In the last thirty days big changes have gone down in the heavyweight division. Obviously the biggest one is Brit Tyson Fury handing “Dr. Steelhammer” Wladimir Klitschko his first loss in eleven years and in the process alleviating him of the WBA, WBO and IBF titles. Just last week, the IBF announced they were promptly stripping Fury of their title because he won’t able to defend it against their number one contender Vyacheslav Glazkov. Now Glazkov has been ordered to face number four contender, American Charles Martin early next year. This past weekend, on both sides of the big pond, we had a some good heavyweight action that might have some repercussions for the division coming in the New Year.
First from the O2 Arena in London on Saturday afternoon in the states, night in England, Brit Anthony Joshua stayed perfect scoring his fifteenth knockout in as many fights when he stopped amateur rival Dillian Whyte in seven. Joshua showed how well he is coming along as he survived some tense moments early on in the fight when he was buzzed in the second. He hurt Whyte in the same round and then began to control the action. Joshua displayed great athleticism, above average hand speed and good punch combinations to force Whyte into exchanges. At the end, he proved he can finish it spectacular fashion sending Whyte against the ropes where he remained. Now it is rumored he might face veteran Derek Chisora next which will be a good test for him. At 6’6”, he is the same size as Klitschko but much more mobile so physically he might be a better match up against Tyson Fury which is a fight the English, and the rest of the boxing world, are asking for.
Later on the same night but in San Antonio, former title challenger Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola pulled off a split decision over the game Travis Kauffman in the semi-main event of the PBC on NBC. Despite coming in at a trim, for him, 236 pounds, Arreola still had some trouble with the aggressive Kaufman. Arreola visited the canvas in the third and his glove touched it in the twelfth but it wasn’t ruled a knockdown. At thirty-four, Arreola isn’t what he once was but is still able to turn up the action and he did in the last four rounds of the fight to pull off the win. Looks like the winner, Arreola, will not face WBC heavyweight Deontay Wilder in the spring if Wilder can get past Artur Szpilka in January. Arreola is one of the first fighters to sign with Al Haymon and perhaps that is why he gets second, third, fourth and even fifth chances when he truly doesn’t deserve them with his performances in the ring.
Looks like 2016 might be a big year for the “glamour division” of boxing. We also should be seeing the rematch between Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko. If Klitschko is can pull it off, he will have to chase the winner of Glazkov-Martin to recoup everything he had before.