Boxing


Vitali Klitschko Could Return On June 4th - Maybe Against Siarhei Liakhovich

By James Slater: Due to the unexpectedly easy manner in which he dispatched Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis on that disappointing night a short while back, WBC heavyweight king Vitali Klitschko is looking at returning to action quickly. According to ace scribe Dan Rafael of ESPN.com, “Dr. Iron Fist” could box again on June 4th.

Reportedly, EPIX, the T.V company which aired Klitschko’s 1st-round stoppage of Solis, have been in talks with the Klitschkos about an American TV deal. With younger brother Wladimir now expected to face David Haye in the summer (Haye recently said he fully expects a fit Wladimir to be in the ring with him in either June or July), Vitali is pretty much free to fight who he wants. One of the two brothers must fight Tomasz Adamek in Poland in September, as per their agreement with the Polish contender, and that will most likely be the near-40-year-old. But Vitali is looking at getting one more fight in before facing Adamek.

According to Rafael, one of the names being mentioned for a June 4th challenge of Vitali is former WBO heavyweight champ Siarhei Liakhovich of Belarus. The 34-year-old last fought in May of last year, when he scored a 9th-round KO over Evans Quinn. Now looking ahead to his latest comeback, “The White Wolf” will face journeyman Johnnie White, 22-4(18) on the under-card of the Adamek-Kevin McBride card in New Jersey.

Feeling he has a new lease of life, Liakhovich, 25-3(16) could soon get himself a second crack at a “world” title. Interestingly, it was exactly five years ago today when Liakhovich won the WBO belt, with that greatly exciting points win over “Relentless” Lamon Brewster in Cleveland, Ohio. Now looked at by some as the last great heavyweight title action fight, the 12-rounder Liakhovich won via 12-round UD certainly had plenty of two-way action. But that was a while ago: how much does the 34-year-old Liakhovich have left now?

After the win over Brewster, the new WBO champ was sensationally knocked out of the ring by Shannon Briggs, in the 12th and last round of a largely dull fight. Then, following a lacklustre effort that saw him lose a WBA title eliminator against “Russian Giant” Nikolay Valuev (on points over 12), Liakhovich all but vanished.

Currently 2-0(2) since the Valuev loss in Feb, 2008, Liakhovich is a fighter whose name will only be recognisable to hardcore fight fans. Would a Klitschko defence against the former WBO ruler sell? It’s not that Liakhovich is a bad fighter (stopped just twice in his pro career), it’s just that no average fans have heard of him. And, after the Solis debacle, the last thing Vitali needs is another easy-looking, disappointing win. The heavyweight division could do without another farce also.

But as an “in-between, keep-busy” fight, Liakhovich would not be the worse choice in the world for “Dr. Iron Fist.”

After all, Liakhovich would last a whole lot longer than Solis did; wouldn’t he?

Article posted on 01.04.2011



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