The Cruserweights: The Russians are coming!

By Damian "andyZOR" Markut: Russian prospect, Denis Lebedev (18-0(13 KOs), turned contender after his dismantling of former WBO World Champion, Enzo Maccarinelli (29-4(22KOs) from Wales, via a third round brutal TKO stoppage. The fight was for the WBO Intercontinental Cruiserweight Title.

The fight was on the undercard of Khan-Kotelnik, but un-televised live. The fight started going in Enzo's favor with Enzo landing some nice jabs and trying to stop the pressure from the powerful Russian thug. After 2 rounds, Enzo has appeared to have enough.. Lebedev landed some nice clean uppercuts and right hands on Enzo in the third round, which caused Enzo's right eye to close. Although Lebedev did the job, but he has shown some flaws. You could tell from the opening round that this was going to be a very tactical fight with power shots resulting in at least one of them getting a KO!

Lebedev started very cautious and seemed to be nervous quite times when Enzo was opening up with his punches. Lebedev in my opinion has proved that his power and his style is enough to compete in the Cruiserweight division vs. the top fighters like Ramirez, Drodz, Jones etc.

One problem I can't seem to avoid is size. Lebedev seems to have a very small body frame for a Cruiserweight. Being a former Light Heavy, it don't make much to prove otherwise.

Right now I would rank Lebedev as a top 3 Russian Cruiserweight along with the likes of Drodz and Alexeev. Lebedev is 29 now, a decent age, but not great. Time will only tell how he will end up in the ranks of the Cruiserweight Division.

Positive: A good and solid win for Lebedev. He dismantled a former champion(weak or not) in 3 rounds and showed really good strength and will.

Negative: His size. The hard Russian Cruiser seems to be smaller compared to the Adameks, Wlodarczyks, Cunnimghams, etc. of the division which can really trouble him if he ever were to compete with them. He has also a lot of confidence with calling out all the title holders.. I myself do not think he is ready for such a test yet. He must still earn it by beating at least one other solid fighter.

Conclusion: Lebedev has power and shows a good chin.... which most Russian Cruisers do. That alone can get you a title. The man grew up on the mean streets of Moscow, Russia, so the toughness and urge is defiantly there.

Lebedev will be a future WBO champ, but I see it going a bit 70/30 in his favor. So a good chance is there. No doubt in my mind he would/could KO Maro Huck from Germany, if he were to beat the current WBO champ, Victor Ramirez from Argentina. They are scheduled to fight in August 29 2009 in Germany.

"I was a bit nervous before the fight. Just like any previous ones. At the same time tho, I couldn't wait til the opening bell. The the fight started, I told myself that the tactics and game plan for this fight will get me the KO over Enzo. He is a good boxer and I can't say nothing bad about him. Enzo came to my locker after the fight and congratulated me."

- Denis Lebedev

We intend to organize Denis a 10 Oct fight for the title. Chcemy, aby jeden z mistrzˇw świata pojawił się w Balashikha. We want one of the world champions.

We do not know even the names of his next opponent, but certainly it is not going to be Victor Emilio Ramirez (interim WBO champion), because he has signed a contract for the fight against Marco Huck."

- Vladimir Hrunov, Denis Lebedev's Manager

Also a very possible fight for Denis would be former Enzo Maccarinelli conqueror Ola Afolabi.

Another Russian who emerged back on the Cruiserweight hunt is Grigory Drodz (32-1(24KOs) who crushed former world title challenger, American Darnell Wilson (23-9-3(20 KOs). Dordz went on to dominate the fight wining via a TKO in the 10th round when Wilson didn't come out of the corner. Wilson was totally off and didn't have a good enough game plan to trouble the Russian. Wilson was in the ring just throwing haymakers trying to land and out punch the Russian boxer, pretty much like always, but very dangerous punches. Although now that Drodz has learned his lesson when he lost to Arslan via TKO in the 5th, Wilson, did not.

Wilson didn't have anything to compete with Drodz. Drodz went in and applied pressure to Ding which seemed to frustrate him a lot whilst showing unsportsmanlike behavior in the bout as well. Wilson began to trouble early on and struggled with the hometown Russian by going all out. Seemingly, Wilson seemed to be out of gas and Drodz just finished the job.

Although I believe Lebedevs opponent, Maccarinelli, was more impressive of a opponent than Wilson, Drodz has all the tools being size, power, will and strength to beat Lebedev. If a fight were to happen, I would have to favor Drodz by a 65% margin rough estimate.

Positives: Drodz seems to have improved as a fighter and learned from his mistakes from the Arslan fight. He uses his size/frame quite well, and isn't scared to go toe to toe all out.

Negatives: This was only Darnell Wilson. Not trying to rag on Wilson being I think he is a great man, but Wilson isn't much of a tactician or general in the ring himself. This fight did prove that Drodz is up for contention vs. some top 5 or even 10 opponents and securing a fight for a future title shot, but he must also think and know that guys like Adamek, Cunningham, Jones etc. are no Darnell Wilson. A fight vs. a contender like Afolabi or even a rematch vs Arslan should be in place.

Conclusion: Its kinda hard to think about it, but I believe Lebedev will get his shot for the WBO before Drodz does. A Intercontinental belt is sure to boost him up the ratings in the WBO and possibly a future fight vs a number 1 or 2 for a title shot. Drodz has the gifts to beat Huck or Ramirez. I'll wait out on this but Dordz could be a future WBO titlist.

In other news, Krzysztof Wlodarczyk of Poland is still in talks of a rematch vs. WBC Champion from Italy, Giacobbe Fragomeni. The 2 fought to a draw in Italy earlier this year. With that draw, Wlodarczyk was also included in the recent top 10 rankings of the IBF title.

Tomasz Adamek vs. Andrew Golota is a high possibility. The two well known Polish fighters are according to a lot of sources, almost complete to making a deal happen.

WBA champion Guillermo Jones of Panama, is also in talks of a title defense. Where are you hiding Jones? The Jones camp is rumored to a fight and in negotiations to fight yet another Russian Cruiserweight Valery Brudov.

Article posted on 27.07.2009

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