Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the newest Heavyweight Champion of the World, Charles Martin. The undefeated Martin (23-0-1, 21 KOs) won the vacant IBF Heavyweight Title Saturday night in Brooklyn, NY. His opponent, Vyacheslav Glazkov (21-1-1, 13 KOs), was doing well until a freak knee injury in the 3rd Round – a possible ACL tear – ended his night. This translated into a TKO victory for Martin and the honor of being a new World Champion.
Martin now joins Deontay Wilder – also a winner Saturday night – as the only two American Heavyweight Champions. Until Wilder’s defeat of Bermane Stiverne in 2014 to win the WBC belt vacated by Vitali Klitschko, who relinquished his belt as he confirmed his retirement, there had not been an American champion in the division since Shannon Briggs held WBO’s version of the crown back in 2007. Now, the Americans are halfway to owning the lot.
Deontay Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs) put in some great work Saturday night, as he all but dominated his opponent, Artur Szpilka (20-2, 15 KOs), before knocking him out cold in Round 9 of their scheduled 12 round championship fight and ultimately defending the WBC Heavyweight Title for the 3rd time. He now looks to probably meet up with the WBC’s #1 contender and mandatory challenger, Alexander Povetkin (30-1, 22 KOs) of Russia. Povetkin has lost just once in his impressive career, which was to unified champion, Wladimir Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs). No doubt that would be a great match-up.
It is worth noting that recently-crowned champion, Tyson Fury, was ringside Saturday night and created a scene following the main bout. He approached Wilder during the post-fight interview and began heckling him, calling him a “bum”. Provided Wilder can get past his mandatory with Povetkin and Fury wins his rematch with Wladimir Klitschko, expect a potential fight between the two champs late in 2016.
The Heavyweight Division seems more stacked with talent than it has in more than a decade. Some of the contenders vying for a shot at becoming unified champions include: Bryant Jennings, Eddie Chambers, Chris Arreola, Luis Ortiz, Anthony Joshua, Mike Perez, Derrick Chisora, Dominic Brazeale, Trevor Bryan, and former WBA champion Ruslan Chagaev. In addition to the fighters mentioned, former champ David Haye also came up victorious Saturday on a separate card in London after a 3 1/2 year hiatus from the sport.
So, to recap, we now have 3 Heavyweight Champions. Tyson Fury is the recognized champ having won it from the lineal champion, Wladimir Klitschko, less than two months ago. However, electing to have a rematch with Klitschko – rather than fighting the mandatory #1 contender in the division – he was forced to relinquish IBF’s version of the championship. He now holds the WBA & WBO belts, as well as Ring Magazine’s recognition of the championship. Deontay Wilder holds the WBC belt, which was held by Vitali Klitschko for many years prior. Finally, Charles Martin rounds out the champs with IBF’s version of the championship. Martin goes by different nicknames, such as “Missouri” and “Prince”. For now, though, you can just call him “Champ”!
Michael J. Feinberg
The Fighting News