11) in a 10-round bout. Teper won a unanimous decision, advancing his record to 16-0.
It was business as usual for Teper on Friday, October 14th as he weighed in at 265 pounds for his bout with Hammer, who came in at 257. If the hard hitting Teper, a German citizen of Turkish descent, has truly put the steroid allegations behind him, he could be ready to add his name to the list of heavyweight contenders.
Last week, the big news broke that undefeated heavyweight Luis Ortiz has signed on with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing. Ortiz last fought this past March when he faced veteran Tony Thompson as the headliner of a Golden Boy Promotions card on HBO. GBP scheduled Ortiz to fight on the undercard of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s recent PPV against Liam Smith, but the pair parted ways before any match could be finalized.
The news was followed by Matchroom’s announcement that Ortiz will face American Malik Scott (38-2-1) on November 12th in Monte Carlo. The card will be a major affair that airs on SKY in the United Kingdom. In support of the Ortiz-Scott main event, WBA super featherweight world titlist Jason Sosa (19-1-4) will face off against Stephen Smith (24-2). A super middleweight rematch between former world champion Arthur Abraham and Martin Murray is also on the bill.
An interim WBC world heavyweight title will be on the line when Alexander Povetkin faces Bermane Stiverne in Russia this coming December 17th. The full WBC “world” title resides with undefeated (37-0) American Deontay Wilder who is looking at returning in the first half of 2017 after recovering from a broken hand and a torn bicep. Povetkin was scheduled to face Wilder in Russia for the full title, but the match fell apart in ugly fashion when Povetkin tested positive for a banned substance. Povetkin and his big money promoters made a vigorous defense, and Povetkin has been sitting out awaiting his shot. With Wilder on the sidelines, the winner of Povetkin-Stiverne will likely be Wilder’s WBC mandatory opponent when he gets back.
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