Heavyweight roundup: Parker, Ortiz, Joshua get wins; Chisora and Whyte deliver FOTY candidate
SAN DIEGO, December 10, 2016 – After a full day of action in the heavyweight division, fans got a sense of where the division is headed going into 2017.
Anthony Joshua stops Eric Molina Jr. in three, bring on Wladimir Klitschko
The third round stoppage of Eric Molina Jr. (25-4, 19 KOs) by British IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua of Great Britain (18-0, 18 KOs) was no surprise. Joshua’s confidence and skills are off the charts. Molina looked intimidated from the minute he stepped in the ring. Molina was dropped by a right, and he shouldn’t have even tried to get up. He did, and ate several more punches before referee Steve Gray called it at 2:02 of the round.
“Two types of things they can do, you can get a Dillian (Whyte) and Dereck (Chisora) type of fight, or you can get an Eric Molina,” said Joshua. “Someone who’s waiting on the back foot, you have to create those opportunities. No problem.”
Within minutes of the conclusion, promoter Eddie Hearn invited former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko into the ring from his ringside seat to officially announce Klitschko’s bout with Joshua set for April 29 at Wembley Stadium in London.
“I was watching Anthony Joshua fighting in London in 2012 when he won the gold medal,” said Klitschko. “I never thought I would ask this question. Do you want to see a big fight? Do you want to see a fight where two Olympic champions are involved? Do you want to see Anthony Joshua versus Wladimir Klitschko? You got it! “
Joshua called Klitschko a respectful man outside the ring and competitive inside the ring. “Klitschko wants his belts back, may the best man win.” What’s Joshua’s game plan for the fight? “How I beat him is be myself, focus on my own training with a positive attitude,” said Joshua.
Klitschko said, “I have been doing this job for 26 years, so I do have a lot of knowledge and this knowledge will definitely help me in the ring. You can’t miss it, you gotta watch it.” Don’t expect fan friendly fireworks, but the significance of the bout will help overcome any lack of excitement in the ring.
Dillian Whyte and Derek Chisora put on a FOTY show, Whyte prevails
It seemed impossible for the bout between British heavyweights Dillian Whyte 20-1, 25 KOs) and Derek Chisora (26-7, 18 KOs) to live up to expectations. Fans around the world were elated as they watched a legitimate Fight of the Year unfold.
There was little finesse involved in this fight. Both men brought their heavy artillery, fired and reloaded round after round. Chisora grabbed the early momentum, burning so much energy it seemed sure the veteran would gas himself out. Chisora had Whyte in trouble in the third round. But Whyte had youth and stamina on his side. He withstood the early onslaught and began to pour on the offensive himself. Whyte and Chisora exchanged some of their best punches in the fifth round, but it didn’t end there.
With the exception of a moment when Chisora seemed to slip and verge on dropping to the canvas, the two managed to take every bit of punishment while dishing out an equal amount. Both mixed up punches to the head and body nicely and both had sensational moments.
Observers had the scores all over the map going into the final round. With a minute to go, it wasn’t a given either man would get to the final bell, but what a shame it would have been to get to this point of a wildly entertaining fight and not give both men the privilege of ending the fight on their feet. The scorecards were as narrow as it gets. Whyte won a majority decision with scores of 115-113 and 114-113, with the third judge scoring it for Chisora, 115-113.
Fans would love to see a rematch, but Whyte has other business first. He is now the number one WBC challenger, putting him in the path of the WBC title holder, American Deontay Wilder. Unlike other competitors in the division Saturday, the stock of both Whyte and Chisora went way up. There were no real losers here.
Luis Ortiz stops Dave Allen in nine rounds
Cuban heavyweight Luis Ortiz (27-0, 22 KOs) got past British heavyweight Dave Allen (9-2, 6 KOs). Unlike Ortiz’s previous opponent Malik Scott, Allen was willing to engage. It took Ortiz several rounds of the eight round contest to find his distance and get to the awkward Allen. Allen can take a shot and he took plenty from the southpaw’s left hand to both the head and body. But it was a big right hand at the end of the seventh round that did the damage allowing Ortiz to pour it on, and referee Darren Sarginson ended the fight a 2:59 of round 7.
When asked to compare his performance to his lackluster effort against Malik Scott a month ago, Ortiz brushed it off. “He didn’t come to fight, that was an embarrassment. Dave Allen is a warrior, a great fighter. Anybody that fights with David Allen is going to have a hard time if they aren’t fully prepared, maybe an upset.”
Ortiz is now the number one WBA contender, which puts him in the path of Anthony Joshua. “I want Joshua, I want (American Deontay) Wilder, I want the best, I want to stay active. I feel (Eddie) Hearn and my management team King Kong Boxing will do just that. I’m ready to fight anybody, it doesn’t matter” said Ortiz, adding in English, “I want a good match.”
It was a better if not a spectacular performance from Ortiz, and he appears to be in good physical condition. Fans would like to see more of the “Real King Kong” Ortiz first showed when he left Cuba.
Joseph Parker gets close decision over Andy Ruiz in Auckland
Kiwi heavyweight Joseph Parker (22-0, 18 KOs) won a majority decision over a tenacious Andy Ruiz of Mexico, (29-1, 19 KOs). Scores were 115-113 X 2 and a draw on the third card.
Ruiz proved to be surprisingly tough. Trainer Abel Sanchez hasn’t had a lot of time to work with Ruiz, but things are going in the right direction. Ruiz didn’t take a step backward in 12 rounds, and his speed challenged Parker who couldn’t get his timing right until well into the fight. Ruiz won most of the early rounds handily. His stock rose in the loss as he took some hard punches and delivered several of his own. He has the seeds of a great body attack and Sanchez should nurture this.
For Parker it wasn’t the kind of statement performance he wanted to make, but he does become the first ever heavyweight champion from New Zealand by winning the vacant WBO heavyweight title. Parker needs to go back to the gym and figure out how to improve his accuracy and ring generalship, or opponents like Anthony Joshua will crush him.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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