Friday, September 08, 2006
Newly crowned WBC Heavyweight Champion Oleg Maskaev will defend his title in mid-December in Moscow, Russia according to his promoter Dennis Rappaport. His opponent will not be mandatory challenger Samuel Peter, but Peter Okhello.
Maskaev’s opponent probably will be 34-year-old Peter Okhello (18-4, 16 KOs), 6-foot-4 fighter from Uganda who is based in Japan. Okhello has never beaten a notable opponent; two of his losses have come to Maskaev victim Sinan Samil Sam (via decision in 2005) and Rahman victim Kali Meehan (via third-round knockout in 1999). In both of those losses, Okhello knocked his opponent down.
“It’s pretty much a done deal,” Rappaport said. “He’s in the [WBC] rankings, he’s available and it’s a voluntary defense.”
Plan A for the Maskaev camp was to set up a unification bout against Wladimir Klitschko but injuries suffered in Maskaev’s fight against Hasim Rahman prevented that from happening.
Maskaev had a hairline fracture in his elbow, two sore thumbs and a bad back.
“It was about a month too soon for Oleg to be ready to fight Klitschko,” Rappaport said. “It’s a fight we wanted and a fight we worked on, but the timing just wasn’t right. It looks like what we are going to do is for the first time have a heavyweight championship fight in Moscow. Oleg can get in a voluntary fight and then we can come back here for the big fights.”
So what about Samuel Peter? Is he getting hung out to dry?
Rappaport stated that the WBC has allowed Maskaev to take the voluntary defense against Okhello before the end of 2006. The fight would be prevented from happening in 2007 as the WBC would force Maskaev to face Peter or be stripped of his title. Basically, Maskaev-Peter will be happening at some point in 2007.
I’m wondering if Peter will fight again this year or wait for Maskaev in the spring. He looked pretty beat up after the Toney fight and the official medical suspensions haven’t been released yet so I guess we will wait and see…
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
The WBC has previously ruled that the winner of Samuel Peter-James Toney would fight the winner of Oleg Maskaev-Hasim Rahman for the WBC Heavyweight Championship. That means that Peter will face Maskaev for the belt at some point in the near future, right? As always, there are ways that Maskaev could get out of this…
The only way Maskaev does not face Peter in his very next bout is if he vacates his title or he stages a non-title bout. If Maskaev vacates the title, Peter would face the highest rated contender, and that would probably be Sinan Samil Sam, since the third ranked contender Calvin Brock is facing Wladimir Klitschko for the IBF heavyweight title on November 11 in Madison Square Garden.
There could always be a bypass of the WBC title if another champion steps up to the plate, but that would not be in the immediate future. Nikolai Valuev is defending his WBA heavyweight title against Monte Barrett in October, both WBO heavyweight champion Sergei Liakhovich and IBF champion Wladimir Klitschko are due to battle on separate dates in November.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Just as the British-born bare-knuckles thought of themselves as the unbeatables of the 19th century, the Americans considered themselves the 20th century dominators of the manly art. They liked to boast of Jack Dempsey, and Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Ali and Larry Holmes, Tyson in his heyday and Vintage Holyfield.
The recent encounter featuring Hasim Rahman and Oleg Maskaev for the WBC version of the heavyweight championship of the world was hyped as America’s last hope of holding on to the vaunted beat against the invasion of the East Europeans.
Rahman, the star-spangled kept pointing out, was from Baltimore, Maryland, his opponent Maskaev hailing from some far-off place called Karaganda, Kazakhstan. The fact that Mr Maskaev was now a naturalized citizen of the US of A and a long-time resident of Staten Island, New York, was played down because it spoiled the patriotic hype.
The other three heavyweight titles were already in the hands of invaders from the former Soviet Union and if the fourth was to fall to a 37-year-old Kazakhstanian, the American flag of pugilistic would fly at half-mast.
The end was decisive and dramatic with the emboldened Maskaev turning up the pressure, knocking Rahman down so hard we didn’t expect him to get up, and when he finally managed to beat the count he was a helpless hulk waiting for the coup de grace.
So now our American flag bearer has to be the naturalised citizen from Staten Island, the Kazakhstanian version of the Cinderella Man who moves on to risk his newly-won WBC belt against Vladimir Klatschko, Kiev’s gift to the WBO title. When they meet in the Garden hopefully this autumn, the four heavyweight champions will be reduced to three, be they Russian, Ukrainian, Kazakhstanian. As HBO commentator Larry Merchant lamented: “Where have you gone, Joe Louis? America’s eyes now turn to you.”
ESPN Motion: Oleg Maskaev Talks About Becoming the WBC Champion