By Jamie Glover
With three gigantic heavyweight fights on the cards the weekend was bound to be explosive. The re-emergence of David Haye loomed. Would he be able to recapture the form that helped him win the WBA World heavyweight title? At 35, coming off a three and a half year layoff, would he still have the agility, power and stamina to mix it with the elite of the division? With so many questions to answer it has been hard to get excited by the comeback.
Historically the heavyweight championship of the world has belonged to America. This weekend America had the chance to add another champion to their long legacy. Charles Martin the undefeated knock out machine vied to defeat Vyacheslav Glazkov for the vacant IBF title. The slick south paw powerhouse would be up against it in facing the undefeated Ukrainian. Glazkov the smaller man carries a wealth of experience boxing all over the world as an amateur and is a tough nut to crack.
Closing the show WBC Champion Deontay Wilder took on Artur Spilka. The equally fearsome and Charismatic American was looking to make a statement against the tough Pole. At the pre-fight press conference the Bronze Bomber spoke about his desire to the unify the division, but Spilka had other ideas. Spilka a former football hooligan who has turned his life around aimed to become the first ever Polish Heavyweight champion of the world. Perhaps the most intriguing question was whether or not Wilder would extend his phenomenal 97% knock out ratio against a man previously knocked out by Bryant Jennings.
First off was the long awaited comeback fight of former WBA heavyweight and unified cruiserweight champion David Haye. It was evident from the sold out 02 Arena how big a draw the 35 year old still is. Ultimately it was short work for Haye with a first round knockout win. De Mori backed up against the ropes threw a lazy jab and was left crumpled on the canvas as the Londoner slipped, and countered with a crushing right hook. It was an impressive finish against a limited opponent and many of the questions remain unanswered. Time will tell whether or not Haye has the stamina and durability to progress. One thing is for sure though, Haye still carries incredible power and his popularity opens doors to huge fights.
America now has a new World Heavyweight champion as Prince Charles Martin took the IBF title in bizarre circumstances. It was a slow start to the fight as Martin boxed well at range behind the southpaw jab. Just when the American was starting to find his range with the left hand in round three the fight was over. Glazkov suddenly appeared to be on wobbly legs after taking a slip to the canvas. The Ukrainian fired a right hand out but collapsed again to the floor, the fight subsequently being waved off to the bemusement of the crowd. The action replay showed in graphic detail that Glazkov had popped his knee out of place. Charles Martin was declared the new champion much to the disappointment of the booing crowd.
Last but not least Deontay Wilder successfully defended his WBC heavyweight title. From the Start Szpilka showed he was there to win. Pressing the attack with constant head movement he took the early rounds against the sluggish champion. Wilder struggled to find his timing against the ever mobile head of the challenger. From round four, the American started to find his groove and time the right hands. Szpilka showed defiance throughout, laughing off and mocking the champion’s punches, as he continued to march forward. Just when the fight was looking to be a hard fought decision, it was over. The Bronze Bomber caught the challenger flush on the chin as he pressed forward sending him crashing to the canvas. There were frightening moments at the Pole lay limp on the canvas before responding to paramedics. As Szpilka was stretchered out of the arena, Tyson Fury stormed the ring to disrupt the post-fight interview. Both men squared up to exchange verbal insults before Fury the WBA, WBO, IBO and former IBF champion was removed by security. Both fighters have tough mandated challenges to face next but a showdown between these two Goliaths is mouth-watering.
The heavy weight division is finally starting to liven up after a long stale run of boring fights and limited fighters. There are many intriguing match ups to be made which can bring back the popularity to a dying division. Add rising prospects Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker to the mix and the Heavyweight division is sure to catch fire. Interesting times await.