Young Guns: Progress Report
By Julian Kasdin (December 21, 2005)  
Michael Marrone
In the last week three Young Guns will have fought the toughest fights of their respective careers against their best opposition yet. Jason Estrada, Denis Boytsov and Alexander Povetkin, Michael Marrone, Egon Roth and JD Chapman have all put their perfect records on the line in the quest for fistic immortality in pursuit of the heavyweight championship of the world. I would also like to include on the Young Gun list two fighters I neglected to mention in my article, 20-1 (17), Oleg Platov, and 14-0-1 (10) BJ Flores.

I would like to start off the article, however, by correcting an error in a previous Young Guns piece. I had said in the second edition of my Young Guns list that Devin Vargas had fought Jason Estrada in the amateurs and did not qualify for the United States Olympic team. In actuality he was a heavyweight and not super heavyweight, and indeed did qualify for the Olympic team. He also has gone up in weight to fight at heavy and might be better suited to the cruisers, but the same could be said of some of the others on my list as well, such as Michael Marrone and Denis Boytsov.

Last Sunday, United States Olympian, Jason Estrada, 5-0 (1), fought his toughest opposition to date in the guise of Najee Shaheed. By all accounts Estrada easily out boxed Shaheed en route to a 60-59 unanimous decision on all cards. This was a big step up after only four fights, and his ability to comprehensively out box the game Shaheed is a good sign that this young man possesses skills far in advance of his five fight record.

In Austria on Tuesday Denis Boytsov, 11-0 (11), fought his toughest test thus far, Zoltan Petranyi. Boytsov, who has nine first round knockouts and two second round knockouts, showed more patience and control in this fight that he, had earlier in his career. Boytsov knocked out Petranyi in the second round; defeating the Hungarian quicker then Danny Williams did earlier this year. Hopefully Boytsov continues to improve both his skills and power as his competition gradually gets better.

On the same card Egon Roth, 13-0 (11), defeated Luis Ricail by eighth round unanimous decision. Roth punched a perfect 80-72 shut out. This fight was more of a keep busy fight, but it was against solid competition. Roth and Boytsov will probably continue to fight side by side for sometime, so look for these two to progress parallel to each other.

Michael Marrone, 12-0 (10), continued his winning ways Thursday when he knocked out Curtis Taylor with one punch. Marrone continues to exhibit a good combination of speed and power has he gradually improves his opposition. Hopefully Lou Duva can provide this young man with some more tests in the coming year.

John Chapman, 19-0 (17), a prospect first pointed out to me by fellow writer Bobby Jones, moved to nineteen wins Thursday night on the same card as Marrone. With new trainer Michael Moorer in the corner Chapman ended up doing more boxing then banging as he was taken the distance by Edward Gutierrez. By all accounts Chapman did not look good in this fight, and has to work on his technique and stamina if he wants to progress further in the heavyweight division.

Alexander Povetkin, 5-0 (4), the 2004 Olympic gold medalist at super-heavyweight, continued his winning ways with a sixth round technical knockout of perennial spoiler Willie Chapman. Povetkin was able to land at will, and dropped his game opponent twice before the fight was waved off. While Chapman has been able to remove the zero off of many fighters’ records, he was completely outclassed and out slugged by Povetkin before the stoppage. Povetkin was able to show the combination of skill, speed and power that helped propel him to Olympic gold.

I would like to mention here one of the young guns I forgot to add, Oleg Platov, 20-1 (17). This young gun fought Tessier on the same card as Povetkin and won by fourth round stoppage. Platov only has one loss on his record, a sixth round decision loss to Ludovic Mace, but he rectified that by re-matching Mace and knocking him out in the third round. At 22 years of age, the 225 pound power punching Platov has time to improve, and could become an exciting edition to the future of the sport.

Another new edition to the list is top American amateur and current 14-0-1 (10) professional, BJ Flores. Flores was one of the top amateurs at heavyweight, having won numerous tournaments, and he even has amateur wins over fellow young gun Devin Vargas. He has fought some decent competition, such as Frank Walker and Nate Zeikle, both of whom he dominated.

Hopefully this has kept everyone up-to-date on the top young fighters that are coming out of the amateurs and up in the professional ranks. Look out for more progress reports as these fighters continue to climb the ranks in the hopes of one day becoming world champion. We can only look forward to the ascendancy of these young guns in their quest for fistic immortality.
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