November the 10th at the O2 World Arena in Hamburg, Germany marks a another milestone in Wladimir Klitschko‘s boxing career when he aims for his 20th title victory against a fighter with height and reach greater than his.
Mariusz Wach runs about the same size as Wlad’s older brother, Vitali, almost 6-8, generally around 245-260 lbs with an 82″ listed reach. He’s also undefeated with a 27-0, 15 KO record, coming off of 7 straight knockouts starting back in 2009.
Wach of course lacks the depth of Wlad’s stellar record, but he is prime age for a big man these days at a very fresh 32, and he sports a mixed martial arts and amateur boxing background much like the Klitschko brothers. He looks to be tough enough at the level he’s fought at and is a come forward attacking fighter, so what more can the Klitschkos do but fight the few heavyweights left who are willing to step in the ring with them?
Wlad’s record against similar sized fighters, Tony Thompson, Jamel McCline, and Ray Austin is 4-0, 4 KO, not exactly the best promotional selling point for Wach making a compelling fight. Thing about the Klitschko fights is that German and other various European fans love the theatrics of the Klitschko promotions which feature a smorgasborg of music, razzle dazzle light shows and pop personalities revving up the premises in advance of the main event. The promotions are well packed, and of course with Wach being of Polish heritage, well, Poles really get behind their own even when it looks hopeless.
Make no mistake though, Wach is far from hopeless. His size, strength and toughness alone make him a very awkward, dangerous fighter. Typically teams upgrade the quality of sparring partners for an opportunity like this, so if Wach had previously been on a learning curve as he worked his way up the chain, #21 on Boxrec, #4WBC, #15 WBO, there could be a big spike in his skills and conditioning for this performance.
All that could be completely negated by the proven quality of Wlad who usually starts off very cautious behind his jab to rack up points before picking his spots for the usual knockout result. Perhaps as big a challenge as the size of Wach will be the absence of his long time trainer and mentor, Manny Steward, whose untimely passing has left a big hole in the boxing world.
The heavyweight division is strangely active as the year draws down with some compelling action that will lead to next year’s title challenges.
Johnathon Banks is also a quality heavyweight with his own big fight against rising American contender, Seth Mitchell. Banks is a legit boxer with skills, whereas Mitchell has a modest pro football background with a limited amateur background. As such, I expect Banks to easily handle him, but as to whether he’ll get a fair judgement at Boardwalk Hall Atlantic City where the fight takes place this November 17th, let’s not get started on the horrors of judging fights.
Everyone knows about the poor judging but nothing can be done until boxing cleans up it’s act, so fat chance.
Fellow undefeated and Ring ranked Tyson Fury invites Denis Boytsov to Odyssey Arena, Belfast, Northern Ireland on December the 1st to mark up somebody’s zero, probably Boytsov who has a softer record with a history of hand injuries. Props to both camps for making the fight when each could be sitting on their rankings hoping a lucrative title fight will hatch.
Last but not least, the rematch of the fight of the year quality donnybrook between former lightheavy and cruiserweight champ Tomasz Adamek and his cruiserweight rival, Steve Cunningham who took the loss the first time around. The fight takes place December 22nd, ostensibly in Cunningham’s backyard of Sands Casino Resort, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, but the born and bred Philadelphian has tragically been under promoted in Europe thanks to an ill advised compact with Don King.
Adamek will be the obvious favorite with a stellar 47-2, 29 KO record against Cunningham’s 25-4, 12 KO, but this is the kind of fight a paper record can’t predict. Cunningham has always been speedy and top class even if he’s taken more losses in less fights. Adamek looked a bit slow at his heaviest weight ever when he outpointed the defensive minded Chambers, so I predict the punches to be flying with first class boxing skills as in the first fight.
Both will be 36 years of age for the fight, so there it is, the final countdown of the top action in the heavyweight division for the rest of the year.