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15 Heavyweight Bouts For The Future Of The Division

As Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko grow older, the rising stars and the mainstay veterans of the heavyweight division could face significant matchup challenges.

The following is a list of pending and possible contests which could determine the fate of the heavyweight division in the year to come:

1. David Haye versus Derek Chisora or Francisco Pianeta, heavyweight eliminator

Retired Haye was involved in Chisora's post Klitschko fight press conference that turned into an all out insane madhouse. Either Haye defeats Chisora and gets another shot at the Klitschkos or 'Del Boy' retires Haye for good and gets another shot at the Klitschkos.

The matchup, owing to last month's controversy, might happen. Chisora, suspended indefinitely by the WBC, faces a BBB of C hearing on March 14. Haye could also fight 26-0-1 Fracesco Pianeta of Italy if Chisora gets banned in the U.K.

2. Johnathon Banks versus Tony Grano, NABF Heavyweight title/WBC eliminator

NABF champion Banks is knocking at the door of Vitali Klitschko, and the only fighter standing in his way is Grano. Because Grano stopped Brian Minto in three rounds in a recent NABF heavyweight eliminator, Grano qualifies for a bout with Banks to determine the next mandatory WBC challenger to Vitali Klitschko.

3. Robert Helenius versus Tyson Fury, possible heavyweight eliminator

The bout everybody wants to see. The winner is guaranteed a shot at the Klitschkos. 17-0 Helenius of Sweden versus the 17-0 former Commonwealth and British champion Fury of Great Britain (now training for a bout with Martin Rogan).

4. Tomas Adamek versus Eddie Chambers, possible heavyweight eliminator

Winner of Adamek versus Chambers qualifies for another shot at the Klitschkos.

5. Kubrat Pulev versus Alexander Dimetrenko, vacant European Heavyweight Title

Winner of this upcoming bout would be a perfect Wladimir Klitschko opponent.

6. Alexander Povetkin versus Denis Boytsov, possible WBA Heavyweight Title

Great all-Russian match. A winner could determine the next Klitschko opponent.

7. Maurice Harris versus Franklin Lawrence, possible WBC heavyweight eliminator

A match between Boxing 360's Harris, a hot and cold fighter, and Lawrence (who defeated Boxing 360's Jason Estrada) could determine the next opponent for either of the Klitschko brothers or WBA champ Povetkin. Lawrence holds the WBC CABOFE title, which is usable as a 12 round eliminator.

8. Tony Thompson versus Bermane Stiverne, possible heavyweight eliminator

Canada's Stiverne, fresh off his victory over Ray Austin, needs a step up fight for a tiutle shot. IBF # 1 Thompson, inactive since defeating Maurice Harris, was named IBF mandatory challenger for a rematch with Wladimir Klitschko in 2012 after Eddie Chambers pulled out of a scheduled eliminator.

9. Edmund Gerber versus Alexander Ustinov, possible heavyweight bout

A great step up fight could be Germany's 19-0 Gerber versus Russia's 25-0 heavyweight Ustinov (now training for a bout with Kertson Manswell).

10. Marius Wach versus Cedric Boswell, possible heavyweight eliminator

Boswell, after losing to Povetkin, could still get a shot at the Klitschkos. The logical opponent could be 26-0 Wach of Poland (now training for Tye Fields).

11. Chazz Witherspoon versus Seth Mitchell, vacant USBA Heavyweight Title

Powerful heavyweight puncher Witherspoon could get a title shot with a big win. Rising heavyweight puncher Mitchell will provide the ultimate 12 round test in Atlantic City on April 28 on the undercard of Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson II.

Witherspoon, who got disqualified against Chris Arreola and was stopped late by Tony Thompson, must beat Golden Boy's Mitchell, a former Michigan State football player.

12. Joe Hanks versus Tor Hamer, possible New York City heavyweight bout

A ten rounder between Newark's 19-0 Hanks versus 13-1 New York City's Hamer ( now training for a bout with Dieuly Aristilde) bears bout significance.

13. Chris Arreola or Amir Mansaur versus Bryan Jennings, heavyweights

Heavyweight power puncher Arreola could get another shot at the Klitschkos with a higher level win. 12-0 Russell Peltz fighter Jennings (now training for an upcoming bout with former heavyweight champion Siarhei Liakhovich) could provide the litmus test. Jennings must win his bout with Liakhovich first, a high risk bout for Peltz. If not Arreola, Jennings could fight 16-0 Mansour.

14. Alex Leapai versus Kevin Johnson, IBF Australasian Heavyweight Title

Leapai, unbeaten in 17 straight in Australia, will face the ultimate test against former # 1 heavyweight contender Johnson, who could get another shot at the Klitschkos with a big win here on foreign territory. The bout is the most significant Australian heavyweight contest since Jack Johnson defeated Tommy Burns in 1908.

15. Manuel Charr versus Hasim Rahman, possible heavyweight eliminator

20-0 Syrian fighter Charr needs to win a step up fight. The perfect opponent is the former champion Rahman in what would be a major crossroads bout for both.

Honorable mention: If Derek Chisora is banned by the British Boxing Board of Control either permanently or for a significant period, and or big talking David Haye winds up never actually fighting again anyway, one other bout now up on the Boxrec boards could be of great interest. 15-2 British heavyweight prospect Sam Sexton (who has lost to Derek Chisora twice) will be fighting 12-0 David Price in May 2012 for the vacant BB of C British Heavyweight title. The prospect winning this bout could get a shot at the European title on the way up the ladder.

About Robert Brizel

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