Tag Archives: International Boxing Federation

East Meets West With Kubrat Pulev vs Tony Thompson

This August 24 th in Schwerin, Germany a very dynamic top ranked heavyweight bout takes place when Kubrat Pulev defends his IBF International bauble against Tony “Tiger” Thompson. The 41 year old Thompson put a tiger in his gas tank of late with two consecutive stoppage wins over huge punching giant Brit David Price. “Have Fists, Will Travel” should be Thompson’s new moniker since this is his 4th straight bout overseas as he takes on Pulev only 6 weeks after last absorbing heavy artillery from David Price. Amazing!

Pulev vs Giant Ustinov

Pulev vs Giant Ustinov

That Thompson is hungry for big fights late in his career is a good way to spike his career earnings before retirement, but he best be on his best form this time around. Pulev had a very active 2012 with 3 big knockouts over top heavies while snatching the EBU European belt, so he’s long overdue for some serious action after the terrible frustration trying to secure the IBF eliminator as top ranked contenders pulled out of proposed bouts. He’s as big and strong as you would expect a Bulgarian athlete to be and possessed of an iron chin and loves to fight, in short, a brutal night’s work for anyone in the division.

Thompson applies the cross eyed hex..

Thompson applies the cross eyed hex..

As the younger fighter solidly arrived at the top rankings at a prime aged 32 on his home turf, I expect Pulev to be the big favorite, but he may have to shake off some ring rust first. As such, I expect Thompson to jump on him early in the fight for a chin check and possible early KO.

Good luck Tony, you’ll need all of it you can conjure up, because once this big Bulgarian gets warmed and rolling, he won’t stop until someone is flattened, and at 17-0, 9 KO, it’s always been the other fighter. One of the best heavyweight bouts than can be made this year, so congrats to the fighters and promotional teams for making it come together. Boxing needs to stand up and take note.

Tyson Fury–Madison Square Garden–Steve USS Cunningham–Look Out!

Look out United States of America, Tyson Fury, Britain’s most beloved and hated man-child and most congenital twitterer comes to New York City’s storied Madison Square Garden venue to take on Steve USS Cunningham in a 12 round IBF eliminator donnybrook. The good news is that he will have to pass through Homeland Security screening.

And the bad news? The bad news is that in spite of informing the public that he is coming after USS Cunningham with the intent to knock him out, Fury will pass seamlessly through screening and find a taxi to take him to Madison Square Garden, so what then you ask?

Fury With Friends

Perhaps a reflection of the reverse story backdrop that played out weeks ago in sunny London would be instructive. Grizzled southpaw contender Tony Thompson sicced his Tiger on British heavyweight hopeful David Price to take him down for the abrupt stoppage that left British pints full of tears that mournful Saturday night. Steve Cunningham is not as large, grizzled, and scary as Thompson, but he’s quick, moves well, and jabs well and still hungry for respect in his new heavyweight division.

But can Cunningham really take down the heavyweight hopes and dreams of the young mountainous man-child  Fury?

Fury has big ambitions planned when he intends to introduce his “little” 18 year old cousin Hughie Fury to the world by way of his pro boxing debut at the Madison Square Garden venue. Both Furys are trained by Peter Fury, keeping this Irish Traveler family tight in the spilled blood bonds of the often treacherous sport of boxing. This card will be their first step towards consolidating the heavyweight championship belts between them as The Furious Two, the new dynamic duo tapped to replace the Klitschko brothers when they retire.

Here is an entertaining Youtube video of Fury reprising his best devil may care, sly tongued, young, lean and hungry Cassius persona. Twinkles fall like stars out of his eyes as he showers the camera with his gift of self promotional gab. It’s a good time to be Britain’s biggest, brightest, undefeated heavyweight star with a bountiful future all laid out in front of him as you can see:

http://news.boxrec.com/news/2013/video-decent-quality-smack-talk-tyson-fury

Mr. USS Nice Guy Helping Others

Mr. USS Nice Guy in Assistance

Steve Cunningham is coming off a disputed split decision loss to his old nemesis, Tomasz Adamek in an IBF eliminator. The 6-9 Fury will be substantially larger with greater reach than any previous opponent of Cunningham. He has a busy offense, quick hands, can box outside and especially loves mixing it up inside, and moves very well for a big man. More unsettling, Fury has become a switch hitter, boxing orthodox or southpaw as the mood strikes, a completely southpaw fight against Martin Rogan as I recall.

That’s a really tall order for Cunningham to be sure, but USS has been a staple in Germany for a number of years and had good sparring against many of the tall heavyweights who dominate modern divisional ratings. You can bet a championship fighter of his caliber has a plan mapped out to surprise Fury, but it best be better than the tepid game plan he showed against Adamek. Feather jabs alone just won’t cut the mustard at this level, so we shall just have to see what the fighters bring.

Tyson Fury fights tend to be interesting because of his palpable charisma and busy, animated style. I daresay he will attract a raucous crowd who have heard the noise and want to check out the reality. That’s Saturday, April 20th, Madison Square Garden, that’s where the action will be. 

The French Connection Goes to Sherwood Forest–Bute vs Froch

The lightly traveled Le Tombeur, Lucian Bute, makes his way to Merry Olde England through Sherwood Forest to the boxing ring of the Nottingham Arena to accept the honourable challenge by the infinitely game and dangerous Carl Froch.

That would be Saturday, May 26th British time. No word on whether the Nottingham sheriff will provide security, but fair to say some of Robin Hood’s Merry Men may swing down from the rafters for voracious support as typical of British fight fans.

Bute’s IBF supermiddleweight title will be up for grabs as well as his unblemished record, currently 12-0, 8 KO as the title holder, and 30-0, 24 KO for his career. I daresay that Lucian Bute sees respect as being up for grabs as well after being repeatedly tarred as a hometown Montreal fighter ducking out on the big fights of the Showtime Super Six tourney.

Lefty in Charge

Lefty in Charge

For the record, Bute was not invited, a serendipitous luck of fate since the tourney was poorly officiated and ended in a fizzle of fan support as  Andre Ward was hoisted as their new King.

The Showtime King’s first proclamation was that he wanted no part of Lucian Bute, so it was onward to the always ready to scrap Carl Froch who had Ward on unsteady legs in the final rounds of the tourney.

The First French Connection

The First French Connection

Carl Froch is an accomplished slugger who can match most any fighter today with the strongest competition over the past 4 years. Only Glen Johnson might have a shout on him. Normally Froch travels to his bouts, so this a welcome homecoming.

Bute is blessed with the fastest overall combination of hand and footspeed and steadiest balance anywhere near his division, and at age 32 seems to be just hitting his stride as a sharp hitting, sharp boxing lefty who is seldom contested in the ring. Froch will be the best fighter by a long shot Bute has ever faced, but it’s probable that conversely Bute is the best Froch has ever faced.

Froch has shown some very underrated boxing ability in the past, but at his heart he’s a fighter and slugger with good power and stamina, not an easy nut to crack. I look for Bute to fire up the turbines for a smooth flight about the ring as he softens up Froch with his blistering right jab during the tenderizing process.

As likable, credentialed, and game as Carl Froch is, he’ll be only a few weeks shy of his 35th birthday come fight night, so a lot of traditional strikes are against him, but one good shot changes everything in boxing, so therein is his hope. The first French Connection for Froch was his successful splash on the world stage, a hard fought Pascal win where he came on late to seize control of the fight, so he has that positive history.

Bute’s hope is another dominant performance and a superfight against whomever brings the money, but the economics are that Froch is currently the biggest attraction in the division. Bute will have to move up to lightheavy and travel to Denmark to face Mikkel Kessler or go home to face the fast starting, always fading Jean Pascal to match the purse and interest of this fight.

Should be interesting at a technical level at the very least and could be primal at it’s best if Froch surprises Bute with his best ever form.

Showtime Finale Rematch–Mares vs Agbeko + Vic Darchinyan

Abner Mares defends his IBF banty title in the rematch against Joseph Agbeko December 3rd at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

King Kong

King Kong

The fighters are about as evenly matched as a good matchmaker could dream for with the only edge going to the dirty fighting of Mares, turning it something of a promoter’s nightmare if Mares remains true to form. Will the referee allow a 3rd straight dirty fight by Mares after he eked out wins over Vic Darchinyan and Agbeko previously with low blows, punches after the bell and other rabbit tricks that used to be known as the Dark Arts of boxing?

Fighters used to be more circumspect and less obvious in practicing the Dark Arts, but to be fair, fighters only use what they can get away with, and regrettably the Showtime supermiddle and banty tourneys have been full of dubious refereeing. The supermiddle finale is allegedly due early next year in what could be a dirty way to start the new year. 

Incidential fouls are to be expected in a high action bout when punches start to flow in bunches, so let’s hope the ref does his job properly this time around to sort out what could be a very lively bout between two game and skilled practitioners of the sweet science.

The “undercard” is  a main event unto itself. 

The longtime undersung former WBA banty champ Anselmo Moreno defends his new superbanty WBA title against the raging Vic Darchinyan who has to be the toughest little man in boxing today. Yes, the former flyweight titlest continues to plow up new divisions and is making his superbanty debut.

Moreno is 31-1-1 with 11KOs against some pretty fair competition. Darchinyan is 37-3-1 with 27 KOs against the best competition of his era, so by records looks to have the edge going into the fight with more power against better class.

The Harder They Fall

The Harder They Fall

Normally a fight between two southpaws makes for an awkward, difficult fight to watch and judge, but both fighters are offensively oriented with contrasting styles and attributes, meaning a good fight is in the cards.  

Darchinyan can be said to be the slugger even if his power has not kept up with his rise through the divisions. He’s 35 years old, ancient in the little man world of boxing, and will be giving up a lot of height and reach to the rangy 5-8 Moreno who is a prime 26 years old.

Moreno has a good jab and credible defense to go along with his two handed attack. Darchinyan has his trademark crouching lobster style with the right hand mostly used as a distraction and defensive purpose to disguise his big left hand where the power is.

Each fighter made his chops early on in the flyweight division and now they finally meet in the Panamanian Moreno’s American debut. They are very durable fighters, so this is likely a 12 round decision in the making.

Could be a classic card of some really great banty fights if, and only if the referees show as much class as the fighters. We shall see.

Le Tombeur & The Road Warrior–Lucian Bute vs Glen Johnson

Not sure what Le Tombeur represents, but Lucian Bute is about as talented a southpaw boxer as you will find in the history of boxing, and at age 31 seems to be in the middle of his formidable prime.

Le Tombeur

Le Tombeur

There was much speculation as to why he was left out of the Showtime Super Six tourney, but it turned to be a blessing in disguise. The tourney has been poorly officiated with plenty of fighter hijinks in and out of the ring as postponements continue t0 mount. All the while Lucian Bute has been quietly minting Canadian dollars as the hometown hero and now he is perfectly poised for the 9th IBF defense of his supermiddle title.

Ol’ man Johnson is coming off an emergency replacement stint for the Showtime tourney where he gave a good account of himself, exactly what his growing legion of admirers have come to expect from the toughest fighter of his era. Yes sir, Glencoffe Johnson has been on a roll of sorts since 1999, not by his record, a mixed bag at 15-12-2, but by taking on the toughest schedule in boxing with almost every one of those fighters being Ring ranked if not also #1 and P4P ranked to boot.

Road Warrior @ Work

Road Warrior @ Work

He does most all of it on the road while giving up most of the other ring conditions as well, so here he is again just 5 months after a brutal bout against one of the premiere sluggers of this era preparing to tangle with Boxrec #1 supermiddle and hometown favorite, Lucian Bute.

How does he do it?

Older fighters often like to play with the old school card, but The Road Warrior is the genuine article and a modest man, so there’s never been a need for him to play it. A concern is that he will be 43 yrs old at the start of next year, and even the toughest man has to call it a day at some point. He did make British slugger Carl Froch work hard every minute of every round in a competitive effort, but Bute is a much trickier, much faster proposition entirely.

There is some hope in those war weary bones though. Even as Father Time is trying to chase him down, it turns out that Glen Johnson will be the toughest, most experienced and the best fighter Bute will have ever faced.

Johnson may be a bit slower than the fighter that ran over Roy Jones Jr, but he still applies relentless pressure no matter if he is winning or losing a boxing match, the kind of pressure that can cause an untested fighter to come unglued.

#1!
#1!

Bute has been to the well and back against Librado Andrade in a classic fight series, and he’s been on his own roll of 6 straight knockouts over a pretty fair collection of contenders, so this confrontation looks to be a heartstopper on paper since both are fan favorites and one will have to lose.

Saturday, Nov 5 at Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City for those who are interested in boxing history in the making.

The Showtime Banty Tourney Final

It’s been a nice run with Showtime signing what is generally agreed to be the best 4 bantamweights fighting today to a tournament, but I’m not sure if it translated into a greater appreciation of the little big man divisions, much less any additional respect for when the best agree to fight each other.

It was something of a risky format for the biggest name, Vic Darchinyan, who lost his match to young Abner Mares in a controversial decision, but then again, Darchinyan is amazingly enough 35 yrs old now, so maybe it was the kind of gamble that a fighter like him has to take at this point.

Darchinyan is now matched against Yonnhy Perez in the “consolation” bout after Perez dropped his bout against Joseph Agbeko. Should be as competitive and closely contested as the previous bouts in this tourney have been, but hopefully without any further controversy if we can just get some good officiating to match the skills and hearts of the fighters.

The headliner features Abner Mares whose career had stalled out before the tourney going up against Joseph Agbeko for his IBF title. Agbeko has gained the most thus far from the tourney after previously holding the IBF title for a couple of years. King Kong was going nowhere fast after Perez dethroned him back in 2009, but the tourney provided the backdrop for the rematch, so Agbeko showed up in shape with his A-plan and took back what was his.

Mares could make the tourney his coming out statement if he can handle the always tough as nails Agbeko, but I have the feeling Agbeko is the hungriest fighter of the lot in the form of his life, so we will just have to see.

Impossible to say who the favorites will be, but I’m sure the bookies will come up with something enticing, so there it is, Saturday, April 23 at Nokia Theater, Los Angeles if you need a boxing fix or just something with plenty of excitement.

9/11, Wladimir Klitschko vs Sam Peter Reprised

This coming Saturday, September 11th, Wladimir Klitschko and Sam Peter reprise their classic IBF eliminator match in 2005 that saw Klitschko hit the deck several times against the greatly feared, wide swinging, undefeated clubber who entered the bout at 24-0, 21 KOs.

Peter was on a horrific tear through the division back then and the general feeling in boxing was that Wlad had no heart for combat, and worse, was afflicted with a glass jaw that would quickly shatter.

The Champ

The Champ

It Seems like a distant, fuzzy era light years removed from the current heavyweight scene that has seen Wlad on a fine current run of dominance, going for his 10th straight title win and his 9th knockout. He not only holds the IBF title, but also the WBO, IBO, and more tellingly, the Ring belt, finally fulfilling the promise he held as a gangly 20 yr Olympic Gold Medalist, touted as the savior of the heavyweight division when he turned pro.

The Belts

The Belts

Wlad won that first confrontation with Peter, doing something that his critics said he couldn’t do, and that is overcoming adversity by regrouping his form and going about the task of picking Peter apart until the final bell ended the 12th round.

Peter disputed the decision, wanting a rematch, but the Fates had already set each out on separate paths, only to come back full circle after having run 5 years of boxing’s tortuous gauntlets.

Peter returns as a former WBC champion, having dropped his crown to Wlad’s older brother, Vitali, a couple of years ago. After a lethargic loss to Eddie Chambers in his next bout, Peter has won all 4 of his last bouts by knockout, and, just having turned 30 years of age a few days before the rematch, Peter is near the age of a traditional athletic peak.

Wlad will rightly be a big odds favorite due to his near invincible form since the 1st Peter fight in contrast to Peter’s pair of failures against Vitali and Chambers. Wlad is also 34 yrs old in his 58th career bout which is pushing the envelope for modern heavies.

Nigerian Nightmare Lite
Nigerian Nightmare Lite

Meanwhile, Peter has transformed himself since those losses, dropping some 25 lbs of weight from his ample frame as can be seen in this training photo.

Potentially he should be about as quick afoot or quicker than he was in the first bout, but the question arises as to what style he will utilize?

Since that first bout Peter has reformed his style from crude clubber into a boxer of sorts, but finally was outboxed by Vitali and Chambers. His “Wild Bull of the Pampas” style was effective the first time, putting Wlad in dire straits and needing every fiber of his being to right the sinking ship.

Assisted Boxing

Assisted Boxing

 Of course by the bout’s end, it was Peter hanging on he was so spent. Peter was lucky to hear the final bell.

There is no way Peter can ever outbox Wlad in a million years. Wlad has won almost every round he has boxed in his professional career, so Peter has to outslug him, plain and simple. Can he do it? Peter may be in his 2nd “Reformation” as a fighter, but Wlad has steadily improved his game fight by fight, and more importantly, has earned a bit of swagger in his walk and talk that he lacked before. Whether he has gotten too far afield from his humble Ukrainian roots with the videos and brash talk remains to be seen. Understandably Wlad has been frustrated by dubious antics that saw top contenders David Haye and Alexander Povetkin fall out of scheduled matches that resulted in Wlad being placed in the position of having to search and sign replacement fighters for his defenses these past few years.

I guess it can be seen as a backhanded compliment that the top heavies would rather withdraw to endure the scorn of fans than risk the typical methodical beating followed by a knockout that Wlad lays down on his overmatched opponents.

I don’t recall this phenomena afflicting previous champions, though. Usually top contenders can’t get a title shot soon enough for their satisfaction, but it’s a new era and a softer way of doing business I guess if fighters can move to pick up a weak cheese belt.

Although Peter is a replacement fighter, he is a worthy opponent who has retained a ranking and is very hungry after going on a long diet. He may no longer be the fan favorite on a rampage through the division as he was in the first match, but he does provide the potential for some spectacle that Wlad’s defenses have lacked IF he can connect with a clean shot.

The first fight was one of the most dramatic heavyweight fights of the decade, so I plan on being glued to the rematch.

The "Right" Way

The “Right” Way