Canadian News: Ryan Wagner Shakes Up the Welterweight Division

By GM Ross: Ontario's Ryan Wagner improved to 4-1-0 last weekend in Edmonton, Alberta, giving Rory Coveney's (7-0-0) perfect record a definitive blemish. The Boxing Examiner's Darren Hauck showered the bout with accolades, calling it "action packed" and "old school"; perfect for a "great rematch in the very near future." All three judges scored the contest 58-53 for Wagner, catapulting the Orangeville native into the welterweight title picture.

Coveney deserves a rematch sometime down the road, but Wagner may have bigger fish to fry in the immediate future. On October 22, undefeated Samuel Vargas (7-0-1) of Mississauga, Ontario, faces Ahmad Cheikho (6-3-2) of Montreal, Quebec, in the former's hometown. Vargas is the only fighter to defeat Wagner thus far and - win or lose against Cheikho - would make an excellent match-up for Wagner's next bout. Their first contest was by no means a blow out. The Orangeville fighter simply ran out of gas late, dropping the decision. Wagner deserves a chance to redeem himself and hopefully Vargas will oblige.

If Vargas won't take a rematch, maybe its time for Wagner to throw his hat in the championship picture. With Tebor Brosch moving down to 140lbs, Wanger would most likely be up against Samuel Vargas, Abdou Sow, Kevin Bizier or Manolis Plaitis for the Canadian Professional Boxing Council welterweight championship. Victor Puiu of Toronto is the Canadian Boxing Federation Champion (CBF), but left the domestic scene long ago to compete internationally. Puiu won his CBF crown in 2008, but has never defended, fighting his way through experienced, foreign competition instead. There is absolutely no shame in that. Puiu defeated Junior Witter for the WBC Silver International Championship last February, putting him in running for bigger and better pugilistic opportunities down the road. Frankly, as Canada`s top welterweight and the #19 contender in the WBC rankings, a Canadian title defence would be a step backwards for the sensational Ontario brawler.

So that leaves Ryan Wagner, Phil Lo Greco, Samuel Vargas, Kevin Bizier, Abdou Sow and Manolis Plaitis. All of these fighters are eligible for a title shot and each is an exciting, crowd pleasing pugilist. Phil Lo Greco - recently stripped of his WBC International laurels - may wish to continue his quest for a world title. He'll no doubt continue to make Canada proud with his outstanding performances against international talent at home and abroad. Samuel Vargas will be focused on his match-up with Cheikho October 22, but then who knows. Abdou Sow (5-1-0) is the former CPBC Lightweight champion and has continued his winning ways as a welterweight. Manolis Plaitis (16-1-1) and Kevin Bizier (15-0-0) are phenomenal prospects, worthy of Canadian title shots. After all, Palitis boasts a draw with former champion Tebor Brosch (6-3-5) and Bizier remains undefeated.

Who will emerge from this heap of talented boxers to fight for the Canadian title? Well, in many ways, its a matter of who wants it the worst. I suspect two men will throw their hats in the ring in the coming months, eager to solidify their names in Canadian boxing history.

Article posted on 12.10.2011

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