WBA heavyweight eliminator

By Geoffrey Ciani: According to my sources, Don King is considering a four-man tournament to determine a mandatory challenger for the WBA heavyweight crown. Supposedly, the four participants under consideration will be Andrew Golota, DaVarryl Williamson, Serguei Lyakhovich, and Kali Meehan. Talks of such a tournament are in the early stages, but it appears that DKP is planning this contest for September.

All four fighters are currently ranked in the WBA top 15. Making things all the more interesting, the WBA championship is in a state of uncertainty. Champion Ruslan Chagaev has fought just once since winning the strap from Nicolay Valuev over a year ago. Chagaev was twice slated to face off against Valuev in a rematch, but was forced to pull out both times as the result of injury. Meanwhile, there are talks of a potential rematch between Valuaev and John Ruiz, which may be for either the interim or vacant WBA strap depending on what the sanctioning body ultimately decides.

This means the ultimate fate of the WBA crown may come down to which of these seven boxers can emerge supreme in the coming months. For those hoping for unification sometime in the near future, this news does not bode especially well, but in boxing, anything and everything can happen. Given that all seven of the aforementioned pugilists have been in the title picture mix before, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Meehan has won five consecutive fights, including a win over Williamson. He last fought in a title eliminator against Hasim Rahman a few years back when he was thoroughly outclassed. Williamson has not fought since his loss to Meehan, and is currently ranked #13 in the WBA rankings. Lyakhovich has lost back-to-back bouts against Shannon Briggs and Valuev after first winning the WBO title from Lamon Brewster in impressive fashion. Then you have Andrew Golota, in the midst of a three fight winning streak, who has already had four previous cracks at the various alphabet titles. In addition to this quartet of fighters, we also have former WBA champions Ruiz and Valuev, as well as the reigning champion, Chagaev.

Amongst these seven, it is difficult to discern who will come out on top. Will Chagaev finally get his health in order so that he can actually compete inside the squared-circle? Can John Ruiz somehow manage to become a three-time champion (good God!)? Will the seven foot giant Valuev, coming off the most impressive victory in his career, find a way to regain the throne? Or perhaps five times is a charm, when it comes to the enigmatic career of one, Andrew Golota?

Again, nothing is set in stone yet, but the tournament may provide some interesting match-ups in the largely lackluster heavyweight division. Whomever comes out on top, let us hope we get some interesting and exciting match-ups along the way. Because if this past weekend’s championship contest between reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko and Tony Thompson was any indicator, the heavyweight division sure could use some excitement.

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Article posted on 14.07.2008

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