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Who Is the REAL Heavyweight Champion?

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 23:  Wladimir Klitschko (L) of Ukraine throws a right to the head of Sultan Ibragimov (R) of Russia during their WBO and IBF/IBO Unification Heavyweight World Championship bout on February 23, 2008 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Jody WagnerContributor IAugust 20, 2009

Who is the REAL heavyweight boxing champion of the world?

The Candidates

Wladimir Klitschko (53-3 47 KO's) is the IBF/IBO/WBO heavyweight champion.  He holds the most title belts and has fought some of the best boxers in the world.  He has defeated Ruslan Chagaev, Sultan Ibragimov, Calvin Brock, and Samuel Peter while they were top undefeated contenders.  He has also defeated former champions Chris Byrd, Lamon Brewster and Hasim Rahman, all in his last eleven fights.

Vitali Klitschko (37-2 36 KO's) is the WBC heavyweight champion.  Before he retired in 2004, and after Lennox Lewis' retirement, he was considered by most the to be the champion.  In his fight against Lennox Lewis, the last undisputed heavyweight boxing champion, he was winning until the fight was stopped due to a cut on Klitschko.  Since his return in 2008, he has beaten Sam Peter and Juan Carlos Gomez.  He is set to defend his title against undefeated up-and-comer Chris Arreola (27-0 24 KO's) on 9/26/2009. 

Nikolay Valuev (50-1 34 KO's)  is the WBA heavyweight champion.  He is the 7 foot monster that could have looked Andre the Giant eye to eye.  His only loss came by a majority decision to then undefeated Ruslan Chagaev.  He is set to defend his title against the flamboyant David Haye (22-1 21 KO's) on 11/7/2009. 

Most are in agreement that both Klitschko's would beat Valuev.  So the recognized champion must be one of the Klitschko's right?  The one major problem in the heavyweight division is that 2 of the top 3 champions, the Klitschko brothers, will not fight each other.  Chalk one up for brotherly love, but that doesn't help us boxing fans much.

The fight we really need to see next is the winner of Valuev/Haye vs Wladimir Klitschko.  That fighter will then hold the majority of the championship belts.  That would make the decision on the the real heavyweight champion a little more decisive. 

Until that happens, we will have an alphabet soup of champions to debate about.


Notable Heavyweight Fights Coming Up

Aug. 29, '09 - Lamon Brewster (35-4 30 KO's) vs Gbenga Oloukun (16-1 10 KO's)
Sept. 26, '09 - (WBC Title Fight) Vitali Klitschko (37-2 36 KO's) vs Chris Arreola (27-0 24 KO's)
Oct. 3, '09 - David Tua (49-3 42 KO's) vs Shane Cameron (23-1 20 KO's)
Oct. 10, '09 - Kevin Johnson (22-0 9 KO's) vs Odlanier Solis (14-0 10 KO's)
Nov. 7, 09 - (WBA Title Fight) Nikolay Valuev (50-1 34 KO's) vs David Haye (22-1 21 KO's)

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