Boxing


Fury, Chisora, Price... Sizing Up The UK Heavyweight Prospects

Paul McCreath: In recent months we have heard a lot about the good number of prospects among the big boys in the UK. With the usual lag in activity during the summer months I though it might be a good idea to take a closer look at the top 7 new guns for those who may not be familiar yet with them and try to guess just how good their chances are of becoming well known internationally. You will notice that I didn't call them young guns. Two of them are not so young. I will list the seven in no particular order..

#1 Sam Sexton-age 25, 6 foot 2 and around 240 pounds. Sam turned pro in September 2005 after a good but not outstanding amateur career. There was little fanfare at first as he won his first 7 fights before being stopped by current British champ Derek Chisora in the 6th round of their bout in June of 2008. Sam was leading on points until Chisora wore him down in the last round. He didn't catch much attention until he won the second Prizefighter tournament in September of that year. Two of the fighters he beat were unbeaten Chris Burton (12-0) and the well known former contender Pele Reid. He then followed up this success by winning the Commonwealth title from unbeaten Martin Rogan on a controversial stoppage in 8 rounds in May of 2009. A rematch last November saw him again gain a win, this time on cuts in 6 rounds. Since then his career has been stalled by the postponements of British title fights, first with Danny Williams and then with Chisora. All is well again now and they will finally meet in their rematch on Sept 18. There has been no word on whether Sexton's Commonwealth title will also be on the line. Many think that Sexton can win this time if he can avoid his late round problems which also showed up in the first Rogan fight. Stamina may be the one thing that could limit Sam's success. He has good technical skills and fair power but his durability might be a problem. If he gets by Chisora there could be some attractive matches in defense of his Commonwealth title. Canadian champ Neven Pajkic or Aussies Alex Leapai and Soloman Haumona come to mind. His record is 13-1 with 6 KOs.

#2 Derek Chisora-age 26, 6 foot 1 and 1/2" and around 245 pounds. This former ABA champion as an amateur has won his first 13 pro fights with 8 KOs. His notable wins as a pro include the KO over Sexton in just his 5th pro fight, a 2 round stoppage over Carl Baker in an eliminator and then his 2 round demolition of shop-worn champ Danny Williams last May. The Williams bout should not be taken too seriously because Danny had already lost in Prizefighter to Baker back in October of last year and was pretty far gone. Still Derek is undefeated and that Sexton win looks pretty good now. What could be a hindrance to his further development would be his mental makeup. He is not well liked in some quarters and was suspended for a period last year after biting Paul Butlin in their bout that went the full 8 rounds. A pro for a little over 3 years his main asset is his aggressive style and his strength. If he can get by Sexton in their rematch he may be in line for a shot at the Euro title in the coming months.

#3 Tyson Fury-age 22, 6 foot 7 and anywhere from 247 to 270 pounds. An ABA superheavy champion in 2008, Tyson has only been a pro since December of that year and is already the most talked about young fighter in the country. He has 11 wins so far with 9 KOs. He has been matched fairly tough for one so young and his best wins so far are the two over Big John McDermott. The first was very controversial, mostly because of the wide margin in scoring in what most fans saw as a close fight. The rematch left no doubts as Fury floored McDermott three times and stopped him in 9 rounds. Still he did not look good. Both fighters were well gassed by the 5th round and it looked like the winner would be the one who didn't drop from exhaustion. In the end Tyson came through with the big punches to end the fight but it was a sloppy performance. He has the size and punching power to suggest he has a lot of potential but he also has the most question marks about his dedication to training. He may go a long way or he could easily flop any time soon. Since the McDermott rematch on June 25 was an eliminator he will likely meet the Chisora-Sexton winner for the British title unless he has to meet the other eliminator winner Larry Olubamiwo first. Either fight would be a tough one for Fury at this time since he is still very green. Many feel he would be better off to step back a bit, get a top trainer and work on his fundamentals for a few months before trying for a title. Either way you can be sure we will hear a lot about this young lad.

#4 Larry Olubamiwo-age 31, 6 foot 4, about 260 pounds. Larry turned pro in October 2008. He has one loss to Daniil Peret on points in his sixth pro fight. Overall he has 9 wins with 8 by KO. He is all muscle and very strong with good power but also slow. He had been matched carefully until his last bout on June 25 when he met Dave Ferguson who was 12-2 . Both losses had come on points in 3 round fights in Prizefighter tournaments. He had looked very durable but Larry stopped him in the first round in what was a title eliminator. Now he could meet Fury in a final eliminator or go straight to a title bout after Fury gets his shot. Some think Larry's age is against him but with many heavyweights today still in their prime in their late 30s he has lots of time yet. His punching power will be a welcome sight among the many cautious big guys around . Don't worry about the loss to Peret. While Peret has lost to 4 of the other prospects listed here only Fury has stopped him and Larry has improved a lot since that loss to Paret.

#5 Tom Dallas-age 25, 6 foot 6 and around 230 pounds. Unlike those listed above Tom is big but slim. He has quietly put together 11 straight wins, 8 by KO since turning pro in September 2008 after a good amateur career during which he reached the ABA finals twice. I have seen all these prospects fight several times and I have to say Tom seems to have improved the most since he started. He won 8 in a row by KO all in 2 rounds or less before Peret managed to survive the 6 round distance last week. Since David Price, Richard Towers and Derek Chisora all failed to stop Peret either this was still a good result. Tom has fast hands and has shown impressive punching power. If you have not seen his one punch KO of Lee Swaby have a look. This kid is the dark horse that could go further than any of these others. He has been matched soft so far but look out. This is one to watch.

#6 David Price-age 26, 6 foot 8 and around 245 pounds. Again we have a tall slim fighter who can box. As an amateur he twice won the ABA superheavy title and gained a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics. He stopped Tyson Fury as an amateur but Fury was only 17 at the time. He has been brought along very slowly but now has 7 wins with 5 KOs since he turned in March of last year. . His outstanding amateur record suggests fine potential and he is in no rush. The one worry which goes back to his amateur days is his chin but they say that about a lot of young fighters. Remember how they talked about Wlad Klitschko's chin? It doesn't seem to have caused him many problems lately. Chances are Price can learn to deal with this problem as well.

#7 Richard Towers-age 30, 6 foot 8 and around 240 pounds. This is another well conditioned tall slim fighter. Outside of the UK few have heard of this lad yet. He started boxing early, showed a lot of promise then disappeared from the sport for years. Word is he fell in with a bad crowd. At any rate he is back and looking both dedicated and good. So far he has 8 wins with the last 6 by KO. He has done all of this since June of last year. Expect to see him step up soon against better names and we will see how fast he becomes well known.

It is not likely that these 7 fighters will ever be known as "The Magnificent Seven. " The law of averages tells us that probably only one of these prospects will ever make it to the world top 10 or better. If we are lucky since the division is not strong these days maybe two or three will make it. You could make the case that as many as 4 of them are already at domestic title level so we could see most of them get at least that far. The thing is you never know with new prospects which ones will succeed. Often the ones that look great in the beginning fizzle out while the slow starters have been known to surprise. It is clear that none of these boxers are yet ready to challenge David Haye let alone the Klitschkos and none will be ready for at least a couple of years. One fight that might be interesting as early as next year would be a match between the best of the prospects and Audley Harrison. Now that would get people talking wouldn't it? We can say for sure that it will be very interesting to watch the progress and maybe the flops as these 7 fighters try to work their way to the top. Which ones do you think have the best chance?

Article posted on 22.07.2010



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