By James Slater – Right now, there are at least a handful of young, unbeaten American heavyweights out there; fighters U.S fans are hoping will one day soon manage to bring at least a slice of the coveted title back home. Amazingly, America – the country that produced heavyweight legends like Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes, Joe Frazier and George Foreman – has not had a heavyweight titlist since Shannon Briggs, who held the WBO strap in 2006.
With the two Klitschko brothers currently destroying everything in their path, be it American or European opposition, the new crop of U.S heavies have a tough task ahead of them. Who can topple a Klitschko?
Ring Magazine’s website is currently conducting a poll in which it asks readers for their vote: who is the best American heavyweight prospect?
The current results are as follows:
1: Seth Mitchell, with just over 47-percent of votes
2: Deontay Wilder, with just over 27-percent of votes
3: Bryant Jennings, with just over 7-percent
4: Johnathon Banks, with just over 3-percent
5: Tor Hamer, with just over 2-percent
6: Joe Hanks, with just over 1-percent (there have been seven-percent of votes for the choice marked “other.”)
This crop of young heavyweights is not bad – with Wilder having a fine amateur background, Banks having a ton of gym experience and Hamer having recently won “Prizefighter – yet neither guy would have been given much of a shot at living with the greats of yesteryear. Fans seem to have a hard time believing any of the six fighters listed above will be able to hang with a Klitschko today.
For my money, Philly’s compact, fundamentally sound Jennings is the best of the bunch. Already holding a stoppage win over Serhei Liakhovich, the former WBO champ, Jennings, 14-0(6) and known as “By By,” faces Chris Koval next.
Mitchell, 25-0-1(19) is coming off a hand injury, and he will face fellow U.S prospect Banks, 28-1-1(18) next. Wilder, “The Bronze Bomber,” is currently 24-0(24) and he has no next opponent lined up at this time. But Wilder, who swears he is the next heavyweight star, has called out Tyson Fury – what a great match-up of young heavies that would be.
While Hamer, 18-1(11) is also awaiting his next fight, as is Joe “The Future” Hanks, 20-0(14).
In a year or so, one or maybe two of these guys might be knocking on the door for a title shot. Will the Klitschkos still be around then though?