The Olympic year has come. However, in regard to the boxing, the attention of Ukrainian public will be focused not on the Olympic tournament in Rio de Janeiro.
And it's not just the fact that we do not have a license for the Olympic Games-2016. In the world of professional boxing much more vibrant and popular Ukrainian boxers appear today. Their achievements will be in the focus of attention.
Talks about the fact that Volodymyr Klitschko and Vasyl Lomachenko might also appear in Rio is a speculation based on the decisions of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) for admission to the Games-2016 professional boxers. We are talking about young boxers - with restrictions on age, fights and cooperation with major international organizations of profiboxing.
Wladimir Klitschko: Rocky III theme
In professional boxing stand a few dozen Ukrainian boxers today. But, of course, the main interest is associated with Volodymyr Klitschko.
The sensational defeat of Ukrainian in October last year by Britain's Tyson Fury has created enormous intrigue in the heavyweight division. After eleven years of absolute domination Klitschko’s situation has changed dramatically. IBF championship belt, which Fury refused, went to Charles Martin; world champion in the WBC Deontay Wilder spectacularly knocked out Arthur Pole and now he is waiting to fight Alexander Povetkin.
March 25, Volodymyr Klitschko to celebrate his 40th anniversary, today he has nothing to do with the new promising young heavyweights. In front of him is one task - to take revenge on Tyson Fury. Conditions of carrying out revenge in case of defeat was written in the contract for their first bout in Dusseldorf. Fury did not object to this, and the teams of the two boxers are in talks to hold a rematch. According to the preliminary information, it would be beginning of June, stadiums in the UK or Germany. Of course, this fight will be the most anticipated and important event in the world Profiboxing in 2016. And not just because four championship belts will at stand stake. And not because the revenue from the first fight was $ 45 million, and the second will be much more (according to preliminary estimates - about $ 75 million). The main highlight of the battle is a matter of principle.
Klitschko is a real athlete and a great champion, he cannot afford to retire in defeat. He has to prove that his defeat was due to a number of different factors, Klitschko is not weaker than 27-year-old Tyson Fury.
The reasons for the defeat were repeatedly discussed: underestimated opponent, Volodymyr knows and understands better than anyone else. He ended up in the situation described in the movie "Rocky III": when the hero of Sylvester Stallone was at the peak of his career, he was losing giant opponent Clubber Lang. After that Rocky went into frantic exercise and returned in triumph. There is another coincidence - the death of a trainer.
Klitschko is close to Hollywood, familiar with Stallone and certainly feels the spirit of cinematic story in the history with Tyson Fury.
From a purely sporting point of view, the battle is also of great interest. The opinions of experts disagree: someone like Lennox Lewis believes that the Fury has already picked up the key to opportunities and Klitschko will be able to repeat its success; while others, such as Mike Tyson, is confident that Klitschko will deal with a rival, knowing what exactly he needs to win. Everyone notes the transcendent motivation of both contenders: Fury wants to prove that he is not king for one day only, and Klitschko wants to demonstrate that he is still the strongest.
In case of loss, Volodymyr is likely to finish his career. He is too smart to turn into an aging bag to beat young rivals, like Roy Jones. However, in case of victory it is possible the same option - leave on a high note.
Marsh of Olympians: Lomachenko and Usyk
After Klitschko leaves the big sports, Vasyl Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk, two other two Olympic champions, will be the stars of the main Ukrainian Profiboxing.
They are building their professional careers in different ways. Lomachenko is progressing in America: he is on the contract with the company of famous promoter Bob Arum (Top Rank), his case manager is Egis Klimas. Usyk chose a company of Klitschko brothers K2 Promotions.
Lomachenko broke into pro boxing promptly, and in his second battle, he fought for the championship belt. As for today, he played six matches: 5 wins (3 by KO) and one defeat - in the championship fight from the experienced Mexican Orlando Salido. The assets of Vasyl is WBO world championship belt, which he won in battle against Gary Russell and defended it for three times.
27-year-old Lomachenko fights on the best US arenas. He spends a lot of time in the States, he is loved by American TV, that's why he was in the top ten of the best boxers of the world in 2015 according to one of the most respected American channels.
The last battle took place in Thomas & Mack Center on November 7 in Las Vegas, knocking out Mexican Romulo Koasichu in the tenth round. His fee for this match was $750 thousand.
Nearest rivals of Lomachenko for 2016 are not known yet. Surely, he will hold not more than two matches. It might be Mexican Oscar Valdes or Argentinean Matias Rueda.
29-year-old Oleksandr Usyk confidently goes on rising. He has spent on professional ring to cruiserweight (first heavy weight, 91 kg) 9 fights and won 9 early victories, owning the title of WBO Intercontinental Champion, now he is determined to meet with WBO world champion Pole Krzysztof Glowacki. Glowacki (25 wins, 16KO, no defeats) took the title rather unexpectedly in August last year. Managers of Ukrainian and Pole are in good relations and have almost agreed to hold a championship in the United States - in Chicago or New York, where large Ukrainian and Polish Diaspora reside.
In terms of sports, Usyk could easily cope with the Pole, though he does not have so much fights like Glowacki. Usyk is larger than his opponent, and he is also skilled enough. At the beginning of 2016, experts of the British Channel Box Nation recognized Usyk as most promising boxer in the world.
Viktor Postol and others “hidden” champions
Other Ukrainian boxers-professionals are not in the focus of attention, in comparison to Usyk or Klitschko. And one of them is Victor Postol, who has already managed to conquer the coveted top.
October 3, 2015 in Carson (California) 32-year-old native of Kyiv region has sensationally knocked out in the tenth round eminent Argentinean Lucas Matthysse and won the WBC world title in the light welterweight (up to 63.5 kg).
Postol started his career in Ukraine in 2007 and in 2012 moved to the U.S., where an experienced manager from Los Angeles Vadym Kornilov leads the careers of nine Russian and four Ukrainian boxers. Among his charges WBA world champion in cruiserweight is Denis Lebedev and former champion of the WBO world light welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov.
Provodnikov is seen as the likely opponent of Viktor Postol. Viktor would like to spend a unification bout with WBO title holder American Terence Crawford.
Among other Ukrainian boxers-professionals should be called Eugene Khytrov (16 th place in the ranking of average weight), Vitaly Shabran (19 th place in the light heavyweight ranking), Oleksanrd Hvozdyk (34- th place in the light heavyweight ranking), Taras Shelestyuk (84th place in the welterweight ranking).
Heavyweight Vyacheslav Hlazkov (15th place), after the unfortunate injury in a fight with Charles Martin, is out of action for a long time. Let us hope that in 2016, he will be able to return to the ring.