Five More Heavyweight Young Guns
By Julian Kasdin (December 16, 2005)  
Roman Greenberg
Photo © Mr.Will/
Back by popular demand I would like to bring the readers of a second edition of Young Guns, a column created to point out promising young heavyweights that could shape the future of the sport. In my last column I covered Jason Estrada, Alexander Povetkin, Chazz Witherspoon, Michael Marrone and Denis Boytsov. This edition will feature five more Young Guns for fans to look out for and get behind.

There is one young fighter that is probably further along in his career then anyone I have mentioned, or will mention in this series, and this is Alexander ‘Baby Face’ Dimitrenko, 20-0 (12). Dimitrenko is a young fighter, at only 23 years of age, but has progressed quite well. Of all the young heavies he has probably fought the sternest competition to date, having defeated Julius Francis, Andy Sample, Ross Puritty, Chris Koval, Andreas Sidon and Vaughn Bean. While none of these fighters are currently world beaters, they all have winning records and provide a stern test for any young fighter. His next fight comes against Rob Calloway, and a win there should move him solidly into the top 20. Dimitrenko is a very skilled fighter, and has a very varied arsenal. At 6’7” and 245 pounds, he is part of the new class of super heavies; unfortunately he seems to lack the power of a true super heavy. A knockdown against Koval may leave some questioning his chin, but his willingness to fight back and win that match is a good sign. There is a possibility the Dimitrenko can improve his power, but at the end of the day he might end up being a skilled fighter with enough power to keep other fighters honest, and score a late stoppage after prolonged punishment.

John ‘Natural’ Chapman, 18-0 (17), is a young American heavy who is beginning to generate a lot of interest due to his size, 6’6” and 250 pounds, power, and new trainer Michael Moorer. Chapman is one of the few American super heavies, and under the tutelage of Moorer could develop into one of the more promising. His competition has been rather weak, but he has stepped it up lately, stopping 14-1 John Carlo in the second round. By all accounts Chapman has a lot of potential, his power alone can take him decently far, but he needs to develop into a more complete fighter. If he can develop some of the cleaner technical skills over the next two or three years he can really become a force in the division.

Making his way onto the Young Guns list is a former top American amateur, Devin Vargas, 7-0 (4). This young man almost made it on to the United States Olympic squad, losing to Jason Estrada in the finals. As a professional he has slimmed down and kept active. His competition has not been as good as Estrada’s, but he has scored more stoppages, which is a good sign that the young man has some pop. With his extensive amateur career, good size, and decent power this young man will have the potential to be a top heavyweight one day. He may not become a knockout artist, but he will have enough power to keep his opponent honest, and the skills to outbox them.

Roman Greenberg, 20-0 (14), is a young heavyweight out of Israel who has made quite a name for himself already in the professional ranks. His competition has been pretty solid, and 100-90 points win over Julius Francis has so far been the best showing from the 23 year old. The only person on the list with better competition then Greenberg thus far has been Dimitrenko, and given his young age he has plenty of time to make some noise in the heavyweight division. Greenberg has been rather inactive, and his next fight against Kendrick Releford is not the ideal move on his management’s part. Over the next year Greenberg should really step it up and fight more guys around the level of Julius Francis, fighters that have enough skill and ability to make him improve, but not so much that they would beat him.

The final fighter on the list is Egon Roth, 13-0 (11). The hard hitting Roth stands at 6’6”, and is 25 years old. He recently punched a shut out victory over Luis Oscar Ricail, in what is probably his second toughest test to date. Roth, by all accounts, is a skilled and physically talented fighter, who has the size and power to make real waves in the division. His inability to knockout Ricail might cause some to question his power, but over his young career he has demonstrated the ability to finish off his opposition quite frequently. Knockouts aren’t the most important thing in our beloved sport, and if this young man continues to improve, with his size, skill, and power he could be a tough fight for anyone in the division. Roth will always have enough power to keep his opposition honest, and the size to make it very hard to attack him effectively. Look for Roth to start making some more noise in the next year to year and half with fellow stable mate Denis Boytsov.

Well here we are five more fighters, five more young guns to follow. While many people continue to lament the state of the heavyweight division, I prefer to look ahead to the division’s future. The ten fighters I have covered in parts one and two of Young Guns could very well be the future of heavyweight boxing. So for those who do not see the light at the end of the tunnel I say look at these ten young men, sooner, rather then later, one or more of them will step up and take the reigns of the heavyweight division. Until then, just remember, after every dark period in heavyweight history we the fans have been treated to eras filled with great competition, compelling battles and larger then life personalities.
© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing 1998-2005