Next Up for Wladamir Klitschko? Adamek, Chisora, Fury, Povetkin, Boystov or Haye
With David Haye dispatched with such ease in Germany, who will be the next heavyweight contender to face Wladamir Klitschko?
With Wladamir keen to fight again before the end of the year, I'll run through the likely candidates and try to get to the bottom of who he'll fight next and why.
Can any of them really beat the Ukrainian?
Tomasz Adamek: If He Beats Vitali
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Tomasz Adamek is a 34-year-old former light heavyweight & cruiserweight champion who is fighting Wladamir's older brother Vitali in his homeland of Poland on September 10th. His record stands at 45 fights, 44 wins & 28 KO's, although only six of those fights and two of those knockouts were at heavyweight.
If Adamek were to beat Vitali, then he would be almost certain to fight Wladamir next year. While he is a talented and durable fighter, he doesn't possess the power to bring down a heavyweight of Vitali's size. Adamek does have a very strong chin, although Michael Grant came close to knocking him out in the latter stages of their 2010 encounter. A Vitali points victory seems the likely outcome which would probably rule out a fight with Wladamir anytime soon.
Chances of being Wladamir's next opponent: 2/10 - I can't see him overcoming Vitali, and even if he did, Wladamir seems intent on fighting again in 2011 which would rule out Adamek.
Chances of beating Wladamir: 4/10 - Adamek doesn't really have the tools to beat Wladamir, but if he does beat Vitali first, then the emotional effect on Wladamir may cause him to drift from his usual game plan.
Derek Chisora: Wladamir Owes Him a Fight
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Wladamir has twice pulled out of fights with 27-year-old British & Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion Derek Chisora. The undefeated Londoner is relatively inexperienced with 14 fights and nine KO's.
The Chisora camp has been keen to suggest that Wladamir had "ducked" out of fighting Chisora with Derek's confident demeanor and lack of respect when arriving for the first fight having supposedly worried Klitschko's team. That seems unlikely!
Chisora hasn't really fought anyone of note, has never fought outside of the UK and has neither the speed nor height to trouble Wladamir. Chisora would be likely to have just a punchers chance. His chin has never been tested and he has never fought 12 rounds. His last four wins have all come via knockout against sub-standard opponents.
Perhaps, Chisora hopes to unsettle Klitschko with some dirty tricks in the ring; he has a bad reputation outside of the ring and bit the ear of Paul Butlin during their second encounter in 2009.
Chisora faces the 6'9" Tyson Fury later this month; the methods he employs in that fight against a similar style of heavyweight to Klitschko may give some clues as to his chances of beating Wladamir. Fury, though, is also undefeated in 14 fights, and there is no guarantee that Chisora will beat him.
Chances of being Wladamir's next opponent: 6/10 - Wladamir owes Chisora a fight and has recently stated that he would like to face the winner of Chisora vs. Fury. If Chisora wins later this month, then, he can expect a fight with Wladamir to finally happen before the end of the year. It would, however, be a mistake to look ahead with a potentially very difficult fight against Fury to win first.
Chances of beating Wladamir: 1/10 - Chisora simply doesn't have the tools to beat a Klitschko; he is a Domestic/European-level heavyweight. Derek's only hope is to catch Wladamir with a lucky shot, but he will have to do so early as I can't see him lasting more than six rounds.
In reality David Haye would easily beat Chisora so what hope does he have against Klitschko?
Tyson Fury: Surely Too Early?
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With Wladamir Klitschko recently quoted as saying he would like to fight the winner of Chisora vs. Fury, the 23-year-old colourful Brit might be offered an unexpected shot at the World Heavyweight title. The giant 6'9" heavyweight has had just 14 professional fights, all of them victories, has scored 10 knockouts and is yet to fight a full 12-rounder.
The name Tyson Fury is a promoter's dream, and he has the backstory to match. Tyson is from an Irish traveler family with a legacy in bare knuckle boxing. He also rather famously punched himself in the face when fighting Lee Swaby.
Legendary trainer Emmanuel Steward feels Fury has the ability to get to the very top, even suggesting that he will be the next "super dominant heavyweight" after Wladamir Klitschko.
After a series of failed relationships with trainers, Fury flew to the US to seek out Steward in Detroit and ended up staying in his house for three weeks. Fury seems more focussed on his career now and looks in much better shape as his fight with Chisora looms.
Fighting a man of Fury's size would certainly present Wladamir with a different challenge, but it is far too early for Fury to take on Klitschko, especially when a bad defeat could jeopardize a potentially promising career. Regardless, Fury must beat Chisora to be even considered.
Chances of being Wladamir's next opponent: 4/10 - If Fury beats Chisora, he will almost certainly be offered the chance to fight Wladamir, but I believe he will turn it down. He believes he can beat Klitschko but not yet. Look for this fight to happen two or three years down the line if Wladamir is still boxing
Chances of beating Wladamir: 2/10 - The prospect of seeing Klitschko fight a man with a reach, height and weight advantage is certainly intriguing.
Unfortunately Fury isn't ready mentally of physically to come close to beating a Wladamir.
Aleksandr Povetkin: If He Beats Chagaev
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Aleksander Povetkin will almost certainly fight Ruslan Chagaev for the WBA's "Regular" Heavyweight Title if, as expected, they declare Wladamir their "Super Champion". The fight is rumored to be scheduled for late August.
Povetkin was scheduled to fight Wladamir Klitschko in late 2008, but he had to pull out due to a hand injury, and the fight was never rearranged. Povetkin was a superb amatuer and won the Olympic gold medal in Athens in 2004 before turning pro a year later.
Now 31 years old, the 6'2" Russian is unbeaten in 21 professional fights and has won 15 by way of knockout. His undoubted skills and maturity would make him a dangerous opponent for Wladamir, but the bout would be unlikely to have truly international appeal.
Chances of being Wladamir's next opponent: 4/10 - If he beats Chagaev, then surely, Wladamir will fight Povetkin at some point. I doubt that Povetkin will want to fight again this year though, assuming the Chagaev fight goes ahead. Whether Wladamir is keen on facing such a potentially dangerous opponent straight after the Haye fight is also in question.
Chances of beating Wladamir: 5/10 - Povetkin has the boxing talent and maturity to give Wladamir a good fight. Can he beat him? Probably not.
Denis Boytsov: The Russian Tyson
Possibly the brightest young talent in the heavyweight division, Denis Boystov has been compared by some to Mike Tyson. The 25-year-old is certainly an aggressive fighter with fast hands and clubbing hooks, but he isn't at anywhere near the level of a young Mike Tyson.
The 6'1" Russian is unbeaten in 28 fights with 23 wins by KO, whether he can mix it with the very top heavyweights is still in question.
Chances of being Wladamir's next opponent: 2/10 - He has an outside chance of being Wladamir's next opponent. Arguably, he isn't ready yet to take on Klitschko, and on the other hand, I'm not sure how keen Wladamir will be to get in the ring with such an aggressive opponent.
Chances of beating Wladamir: 4/10 - I certainly don't think it would be an enjoyable fight for Wladamir; Boystov wont stand off like Haye did. Ultimately though, I'd expect Wladamir's experience to tell in this fight.
David Haye: It Couldn't Happen...could It?
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David Haye? Surely not?
This seems massively unlikely, especially as Wladamir's next fight. If Haye does postpone retirement and get a couple of wins under his belt (probably against other people on this list or against Vitali), then maybe in a couple of years time.
I won't score the likelihood of the fight or the chances of a Haye win as this surely couldn't be Wladamir's next fight? Then again, money talks, possibly even more than Haye does!