IT’S been a week of heavyweight woe, dominated not by action in the ring but by a fight we won’t be seeing, at least not any time soon. Just when anticipation for Wladimir Klitschko versus Tyson Fury reached fever pitch, after an extraordinary press conference that featured Tyson charging around in a Batman costume, heavyweight champion Klitschko has postponed the fight due to a minor injury. It is a letdown, the fight would surely have delivered excitement in the ring, not to mention entertainment beyond the ropes.
One heavyweight title that was contested over the weekend was Deontay Wilder’s WBC belt. Wilder set about Johann Duhaupas, eventually battering down the gritty Frenchman in 11 rounds. It was the stoppage win the champion needed but the buzz around the loud American is diminishing. At the start of the year when he beat Bermane Stiverne to win the crown, Wilder looked just the man to usher in the new age heavyweights. But the excitement is starting to fade. That’s the peril of selecting sub par opposition. Eric Molina was forgivable for an easy first defence, a homecoming for Wilder as he brought heavyweight boxing to Alabama. But then he decided to do it all again on September 26, fighting the profoundly unknown Johann Duhaupas. The latter’s claim to fame is a majority decision win over Manuel Charr, no world beater himself, though to credit the brave Frenchman he withstood a lot of what Wilder threw at him. Deontay has power – the only man to go the distance with him was former WBC champ Stiverne – but it is a wild, clubbing force which he brings to bear. He needs more. Wladimir Klitschko, the unified champion, is the epitome of efficiency. Britain’s rising star, Anthony Joshua, though in early stage of his professional career, is generating excitement not just because he has power but because, so far, when he’s had someone going he’s ruthlessly finished the fight. Plus, his level of opposition hasn’t been too dissimilar from Wilder’s general standard of opponent. It means you have to wonder whether the American is, so to speak, a world class finisher.
The only way we’ll find out he is when he takes on a welcome higher standard of challenger.