One left hook was enough for Volodymyr Klychko (Wladimir Klitschko) to beat his latest opponent. The next American hope - the two-meter-tall Ray Austin - lost as a result of a TKO by the second round.
The number of overseas boxers who are ready to fight Slavic champions is gradually decreasing. Experts say that title fights between boxers from the post-Soviet space may soon be a possibility, writes www.korrespondent.net, citing the RBC Daily (Russian Federation).
The IBF named Austin mandatory challenger for the title at the end of 2006. Three Russians were named as potential rivals: Oleg Maskaev and Nikolai Valuev - current WBC and WBA champions, respectively - and Sultan Ibragimov. The negotiations with the champions hit a dead end, and Klychko’s rival was supposed to be determined in the eliminator (a selection fight for the right to participate in the fight for the title) in which Ibragimov fought Austin. The match ended in a tie, and a second bout was set. But the IBF changed its mind, naming the American mandatory challenger.
It is still not known who will be Klychko’s next rival. Today’s champions have said on several occasions that they are ready for the bouts that will determine the absolute world champion. In the late 20th century such fights were held regularly, and the public considered the real champions only those boxers who took all the titles. The most famous of these were Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis. However, the talks on the unification bouts have not led to anything.
The unspoken reason is the lack of interest among the American public in the rivalry among Slavic boxers. The biggest profits from boxing matches are traditionally generated in the US. At one time North America held a monopoly on belts in the heavyweight category, but Slavic boxers broke the old order two years ago.
During the existence of the USSR Soviet boxers were forbidden to participate in professional fights. Since the collapse of the USSR boxers from the post- Soviet space have been winning titles confidently. Now, Slavic heavyweight boxers control three out of four titles in all professional boxing associations.
In an interview after the fight Klychko said that he wants to unite the belts and meet with Russian boxer Valuev, reports www.NEWSru.com, citing pro-box. “Even from the point of view of marketing, Valuev is the most attractive of today’s champions. I am ready, he is ready - I hope the fight takes place.”
Valuev, the world’s WBA champion, who is in Berlin, where he continues to prepare for his bout with Ruslan Chagaev, said that he has been waiting a long time for an offer to fight Klychko. “I have been asked this question many times, and my answer has not changed,” Valuev said. “Of course, this depends on my management, but I am ready to go into the ring against Klychko at a moment’s notice.”
It looks as if the contours of the Klychko brothers’ ambitious plans are sharpening up — to win all the champion belts in the super-heavyweight category, www.NEWSru.com writes. After announcing their return to the ring, Vitalii said that he and his brother are going to share the belts equally. This means that the younger brother will take on Valuev, and the older one will fight Maskaev and Briggs, who is successfully avoiding a champion fight with Ibragimov.