Since Tyson Fury upset Wladimir Klitschko last November, the heavyweight division has been thrown into a state of exciting potential. For most of this century, Klitschko, along with his older brother, Vitali, had the division on dominant lockdown. Their greatness could not be denied, at least not from a position of honesty, but their ability to thrill fans in North America was clearly lacking.
Fury’s win over Klitschko was one of the most horrid boxing performances I’ve ever sat through. But Fury clearly deserved the victory, regardless of how ugly the bout itself was. And suddenly, new air circulated into the room.
Klitschko should still get a chance to win back his titles later this year. But regardless of whether or not he’s successful, at 40, he’s still clearly nearing the end of the line. The post-Klitschko era is at it’s beginning.
A slew of promising big men are lined up to fill his spot. Undefeated KO machine Deontay Wilder holds the WBC belt that Vitali Klitschko vacated when he retired at the end of 2013. The IBF lost all credibility when they stripped Fury and put their belt up for grabs in a laughable bout between Charles Martin and Vyacheslav Glazkov, but now that undefeated Brit Anthony Joshua is holding the that strap, it’s at least around the waist of a worthy young contender. I’d love to see Joshua against New Zealander Joseph Parker or fellow Brit David Haye.
For my money, the most dangerous fighter in the division is Luis Ortiz. Ortiz is a very big, athletic fighter with a deep amateur career in the Cuban system. He’s pushing 40, but hopefully he’ll get a chance to show his greatness before it’s too late.
One big man still flying a bit under the radar is Erkan Teper, a German citizen of Turkish descent. At 6’5″ and over 250 pounds, Teper has size and a solid background in the amateur ranks. As a professional, he’s defeated some good fighters in his 16-fight career, defeating all of them and 10 by KO.
In 2015, Teper defeated former title challenger Johann Duhaupas by comfortable margins in March. In July he knocked out former Olympian David Price.
Earlier this month, Teper defeated journeyman Derric Rossy in a 10-round decision. Rossy is no star, but he’s a tough competitor. I thought he could easily have gotten the nod over Glazkov, in the Ukrainian’s last fight before challenging for the vacant IBF belt.
Teper has not fought in the U.S. since his third fight. There is a big fan base in Germany and he can no doubt do fine for himself becoming a star there, as the Klitschko brothers did. But I hope to see him fight in the States sometime later this year or in 2017.