Seth Mitchell had a first-round scare against Chazz Witherspoon but righted the ship and put his opponent away in the 3rd, and he climbs from #18 to #11 in this month's SportsRatings Heavyweight Top 100.
Mitchell is now 25-0 with 19 stoppages, no losses, and just one draw—since avenged—to blemish his record. He's 11-0 against ranked fighters, and has moved from #37 six months ago due to a solid win (TKO 2) over Timur Ibragimov and the Witherspoon fight.
He also solidifies his status as one of the very top American heavyweights, ranking 4th behind #6 Chris Arreola, #7 Eddie Chambers, and #9 Tony Thompson. Witherspoon (30-3) again drops off the top 100, but he'll surely bounce back as he did after losses to Arreola and Thompson. Witherspoon is becoming a gatekeeper in the mode of #20 Monte Barrett; fighters who beat him have a title shot in their future, while those who lose, don't.
Top-ranked American Heavyweights (in bold) as of May 1, 2012:
|Rated Record||April results / May schedule
|7||8||5||7||7||EDDIE CHAMBERS||19.63||14-2-0||last win -14 months.|
|2||5||9||10||8||RUSLAN CHAGAEV||19.05||15-2-0||KO 3 #155 BILLY ZUMBRUN|
|26||4||8||9||10||DAVID HAYE||18.33||5-1-0||last win -17 months.|
|--||37||37||18||11||SETH MITCHELL||18.17||11-0-0||TKO 3 #46 CHAZZ WITHERSPOON|
Two top ten fighters were in action last month: #4 Tyson Fury put away Martin Rogan in the 5th, while Ruslan Chagaev needed just 3 rounds to KO Billy Zumbrun. Fury's win helped create a smidge of distance between he and #5 Robert Helenius, while Chagaev gained a couple of spots. Three years ago this month Chagaev was at #2, while Fury was very green at #93.
Denis Boytsov (31-0) moved up a spot to #15 by winning a wide unanimous decision over Domonick Guinn. Only one judge gave Guinn a single round, a patter that held in his previous two losses, both of which were also to undefeated fighters (Amir Mansour and Kubrat Pulev).
Yet another undefeated prospect, Alexander Ustinov (27-0) climbed a notch with a victory over Jason Gavern. Ustinov has been in a holding pattern for over a year as he schedules mostly stay-busy fights.
Kelvin Price moved up 9 spots to #36, beating Arron Lyons, while Kevin Johnson leaped back into the top 100 at #39 with an April 1st TKO of former #32 Alex Leapai in Australia. Juan Carlos Gomez paid back Darnell Wilson for his earlier upset loss, regaining a bit of lost ground to #45. Joe Hanks' first-round KO of journeyman Marcus Rhode was good enough to put Hanks just outside the top 50, while Rhode's first stint in our top 100 came to a quick end.
Upcoming: Pulev-Dimitrenko, Airich-Solis, Price-Sexton
Mitchell may have fallen just short of the top ten but either #12 Kubrat Pulev or #13 Alexander Dimitrenko will get there after their May 5th showdown. Dimitrenko (32-1) resided in the top ten before his only loss to Eddie Chambers, while undefeated Bulgarian Pulev (15-0) has been moving up the charts rapidly since his debut in September of 2009. That was 2 month after Dimitrenko's loss, meaning Pulev has fought 5 times as often as Dimitrenko lately. We favor Pulev to get the win and the top ten ranking. Also on that card is #14 Edmund Gerber (19-0) who has a much more manageable foe in current #148 Maurice Harris.
Odlanier Solis, ranked #42 after his loss to Vitali Klitschko and subsequent inactivity while recovering from his knee injury, begins his comeback on May 19 as he faces #17 Konstantin Airich. Airich (23-5-2), was barely holding on to a top 300 ranking before he upset Ondrej Pala and leapt into the top 20 last month. He has won six fights in a row, against reasonable competition, so he should provide a decent comeback test for olympic gold medalist Solis, who needs to re-establish himself as a force on the heavyweight scene and prove that the layoff hasn't eroded his skills—or added to his weight problem. We expect Solis to win but will be watching his conditioning.
Also on the 19th another olympic medalist, the UK's David Price, ranked #24, faces off against #34 Sam Sexton for the British heavyweight title that #4 Tyson Fury gave up rather than face Price. Many believe Price would defeat Fury given the opportunity, but there are questions about Price's chin lingering from his amateur days. Sexton's chin has its own weaknesses, and Price's accurate punching will most likely expose them; we pick Price in a late stoppage. The two are fairly well-matched skillwise, but Price's reach gives him a big advantage.