Who Will Be the Next “Black Hope” to Challenge the Klitschko’s?
By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (July 14, 2011) Doghouse Boxing
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By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing. - This writer did this type of story proclaiming Samuel Peter as the next “Black Hope” in January of 2008. I believe it ran for 24 hrs. In his very next fight Peter won the WBC title defeating Oleg Maskaev. In his first defense he lost to Vitali Klitschko.

Since Jack Johnson won the heavyweight title in 1908 the cry for a “white hope” rang out! One of the most famous “white hope” matches was his win over the former world champion James J. Jeffries, then 19-0-1. Jeffries had to shed over 100 pounds and come back after 6 years of inactivity. Johnson was eventually dethroned by “white hope” Jess Willard in 1915.

There would not be another black champion for 22 years until Joe Louis dethroned “The Cinderella Man” Jimmy Braddock in 1937. The “Brown Bomber” the title until 1950 losing to Ezzard Charles. Louis beat many a white fighter but never a “white hope” due to his popularity. In 1952 Rocky Marciano became the first white fighter to win the title in 15 years.

Once Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali took the title from Sonny Liston in 1964 the “white hope” rang out again. Ali would give up the title in 1967 due to refusing to enter the military. In 1974 he would regain the title until 1978. From 1978 to 1985 Larry Holmes held the title and the “white hope” rang out again especially against “Gentleman” Gerry Cooney. Both Ali and especially Holmes fed off the “white hope” hype. It brought bigger purses to the champions.

It hasn’t been since Marciano retired in 1955 that there has been what the boxing people called a legitimate “white champion” until Vitali Klitschko in 2008 won back the WBC title from Samuel Peter.

Vitali has made 6 defenses since 2008 with his next scheduled in September in Poland against Poland’s Tomasz Adamek, now living in Newark, NJ, his No. 1 contender. That means the WBC title has been held by a white champion for 3 years.

Turning to the youngest of the Klitschko brothers, Wladimir, he has held the IBF/IBO title’s since 2006. That’s 5 years the IBF/IBO title’s has been held by a white champ. He won the WBO title from Sultan Ibragimov in 2008 who won it in 2007 from Shannon Briggs. This means there has been a white champion in the WBO for 4 years. He has made 15 title defenses.

The WBA title was held by the UK’s David Haye from 2009 until 2011 when Wladimir dethroned him July 2nd. In summary, Wladimir now holds the IBF, WBO,WBA and IBO world titles. The WBA makes their champion who holds another of the organizations title a “Super” WBA champion which will open the door for a vacant WBA title. The WBA’s top 2 contenders are Ruslan Chagaev and Alexander Povetkin. Unless they put Haye ahead of them the WBA title will be fought by 2 white fighters.

While Wladimir holds 3 titles, his brother Vitali holds the other title of the WBC. Vitali will be 40 on July 19th with the title fight against Adamek next. Rumors are Vitali may retire by 2012. He has defeated the current WBC No. 2 challenger Chris Arreola and the No. 8 contender Juan Carlos Gomez. His brother has defeated the No. 4 contender Ray Austin.

The IBF contenders are No. 1 Eddie Chambers who lost to Wladimir in 2010, No. 2 Tony Thompson who lost to him in 2007 and No. 5 Ruslan Chagaev lost to him in 2009.

The IBF also has Adamek as their No. 1 contender and David Tua as their No. 3. Tua hasn’t lost since 2001 with a pair of draws included. One of those draws he will attempt to avenge in his rematch with Monte Barrett in August. His only world title bout was in 2000 losing to Lennox Lewis. The No. 2 contender is Finland’s Robert Helenius who will fight the former WBO champion Siarhei Lyakovich in August.

The WBA has Ruslan Chagaev as their No. 1 contender. His only loss was to Wladimir in 2009. He won a WBA title eliminator in May of 2010 over Kali Meehan. He was passed over for Audley Harrison who lost to Haye in November 2010. The only black contenders in the WBA top 10 are former WBC champion Hasim Rahman the No. 5 contender and No. 7 the former WBC and Super WBA cruiserweight champion Jean Marc Mormeck who lost those titles to Haye.

Wladimir defeated Rahman in 2008. Rahman was scheduled to fight Vitali but it never came off. There are rumors that Vitali’s final defense could be against Rahman in 2012. He is the No. 20 contender currently in the WBC. He’s had 5 straight knockouts over mediocre opponents since his loss to Wladimir.

The No. 1 contenders are Chagaev (WBA), Adamek (WBC/WBO) and Chambers (IBF). Chambers being the only black top contender was stopped in the 12th and final round in 2010 by Wladimir. He’s only had one fight since then defeating the now No. 15 contender Derrick Rossy.

The WBC has 3 black contenders in No. 4 Ray Austin, No. 5 Johnathon Banks and No. 7 Juan Carlos Gomez. Austin was defeated in 2 rounds in 2007 by Wladimir. Gomez was defeated by Vitali in 2009 in 9 rounds. Banks lost to Adamek for his IBF cruiser title in 2009 in 8 rounds for his only loss. A draw with club fighter Jason Gavern in 2010 all but eliminates him as a serious threat. He has served as Wladimir’s sparring partner wince Manny Steward trains both.

There are more white boxers who seem to bigger threats all from Europe like Russian Denis Boytsov, out of Germany at 28-0 (23), with Gavern his best opponent. He is the No. 6 contender in the IBF/WBO and No. 3 in the WBC/WBA. Belarus’ has Alexander Ustinov, 23-0 (18), living in Russia, who is the No. 4 contender in the WBA ratings. A win over Monte Barrett is his biggest. Barrett’s claim to fame is a draw with Tua in 2010 with a rematch set for August.

Russian Alexander Povetkin, 21-0 (15) has a win over Chambers. He is No. 10 in the IBF/WBC, No. 2 in the WBA and No. 4 in the WBO. He was a hot commodity before coming to the US training under Teddy Atlas. He has since returned to Germany. His last 6 wins since Chambers have been against non-contenders. Seems he has hit a wall.

Ukrainian Alexander Dimitrenko, 31-1 (21), living in Germany, lost to Chambers by majority decision in 2009 but has only had 2 fights since in winning the European title. He fights a non-contender in August. He is 6:07 and was supposed to be the air apparent being from the Ukraine.

A prospect at 6:09 is Tyson Fury, 14-0 (10), of the UK, who has sparred with Wladimir. His next fight will be for the British and Empire titles held by Zimbabwe’s Dereck Chisora, 14-0 (9), living in the UK. Chisora was listed for a title bout with Wladimir but it fell through. Both are prospects, not contenders.

Among the best of the black fighters we have Haitian Bermane Stiverne, 21-1-1 (20), living in Canada. He is the No. 7 contender in the WBC. His loss and draw were against opponents with non-winning records. In his last fight he stopped Ray Austin for the WBC Silver title. It was Austin’s second straight loss in his last 2 fights yet is still No. 4 in the WBC. Stiverne only had 2 fights scheduled over 8 rounds. Cameroon’s Carlos Takam, 23-1 (19), like Stiverne has only had 2 fights scheduled over 8 rounds.

One of the solid black contenders is former WBA champion David Haye, who just lost dull 12 rounder and his title to Wladimir. His claim for such a bad showing is an injured toe that happened 3 weeks before the fight. He wants a rematch but its doubtful either brother will entertain a bout with him.

The other is Eddie Chambers, 36-2 (18), who being the No. 1 contender in the IBF will probably be a mandatory for Wladimir who stopped him in 2010. Wladimir in a rematch stopped Samuel Peter and won over Haye since the Chambers bout.

Several Cubans who were supposed to be prospects were Olandier Solis, 17-1 (12), living in Miami, FL, who was stopped by Vitali in 1 round in his last bout in March of 2011. The other is Mike Perez, 16-0 (12), living in Ireland, where he fought his first 8 fights and his last 4 fights being in the UK. He’s yet to have fought over 8 rounds and just won the UK’s Prizefighter tourney in 3 round bouts. He defeated Kerston Manswell, 20-1, Gregory Tony, 14-1 who defeated Carlos Takam, and Tye Fields, 45-3. He is No. 50 in the WBC ratings.

Wladimir turned 35 in March and seems to have another 4 or 5 years ahead of him. He has not lost since 2004 losing to Lamont Brewster. He has won 14 fights since including a stoppage of Brewster in 2007. Its not well know that he was born in Kazakhstan. His father was a Soviet Air Force Colonel. He lives in the US. He is 56-3 (49), losing all 3 by stoppage. He turned professional in 1996 on the same card as his brother. He won the 1996 Super heavyweight Gold medal in the Atlanta Olympics finishing 134-6 as an amateur.

Vitali as mentioned earlier is approaching his 40th birthday and hasn’t lost since his gallant challenge for the WBC title against champion Lennox Lewis in 2003. He was ahead on all cards by 58-56 when the bout was stopped on cuts in the 6th round. Lewis would never fight again. Many feel it was it didn’t want to be forced into a rematch with Vitali. Vitali has won 10 fights since the Lewis fight and was retired for 4 years. He was 195-15 (80) as an amateur. He was also a former World Kick Boxing champion. He was removed from the Ukrainian team after testing positive for a banned substance (steroid) being used for a leg injury. This kept him from competing in the Atlanta Olympics in the super heavyweight division. Wladimir moved up from heavyweight to take his place in the super heavyweight division. Vitali was born in Kyrgyzstan and lives in CA, in the US. Their parents still live in Kiev, Ukraine. Their mother insisted that neither ever fight one another. Both sons agreed to this. So for those out there thinking that might happen someday, don’t bet on it!

Not only does it seem bleak for a US heavyweight to capture the heavyweight title but also is just as bleak for a black fighter. In the case of Eddie Chambers he qualifies in both cases. “Fast Eddie” knows he should have beaten Povetkin and a rematch might be attractive. The only belt possibly out of the reach of the Klitschko’s is the WBA since Wladimir is the Super WBA champ due to holding at least 2 titles. If Vitali were to fight for it having another title would he also be the WBA Super champ? When the WBA belt is fought for by the 2 top contenders, No. 5 Hasim Rahman may get a shot at the winner. At that time if successful he and Vitali could have their fight after all with 2 belts at stake. Confused?

By the way 2008 Olympic Bronze medalist Deontay Wilder is still a work in progress having won 17 straight, all by knockout (12 in 1st round), with none lasting 6 rounds. He had his first 8 rounder in his last fight in June. At 6:07 the “Bronze Bomber” is only 25. In any case there’s a fighter out of Reading, PA, who once served as a sparring partner for both Rahman and Arreola named Travis “GW Hope” Kauffman, 21-1 (16), whose GW obviously stands for “Great White” Hope. Seems he doesn’t mind the tag though right now there doesn’t seem to be a need for one. He is also 25. How about Wilder vs Kauffman for the world title in year 2015?

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