Perennial contender Ray Austin discusses his career, the heavyweight division, and the Klitschkos

by Pavel Yakovlev: (September 5, 2012) – Anyone following the heavyweight division knows about Ray “The Rainman” Austin. A professional since 1998, he has fought in several elimination bouts to determine mandatory challengers for the heavyweight champions. In 2007 Austin tangled with Vladimir Klitschko for the IBF world heavyweight title. In addition, the towering fighter – he stands over 6’6” and weighs around 240 lbs. – has squared off against top names such as Odlanier Solis, Sultan Ibragimov, Andrew Golota, Lance Whittaker, Larry Donald, Bermane Stiverne, and DaVarryl Williamson, among others. A perennial contender who is still capable of winning world-class bouts at age 41, Austin will most likely figure in more high profile matches before his career winds down.

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Vitali defends his WBC title on Saturday against Charr

Vitali Klitschko - Vitali KlitschkoBy Rob Smith: 41-year-old WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko (44-2, 40 KO’s) will be defending his World Boxing Council title on Saturday night against the unbeaten and highly ambitious #7 WBC Manuel Charr (21-0, 11 KO’s) at the Olimpiyskiy, in Moscow, Russia. Vitali has picked out an opponent with an unbeaten record but with little real substance to it. Charr is unbeaten but he’s not fought anyone in the top 15, and he struggled badly against a past his best Danny Williams and also against journeyman Zack Page.

With this possibly being Vitali’s last fight of his career it’s disappointing to see him pick out the 27-year-old Charr to fight instead of someone a little more talented like Denis Boytsov or Kubrat Pulev. Never the less, Vitali’s German fans watching the fight on television, as well as the Russian fans in Moscow, likely won’t care that Vitali is taking a soft touch in the incredibly slow Charr to beat up instead of someone that can give him a decent fight.

There’s a possibility that if Vitali gets past Charr in one piece without struggling he could end up facing former WBA heavyweight champion David Haye in late December or early 2013. The chance is there but it’s still more likely that Vitali hangs up his gloves and goes into politics in Ukraine.

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Manuel Charr Interview

Vitali Klitschko - Vitali Klitschkoby – Questions & answers with Manuel Charr (21-0, 11 KO), a challenger for the WBC heavyweight title. The Lebanon-born Charr, nicknamed “Diamond Boy” will face Vitali Klitschko (44-2, 40 KO) on Saturday in Moscow, Russia.

Q: Hello Manuel, please tell us something about you history, your family and origin. How did you get to Germany?

A: My father was a Syrian citizen but I was born and raised in Lebanon. Sadly my father died in 1986 during the war. We have lived in Beirut till we came over as fugitives to Germany in 1989. We, that have been my mother, my 5 sisters, my 2 brothers and I. I was just 6 years old. First we stayed for a couple of weeks in Berlin Wedding and then we moved to Katernberg (a district of Essen) next to Gelsenkirchen, in the center of Germany. There I grow up, went to school and learned German.

Q: Do you visit Syria sometimes?
A: I do have some family there, but me close family is in Germany, so I hardly go over there.

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WBC “Welcomes Back David Haye,” Fresh Hopes For Vitali Challenge

Vitali Klitschko - Vitali KlitschkoBy James Slater: The WBC group led by Don Jose Sulaiman has “welcomed back” David Haye; the fighter the organization said would never be granted a fight for their world heavyweight title due to his actions in the infamous Munich brawl with Dereck Chicora – and for going ahead and fighting Chisora in the Luxemburg Boxing Council-sanctioned fight this past July.

The WBC had previously stated that: “any fighter involved in the Haye V Chisora fight, will be banned by the WBC.”

But today, as has been reported by the WBC website, Haye, who had “amicable” talks with the organization this week, is now back in line for a shot at their heavyweight belt.

“The WBC was the first organization in recognizing David as world champion, when he conquered the cruiserweight title in 2007,” a WBC statement read. “Then Haye fought in the heavyweight division, and now he wants a fresh shot against current champion Vitali Klitschko.

“The talk was amicable and David Haye is welcome to return to the WBC.”

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Who Has The Best (If Any) Chance In His Upcoming Fight With A Klitschko – Manuel Charr Or Mariusz Wach?

Vitali Klitschko - Vitali Klitschkoby James Slater – The two reigning heavyweight kings the Klitschkos, Wladimir and Vitali, are so good and so all-conquering, it’s got to the point where both men are having to search incredibly hard for their next acceptable challenger.

In fact, if you ask some fans, some harsher critics, neither sibling has actually managed to find an acceptable challenger for his next outing. Wladimir, the Ring Magazine, WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO ruler will face unbeaten but largely untested Pole Mariusz Wach, while WBC king Vitali will face the even less tested but also unbeaten Manuel Charr of Beirut.

Let’s take a look and decide which of the two massive outsiders has the best shot, the best prayer, the best hope of being blessed with a miracle in the coming months.

27-year-old Charr, 21-0(11) gets his chance first, on September 8th in Moscow. Smaller than Vitali, possessing only a fraction of “Dr. Iron Fist’s” punching power and experience, Charr, known as “Diamond Boy,” looks to have only one chance in my opinion: that Vitali, all 41-years of him, either suddenly grows old in the ring or suffers an injury (okay, that’s two chances Charr has!)

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Evander Holyfield calls out the Klitschko brothers again

Vitali Klitschko - Vitali KlitschkoBy Rob Smith: Evander Holyfield, 49, is hoping that one of the Klitschko brothers will give him a fight so that Holyfield can try and capture another heavyweight world title before he retires someday. Holyfield hasn’t been ranked in the top tier for quite some time in the heavyweight division so it’s going to be a tad difficult for him to get one of the Klitschkos to bite on his offer.

Holyfield said to Sky Sports News “They [Klitschkos] have got an opportunity to probably make the biggest payday of their lives fighting Evander Holyfield…With the Klitshkos, they aren’t choosing to fight me, I’ve said I’ll fight them. All they got to do is realize that both of us will make money, then we’ll see who the winner is.”

Ignoring the fact that this would be terrible mismatch and the Klitschko brothers would take heaps of criticism from boxing fans if they took this fight, A fight between one of the Klitschko brothers and 49-year-old Holyfield would still do really well in Germany where the Klitschkos fight. The Klitschkos could sell out one of their 50,000 seat football stadiums if they fought Holyfield.

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The Klitschko Dream & The Klitschko Legacy

Vitali Klitschko - Vitali Klitschko

by Geoffrey Ciani – The term Klitschko Dream typically refers to the goal of brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko to simultaneously hold all of the major world titles in heavyweight boxing. Mission accomplished! Wladimir now holds belts from three of the four main sanctioning bodies, while Vitali carries the fourth. This is an amazing feat. In fact, for the better part of the last eight years either one or both of the brothers has reigned supreme. Despite this impressive display of dominance, however, the Klitschko brothers remain largely unappreciated as heavyweight commodities, particularly in the US. Why is this?

Many observers viewed the Klitschko Dream as nothing more than a pipe dream back at the time when the two brothers both turned professional in November 1996. After all, the heavyweight landscape during this period had a great deal of depth and talent. Initially Wladimir was viewed as the more promising of the two brothers, largely because he captured the Gold Medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. The overall early perception of the Klitschkos was a mixed bag. They were obviously big and strong, but often described as being robotic and uncoordinated. Plenty of question marks surrounded the two of them as they slowly worked their way up through the professional ranks.

Vitali would soon be seen as the better of the brothers following Wladimir’s shocking loss at the hands of Ross Purity in December 1998, which was just over two short years after the Klitschkos debuted. Wladimir’s loss to Purity had more to do with inexperience and poor pacing than anything else. Eager to put on an impressive performance while fighting for the first time in front of his hometown audience in Kiev, Wladimir simply punched himself out against a durable opponent, which allowed Purity to capitalize on Wlad’s physically and mentally exhausted state.

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