The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire

European Boxing News: Francis Walker

October 3, 1999

Hello again fight fans. The last six weeks were quite intense on the boxing scene in Europe. Dariusz Michalczewski, the unrecognized WBO light-heavyweight champion, currently in hot pursuit of a world title fight against Undisputed Champion, Roy Jones Jr., hope alive when he defeated Montell Griffin on August 28. Griffin, the only man to have ever defeated Jones, via controversial disqualification two years ago, was easily manhandled Michalczewski (TKO 4).

Michalczewski, who has reigned supreme for over five years as the World Boxing Organization's 175-pound kingpin, has 16 successful defenses underneath his belt. May be that could be just enough to entice Jones, who was supposed to meet WBC interim champion, Graciano Rocchigiani, who on August 1997, lost to Michalczewski (L DQ 7), on November 6, in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Apparently, Rocchigiani, who beat Michael Nunn (W 12) in March 1998 for the WBC interim title, flied a lawsuit against M&M Sports and Square Ring, Inc. (Jones' handlers) for Jones' refusal to fight him. As a part of the settlement, Jones, had he failed to meet Rocchigiani, would surrender the World Boxing Council 175-pound crown - one of the three in Jones' possession. Plus, surrender a fee of one-half of a million dollars to Rocchigiani.

However, Rocchigiani, guaranteed $1.5 million, was a no-show for a press conference here in New York. Apparently, Jones' camp was good enough to pull the plug on Rocchigiani. There is more to come of this situation, so stay tuned.

On the record: I believe that Jones would beat both Michalczewski and Rochigianni. However, I do feel as though a bout against Jones will be the defining point of both Michalczewski and Roccigiani's careers.

Also, IBF super middleweight champ, Sven Ottke continues to impress in a 168-pound division that has gone sour. On September 4, Ottke, with a professional record of 16-0, 2KOs retained his title against mandatory challenger, Thomas Tate (36-6, 26KOs).

Ottke, who on October 24, 1998, wrestled the championship from Philadelphia's Charles Brewer (W 12), has successfully defended the IBF 168-pound title on three occasions; improving his record to 4-0, 1KOs in world title fights. An aggressive boxer with little power, Ottke should remain safe in Germany fighting top challengers who were already exposed by America's best including former 168-champs, Frankie Liles and Roy Jones.

Eric Lucas, ranked No. 2 in the world by the WBC, was starched by Jones (TKO 11) in June 1996. Zafarou Ballogou, the IBF's No. 4 challenger, was out-pointed by Liles (L 12) in July 1997 in a horrible bout. Vinny Paziena, who seems to be the only marquee name at super middleweight here in the United States, but his biggest fights are televised on ESPN, not HBO, SHOWTIME, or Pay-Per-View, remains active.

Despite losses to Roy Jones, Jr. (TKO by 6) and ancient Herol Graham (L 12), Pazienza keeps himself in the title picture facing guys who are relative unknown and unattractive to hard-core fans.

A fighter is judged on the quality of opposition, among other categories. Ottke, no disrespect, maybe undefeated, but fights opponents who receives little thought from the American Boxing Press.

Lastly, the Klitschko brothers continue to impress in Europe. On June 25, Vitali improved his record to 25-0, 25KOs by thrashing WBO heavyweight champion, Herbie Hide in two rounds. Recently, On September 25, his older brother, Wladimir shocked this fight writer when he pummeled Axel Schultz (TKO 8).

Wladimir, who was stopped by Ross Purity in eleven rounds in December 1998, remained active and improved is record to 29-1, 27KOs. The 6' 1," Schultz, 26-4-1, 11KOs, who lost three consecutive world title bids to George Foreman (L 12), Frans Botha (L 12), and Michael Moorer (L 12), was never in the fight against Wladimir; standing at an even 6' 7."

The Klitschko Bros. are not overwhelmingly impressive, as they are doing exactly what they are supposed to do. At 6' 7," and 6' 8," over 245 pounds, Wladimir and Vitali are supposed to easily dispose of the quality of foes they have met.

Calvin Jones (KO 1) was a Joke, not a threat for Vitali. The sane for Marcus Rhode (KO 2), Louis Monaco (KO 3), Levi Billups (KO 2), Julius Francis (KO 2), and Jose Ribalta (KO 2).

Even Hide (KO 2) was a joke. Riddick Bowe exposed him for the yo-yo that he really is when they fought in the Spring of 1996. How on earth can a fighter fall nine times in five, six rounds? And still survive?

Wladimir, I don't know how, but should not have lost to Purity (TKO 11). But Wladimir is back on track after his surprise stoppage of Schultz.

As of press time, Vitali is scheduled to face undefeated (21-0-2, 21) Ed Mahone on October 9. With both fighters wins as professional's coming by way of kayo, expect a real good slugfest. One that will not go the distance of 12.

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