Boxing: Focus on Cruiserweights

boxing1There is plenty of talk these days involving a man who once sat as King above all the cruiserweights in this country and indeed in any country – David Haye. Haye held 4 belts at cruiserweight and unified the division through defeating both first Jean-Marc Mormeck and then Enzo Macarenelli. The fight with Macarenelli was an absolute cracker and again proved what box office Haye is. Looking around now at that division is slightly less appealing than it was in those days. In fact, according to Boxrec (But crucially not in the Boxing News…) the number 1 British cruiserweight doesn’t live, train or box in this country! We could start to wonder why we are in such a state or just get on with describing what is currently good in the UK cruiserweight division.

Ola Ofalabi (19-3-4, 9KOs) escaped the mean streets of London to ply his trade in the States. Based in Los Angeles, he is best known for his three fights with the WBO champion Marcus Huck. Unfortunately for Ofalabi he has lost two and drew one of them. He has been able to gather some titles as in 2009 he beat Enzo Macarenelli for the WBO interim title in his one and only professional fight in the UK. Perhaps a clue to the enigma he has become has been his record in drawing contests – four in total – the first being on his professional debut! This followed, in 2008, after nearly two and a half years outside of the ring winning the WBO NABO title. Just where he goes from here depends very much on his management team as his only outing in 2013 was against Huck and that was a split decision loss in Berlin. The opportunities he has managed for a world title shot are what keeps him top of the tree and his fights with Huck have all been watchable – just where we shall be watching him next is anyone’s guess.

Next in line is Jon Lewis Dickenson (14-2, 3KOs). Dickinson won Prizefighter in 2010 and then suffered his two defeats straight afterwards! The second one was particularly bad as he had to retire with a suspected broken jaw. In 2011 he rebuilt to the point where he beat Matty Askin for the English title and then Shane McPhillibin for the British. Two successful defences in 2013 – his February win against David Dolan was followed by an April win against Mike Stafford – mean he is still the British Champion. Both defences were by fairly clear unanimous decisions so his next title scrap ought to be for the Commonwealth or the European?

Neil Dawson (12-2, 5KOs) is next up and from the number of fights each fighter in the top five has had so far you can see that being busy is not what necessarily gets you to the top! Dawson made his debut 10 years ago but then lost to Matty Askin in his 10th professional contest. Dawson then beat both Menay Edwards and Tony Conquest before suffering his next defeat in the quarter-final of Prizefighter! He currently holds the WBO International title having beaten Chris Keane with a TKO up in Walsall on the 31st May this year; Keane was unbeaten in 10 contests prior to fighting Dawson. It looks like Dawson is finding some feet here and could be a genuine challenger for Dickinson’s British title though his place is stuck between two guys who made a better job of Prizefighter than him.

Spanish-born Wadi Camacho (10-1, 6KOs) is the latest winner of the Prizefighter series and unlike, Dickinson, followed that up with a victory against Attila Palko with a TKO in the second round of a scheduled four. His only professional defeat thus far was against China Clarke for the English title in March this year so a busy boy with places to go? He could be a possible match up for Dickinson’s British title at some point?

Finishing off the top five is Matty Askin (15-2, 9KOs) who went pro only in 2005 and has been busy since, his first loss came in his 14th fight against Jon Lewis Dickinson for the English title. He then got back on track by beating Paul Morris before losing again, this time in a WBO Intercontinental fight against Krzysztof Glowacki; he was knocked out in the 11th of 12 rounds. He has had one fight in 2013, beating China Clarke for the English title in April so may get a chance of that challenge against Dickinson before Camacho.

Outside the top five it takes us to position 9 before we get a fighter who is unbeaten – Stephen Simmons (8-0 4KOs) – who is a Scot who won the Celtic belt in May 2013 at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre against Michael Sweeney. Others worthy of a mention include someone much quoted above China Clarke (11-1-1, 4KOs) who suffered his first loss in 2013 against Matty Askin; Menay Edwards (11-2, 2KOs) who was part of the 2011 Prizefighter and has a rematch for the Southern area title scheduled for September against JJ Ojuederie; and Tony Conquest (10-1, 4KOs) whose last fight was also his first defeat – against Neil Dawson – and has held the WBO International belt.

All in all the cruiserweight division could be held to be pretty weak in terms of fighters that have made their mark or managed to get into world title contention. Domestically though this could be a very competitive market with so many fighters likely to take wins off each other in fights that should be well worth the entrance money. If Olafabi cannot get another tilt at a world title it looks like Prizefighter has launched the careers and the fortunes of most of our premium cruiserweights, for that reason alone it’s not a bad wee tournament.

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