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Wladimir Says He Won’t Look Past Mormeck, Wants US Fight Next

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Wladimir Says He Won’t Look Past Mormeck, Wants US Fight Next – Wladimir Klitschko and Emanuel Steward chatted with fightwriters on Wednesday afternoon about Wlad’s Saturday title defense against Jean-Mormeck, which will run on EPIX. I’ve yet to meet or hear from the person who thinks Mormeck, an undersized, over-aged cruiserweight, has an ounce of a chance. But one does never know; this sport is the theater of the unexpected, and a Hell Mary bomb out of nowhere could in theory separate Wlad from his senses and his belt in Dusseldorf.

The fight broadcast kicks off Saturday at 4:30 PM ET. You can also watch on the JumboTron in Times Square.

Steward said that Mormeck has a style unlike anyone Wlad has seen. His bob and weave style will be hard for a tall fighter, Manny said. “You don’t have much of a target,” he said, and breaking his hands is a risk. He said training camp has been hard, because he thinks Mormeck won’t be easy to solve. This will not be a quickie KO outing, and Wlad will need to be patient, as Lennox Lewis was with Mike Tyson. “We can’t underestimate this guy..One punch can turn everything around,” he said. Steward cited the Hasim Rahman one-punch KO of Lennox Lewis in South Africa in 2002.

“Wladimir has trained as hard or harder than in any fight.” he said.

Steward said the fact that Mormeck will have it harder because he hasn’t fought since December 2010 (SD12 win over Timor Ibragimov). He said the first couple rounds could be tough.

Steward was asked if Wlad might be overtrained, because of the postponement. (The bout was set for December, but was postponed, because Wlad had a kidney stone.) No, he said, they have their system down. He could fight another four or five years, the trainer stated. The trainer said he and Wlad are like “hitmen” who study foes, and determine how to take them down. “I’m always excited about a heavyweight championship fight,” he said, and reiterated that he is wary of an upset.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael asked Steward what he saw in Mormeck that concerns him. The concern, he said, comes from the 56-3 Wlad maybe underestimating Mormeck. No, skillswise, Mormeck isn’t stellar, Steward said. Steward said he knows Wlad is a technical guy, not a bomber, not someone who looks to close the show. He recognizes and accepts that. “It’s going to be frustrating for maybe a couple rounds,” he said, but then he expects Wlad to pull away.

Wlad (age 35) too expects a great challenge from Mormeck (36-4 with 22 KOs; ex cruiser champ; beat an older Virgil Hill twice, lost to Haye), who turns 40 in June, early on. He said he looked slow and “looked poor” at a press workout but expects him to look better on Saturday. He noted that ex Mike Tyson trainer Kevin Rooney will work Mormeck’s corner.

Wlad said that in Europe, heavyweight boxing is alive and well, and the arena will be jammed Saturday. Those fans won’t be put off that Mormeck is only 5-11 1/2 to Wlad’s 6-6. He said the underdog has everything to win and nothing to lose on Saturday, so he must respect that. JMM will be in shape and will be aggressive and shoot from different angles, Wlad said.

The fighter said of the Povetkin-Huck scrap that he missed the bout. “What I heard was not really kind of exciting in the way of knockouts and knockdowns,” he said.

Wlad said soon younguns like Seth Mitchell, and Cris Arreola will be ready for challenges with the Klitschkos. He said he is looking forward to fighting in the US this year and that he has been missing that buzz which comes from fighting in America. He last gloved up in the US in 2008, against Sultan Ibragimov at Madison Square Garden.

Steward said he’d like to see Wlad meet Arreola, who would bring him out of his comfort zone. And then maybe Seth Mitchell. HBO, Showtime or EPIX can step up to make it happen. Wlad said New York is his favorite city in the US, and even if the foe isn’t stellar, interest would be high. The fight does need to make economic sense, so I took that to mean he won’t take a heavy discount from the money he can gross in Germany.

Wlad and Povetkin in the US could sell out and get solid buzz, according to Steward. Yes, fighting in front of 50,000 is fun, and it makes mad money…but the buzz you get in the US is still special.

Wlad brought up Rahman’s shocker win over Lewis. “The worst thing I could do is lose my focus,” he said. He said he hasn’t forgotten his difficult 2003-2004, when he lost twice, to Corrie Sanders and then Lamon Brewster. He said he didn’t want to promise a KO, because he did so against Haye, but said he would look for a stoppage.

He said he still loves what he does, and that he isn’t frustrated that marquee foes haven’t emerged. Steward said it does frustrate him. He said he likes Mitchell, who could be a good challenge. “It might be the worst heavyweight time in history,” Steward said of the era the Ks fight in. Larry Holmes went through much of the same, and so did Lewis, he pointed out. All the Klitschkos can do, he said, is beat who they have put in front of him. The Haye challenge did create some excitement. He said sooner or later, if he keeps ahold of the title, a challenge will come from some nook or cranny.

COO Travis Pomposello, calling from Germany, said he was happy to complete the mini-series of heavyweight bouts, which jumped from Vitali-Chisora, to Povetkin-Huck, and now Wladimir-Mormeck, on consecutive Saturdays. “It’s been great for EPIX and fight fans in the US to have the Klitschkos defend their titles,” he said, and who knows, maybe it’ll happen next in the US.

The remaining 5,000 seats left sold over the last two weeks, and Team Klitschko’s Tom Loeffler said it will be a sellout, with 50,000 people in Esprit Stadium.

Loeffler said there’s no way Wlad would come to the US and fight in the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, because Golden Boy has exclusive rights to that venue. That venue, he said, wanted Wlad to fight there, but he said he wouldn’t co-promote with GB. Wlad said he’d like to fight again in Madison Square Garden. “New York, the East Coast is the logical step to fight in,” he said. Loeffler said Barclays approached them, but that MSG would be a fine venue. Wlad sold out MSG for Ibragimov, he said, so if they get a good deal from a US broadcaster, they will do it.

The Ola Afolabi-Valery Brudov cruiserweight scrap, for an interim title, will also be shown.

If I’m Mormeck, I employ the Corrie Sanders style against Wlad. Go at him guns blazing, get in his face, rush him, right away. Yank him out of his comfort zone. Throw everything you have at him for as long as you got it. If you flame out, and he’s still standing, then take your lumps, eat a few bombs, and then call it a night. You’ll have done your best, and given fans three or six minutes of rock ’em, sock ’em stuff, rather than 12 rounds of pulling-wings-off-a-fly thrills. My two cents…

Wladimir Says He Won’t Look Past Mormeck, Wants US Fight Next / Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.

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Fast Results From London: Joshua Takes Out Povetkin in the 7th

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UK sporting

It was a very wet night at Wembley Stadium, but the dampness didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of the crowd which welcomed UK sporting hero Anthony Joshua into the ring with a thunderous ovation. And Joshua didn’t disappoint. After six relatively even rounds, he found his range in the seventh and became the first man to stop Alexander Povetkin. A three punch combo that began with an overhand right sent Povetkin sprawling into the ropes. The Russian beat the count, but Joshua smelled blood and as soon as the ref allowed the proceedings to continue he moved in for the kill. The official time was 1:59.

Povetkin started fast and in the eyes of many observers won the first three rounds. A sharp right hand in the waning seconds of round one reddened Joshua’s nose which leaked blood in the next round. The tide began to turn in round four when Povetkin suffered a cut above his left eye.

Povetkin (now 34-2), was the lighter man by 23 pounds. Joshua had a four inch height advantage and a seven inch reach advantage. And it mattered greatly that AJ was the younger man by 10-plus years. Povetkin wasn’t intimidated by Joshua and had several good moments but, at age 39, his reflexes betrayed him once the fight had crossed the midpoint.

Joshua, who owns three of the four meaningful heavyweight title belts, improved to 22-0 with his 21st stoppage. His next fight is penciled in for April 13 of next year against an opponent to be determined. His promoter Eddie Hearn has reserved that date at Wembley Stadium.

Other Bouts

In a 12-round lightweight bout, Joshua’s Olympic Games teammate and fellow gold medalist Luke Campbell (19-2) avenged the first loss of his career with a unanimous decision (119-109, 118-111,116-112) over France’s Yvan Mendy (40-5-1). This was Campbell’s second start since coming up short in a bid for Jorge Linares’s lightweight title and his first fight under his new trainer Shane McGuigan.

In their first meeting in December of 2015 at London’s O2 Arena, Mendy won a split decision that should have been unanimous. Campbell insisted that he had improved greatly in the interim and tonight’s fight bore witness. However, he needs to develop a harder punch to rank among the top lightweights in the world, a list headed by Mikey Garcia. As this fight was framed as a WBC title eliminator, Campbell is next in line to meet Garcia, but Mikey has indicated that he will pursue bigger game.

Lawrence Okolie, a 2016 Olympian who trains with Anthony Joshua, won a Lonsdale belt in only his 10th pro start with a 12-round decision over defending BBBofC cruiserweight champion Matty Askin in a messy fight. The undefeated Okolie had a point deducted in round five for leading with his head and had two more points deducted for holding, but banked enough rounds to get the nod on all three cards: 116-110, 114-112, and 114-113. Askin, who declined to 23-4-1, had won five straight heading in.

A 10-round heavyweight match between Sergey Kuzmin (13-0, 1 NC) and David Price (22-6) ended suddenly when Price retired on his stool after four relatively even rounds. The six-foot-eight, china-chinned Price claimed to have aggravated a biceps tear.

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

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Michael Dutchover

ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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Charr-Oquendo Scuttled When Charr Tests Positive; the Odious WBA Saves Face

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Manuel Charr

Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo were scheduled to fight in Cologne, Germany, later this month (Sept. 29). Charr would be defending his WBA world heavyweight title, the “regular” version of it, not the “super” version which rests in the hands of Anthony Joshua.

The bout was quickly cancelled when it was revealed that Charr had tested positive for two banned anabolic steroids. The test was performed by VADA, the anti-doping agency identified with Las Vegas neurologist Dr. Margaret Goodman.

The 33-year-old Charr, born in Lebanon but a resident of Germany since the age of three, won the belt in his last start with a unanimous decision over 281-pound Russian behemoth Alexander Ustinov in Oberhausen, Germany. The title was vacant. Charr won the right to fight for it with a 10-round decision over Albanian slug Sefer Seferi. The victory over Ustinov elevated his record to 31-4. He has been stopped three times, by Vitali Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, and Mairis Briedis.

If it wasn’t for bad luck, as the old saying goes, Fres Oquendo wouldn’t have any luck at all. For various reasons, his fights keep falling out. Before long he’ll be drawing social security. Well, not exactly, but he turned 45 in April and hasn’t fought in more than four years.

Oquendo has competed for this belt before. In his last ring appearance in July of 2014, he lost a majority decision to Russia’s Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Russia. As a concession for taking the fight on short notice, Team Oquendo negotiated a rematch clause in the contract, but a shoulder injury prevented Fres from activating it. When the injury healed, he had to go to court to compel Chagaev to fulfill his obligation. But then the Russian retired, muddling the water.

The WBA was legally bound to find Oquendo a title fight and in desperation turned to ancient Shannon Briggs. But the Oquendo-Briggs fight, scheduled for June 3 of last year in Hollywood, Florida, fell out when Briggs’ urine specimen showed an abnormally high level of testosterone.

Fres Oquendo was dogged by bad luck even before these recent developments. His professional record, 37-8, is somewhat misleading as six of his eight defeats were razor-thin including his 2003 setback to Chris Byrd and his 2006 setback to Evander Holyfield. However, Oquendo, something of a cutie, was never a crowd-pleaser and in none of his narrow defeats was there a public clamor for a rematch.

The cancellation of Charr-Oquendo cuts the World Boxing Association out of a sanctioning fee, but one would think that the WBA honchos are actually rather pleased by this turn of events. The fight, more precisely the WBA’s world title imprimatur, would have brought more unwanted publicity to the Panama-based organization.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael, who has the largest platform of any boxing writer, has been a persistent critic of the organization which once recognized 41 “champions” in 17 weight classes. In 2009, Rafael wrote, “(The WBA) has become such an absolute farce that even somebody like me, who follows boxing closely, sometimes has a hard time keeping track of all the nonsensical so-called world title belts the WBA has been doling out at an alarming rate. It almost reminds me of the ladies at Costco who hand out various samples on a busy Saturday afternoon.”

Rafael took note when WBA president Gilberto Mendoza promised to cull the herd by eliminating “regular” titles, and then became more caustic when Mendoza didn’t follow through. Recently, in one short, punchy diatribe, Rafael blistered the WBA as wretched, vile, and rancid.

Regardless of your opinion, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Fres Oquendo who keeps getting stranded at the altar. No, he’s not fun to watch and a man of his age shouldn’t be taking any more punches, but he has always been an honest workman and by all accounts he’s a very decent man. Born in Puerto Rico but raised in Chicago, Oquendo pitched right in when the island nation of his birth was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. He was personally responsible for relocating Puerto Rican boxing legend Wilfred Benitez and Benitez’s sister, his caregiver, to Chicago where their lives wouldn’t be as hard.

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