IBF Mandatory Challenger Wants Heavyweight World Title Bid He Has Earned
International Boxing Federation mandatory heavyweight challenger Ray “The Rainman” Austin watched with great anticipation as IBF heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko scored a seventh-round knockout at Madison Square Garden last Saturday in an optional defense over Calvin Brock.
According to the IBF rules, Klitschko must now face his mandatory challenger, Austin.
In contrast to Brock, who at 6 feet 2 inches tall and 225 pounds did not match up well against Klitschko, Austin stands at 6 feet 6 inches and weighed 245 pounds before his last bout. This means Austin will see eye to eye with Klitschko and will probably weigh more than the Ukrainian when they step into the ring.
“Klitschko has a soft heart and a weak chin and I’m going to knock him out,” Austin said. “I’m not one of these inexperienced, undersized heavyweight contenders.”
In his last appearance, the higher-ranked Austin (23-3-4, 16 KOs) battled up-and-coming heavyweight contender Sultan Ibragimov to a draw in an IBF heavyweight title elimination bout to determine their mandatory challenger on July 28 at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Fla. Austin challenged the decision because the referee missed the knockdown he scored in round seven. The IBF agreed with Austin and ruled in his favor on Oct. 26.
IBF President Marian Muhammad wrote in her ruling, “The IBF agrees that had the knockdown been called by the referee in round 7, Austin would have been declared the official winner of the bout and been elevated to the mandatory position.”
Even before the ruling was announced, Ibragimov defected to the World Boxing Organization where they named him mandatory challenger in the heavyweight division, depriving Austin of a re-match but guaranteeing him his spot as mandatory challenger in the IBF’s heavyweight division.
Austin’s promoter Don King was clear in his position.
“Ibragimov lost the fight and ended up being the WBO mandatory challenger,” King said.
Austin points to Klitschko’s inability to cope with men his own size or those possessing superior punching power.
“I’m not Calvin Brock,” Austin said. “I’m not a 213-pound Chris Byrd, either. I’m a full-grown heavyweight. The last time Klitschko faced a man his weight was against Samuel Peter, who knocked him down three times while giving away five inches in height. Same thing when Lamon Brewster knocked him out. I guarantee some rain is going to fall on Klitschko when we