The Cruiserweight division has given boxing fans stacks of excitement in it's short 40 year history and we have been spoilt rotten with old and new classics on BoxNation.
South African Kevin Lerena is the latest Cruiser bruiser to star on the Channel of Champions. On Saturday 8th June we have live coverage of his IBO Title defence against Czech puncher, Vasil Ducar.
BoxNation pundit Steve Lillis says the Cruiserweight division is his favourite, and he has been ringside, burning the midnight oil in front of a TV or in our studio for many classics.
Lillo tells us his personal five favourite Cruiserweight fights:
DWIGHT MUHAMMAD QAWI v EVANDER HOLYFIELD 1
[Image credit: Imasportsphile]
Ring Magazine named this epic the best Cruiserweight fight of the 1980's and who can dispute it? Holyfield claimed his first World Title after taking the WBA belt on a split decision over 15 rounds in his hometown, Atlanta. Qawi never took a backward step and didn’t stop throwing punches in 45 minutes of beautiful brutality. His shots were heavier, but Holyfield’s shots were crisper and always thrown with purpose. Round 13 was remarkable with Qawi hanging in on to survive one of the greatest three minutes ever. It was so hard, that years later, Holyfield said he came close to quitting boxing after this classic. In a December 1987 rematch Holyfield won in four rounds.
CARL THOMPSON v EZRA SELLERS
Carl against anybody could make my list, but his IBO Title loss against American Sellers in November 2001 is the most exciting fight I’ve ever seen in a British ring. Thompson was down four times and Sellers twice. Sellers was vulnerable but is an all-time great puncher at Cruiserweight and finished Carl off with a right hook. Thompson, who famously beat Chris Eubank twice and David Haye, said: “David did hurt me and punched harder than Chris Eubank, but nothing like Ezra. Every time he hit me I was going ‘ouch’. I didn’t do that against David.”
VASSILIY JIROV v JAMES TONEY
[Image credit: Thierry Gourjon Visuals]
Kazakh Jirov was one of the most feared men in boxing, 31-0 at the time he defended his IBF crown against the American who was rebuilding. So many punches were thrown and I can recall it being hard to split the pair at times, but Toney gave a defensive masterclass and showed what a talent he could be when he was right. Jirov was dropped heavily in round 12, but saw the fight out. The knockdown looked the difference, but the judges’ made him a wider winner on the cards.
DAVID HAYE v GIACOBBE FRAGOMENI
Haye’s third European Cruiserweight Title defence against rugged Italian Giacobbe Fragomeni at York Hall in November 2006 is often forgotten. Haye finally won a bruising battle in round nine, but looked to be heading for defeat in round six when he suffered a badly cut left eye. He showed a huge heart that night and one of the reasons I am still astounded when his fighting mentality is questioned.
MARCO HUCK v OLA AFOLABI 2
[Image credit: Michael Sohn/Associated Press]
The four fight series was rough, tough and often brutal as BoxNation viewers can testify. Huck won three times, but their WBO Title draw in May 2012 was my favourite. Two judges’ carded 114-114 and the third gave it to Huck 115-113. There can be no arguments about the draw in a barnstorming fight. Huck staged a sensational 12th round rally and came close to stopping the Los Angeles-based Londoner.