Boxing Only

The big guys you need to get past

Adam Kownacki and the former IBF world heavyweight champ Charles Martin put on a great fight.
Adam Kownacki and the former IBF world heavyweight champ Charles Martin put on a great fight.
Posted: 15-03-2019
Author: Andy Farr

With so many headlines breaking each day about who's fighting who at the top of the Heavyweight division, shouldn't things be getting clearer?

Names like Adam Kownacki and Oscar Rivas have been thrown into the mix recently, but no one other than hardened boxing fans will have heard of these fighters. This begs the question: What do promoters get out of this?

I think it is fair to say that there is a gulf in class between Joshua, Fury, Wilder and the rest. That is not being disrespectful to any of the top contenders, it is a statement made after watching Wilder vs Fury, Wilder vs Ortiz, Joshua vs Klitschko and Joshua vs Povetkin.

Luis Ortiz stands out as the top contender at this time. Dillian Whyte, Alexander Povetkin, Joseph Parker, Kubrat Pulev and Dominic Breazeale are what I would regard as the 2nd tier heavyweights. It is one of these names that anyone challenging for world honours needs on their record.

Joshua vs Klitschko is an all-time heavyweight classic
Joshua vs Klitschko, an all-time heavyweight classic.

At the moment we have headlines suggesting that Tyson Fury might fight Oscar Rivas in May or June and that Adam Kownacki is being considered as the challenger to Wilder if negotiations don't come to fruition for a November/December Joshua vs Wilder bout.

These are mismatches. Not that Kownacki and Rivas are not good heavyweights. In another 3 to 4 fights, they may well be knocking on the door with a genuine chance of winning the belt, but right now they are untested. Kownacki's 10 round decision win over Charles Martin was tough for him. His 2nd round TKO of Gerald Washington while a good result is not the sort of form to earn a world title from. Washington has one win in his last 4 bouts and that was against someone called John Wesley Nofire.

Bryant Jennings vs Oscar Rivas poster
Oscar Rivas scored a surprise 12th round stoppage against former world title challenger Bryant Jennings.

Rivas's 12th round TKO of contender Bryant Jennings was a great win for the Canadian based Columbian (26-0-0) but a close look at his record shows that Jennings is the only opponent that Rivas has faced that has been in the world top 20, he needs more experience at the top level.

But why is it that we are being fed these headlines? Is it to scare the Wilder management team into signing a deal with Fury for a December rematch, or to sign for a Joshua blockbuster? I hope so because these fights shouldn't happen.

The fans who pay for these events need to let promoters know that boxers earning millions of dollars have to face opposition with a reasonable chance of winning. We know that Fury and Wilder's next fights are being staged to build up a rematch or a challenge to Joshua, but that doesn't mean that they can be soft fights where the opponent has nothing but a punchers chance.