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Written by Ian Wallwork

A not-so-well thought-out list of the top five heavyweight prospects

Let's take a look at the heavyweight division as it stands right now. The Klitschko brothers hold all the world title belts and look unbeatable. The only fighter with a realistic chance of beating them retired in October, but he has now talked his way into a title shot. In his last fight with a Klitschko, where he spouted off just enough to convince us he had a chance, he broke his toe. I'm talking of course about David Haye. If he is the best competition out there, we're in deep shit.

The number one challenger list for the four major boxing bodies is also a joke. Take a look:

WBA: Hasim Rahman


WBO: Robert Helenius 

WBC: Chris Arreola 

IBF: Tony Thompson

Since losing to Wladimir in 2008, Rahman spent two years out of the game. He returned in 2010 and has spent his time fighting guys with spectacular records like Marcus McGee (22-17) and Galen Brown (35-16). Helenius, as we know, lost his last fight to Dereck Chisora but was inexplicably given the victory nod by the judges. Chris Arreola has been injured and hasn’t fought since May, but like Rahman he has occupied himself fighting watering cans. *Chris Arreola has fought twice since May. Adam from Saturday Night Boxing pointed this out, thanks Adam*. Lastly we've got Tony Thompson, the forty year-old with thirty-six wins to his name but no business being in a ring with the Klitschkos.

The heavyweight division is shot. This generation has been dominated by two men from Ukraine, and that won't change. So it's time to look to the future. Things are promising there at least.

I started this list because I was annoyed with how boring the heavyweight division is, but when I did a little digging I started to get optimistic - we've got some good fighters coming through. So here are my picks for the top five heavyweight prospects. 


The Top Five Heavyweight Prospects

5 – Deontay Wilder ( 20 Wins, 0 Losses, 0 Draws)


   
The Olympic wonderboy and master of the padded record. Since winning a bronze medal in 2008, Wilder turned pro and has won twenty fights. For a twenty-six year old who has only been professional three years, 20-0 isn't a bad record. The problem is nearly all of the twenty were bums.

Wilder and his team have drawn criticism for the easy bouts he's been set up with. Fighting pumpkins is acceptable early on in a career, but to be fighting guys who are 6-6 in your sixteenth fight is poor. Wilder makes this list on talent but he needs to step up or he will become another David Rodriguez.

4 - Tyson Fury  ( 17 Wins, 0 Losses, 0 Draws)

    
Next up is one of the most frustrating heavyweights around. I really wanted to put Tyson Fury further up in the list, but I can't. It's a pity because he is one of the most exciting heavyweights to watch. His matches have it all; opponents who actually want to fight, crazy defensive lapses, and attack frenzies that usually end in a Fury KO win.

This sums up Tyson Fury. On the attack he is great; his jab, when he bothers to use it, is dangerous and could take him far. But he just won't protect himself. Too often he gets caught with a punch he shouldn’t have taken, and recently this saw him get knocked to the floor by Neven Pajkic. For this reason Fury gets 4th place. With the right trainer he could be a contender, and Fury has made a step in this direction by splitting with his former trainer-uncle Hughie Fury.

3 – Mike Perez  ( 18 Wins, 0 Losses, 0 Draws) 


    
You don't see a lot of love of Mike Perez but he has earned a good record while putting in solid performances. He's 18-0 after his latest win over Friday Ahunanya and he's coming to a fork in the road where he has to take on someone worthwhile or fade into journeyman status.

He's part of the Patrick Hamish Thomas stable which is doing a good job of promoting Cuban boxers in Ireland. Last year they set him up in the Prize Fighter tournament, a gruelling night of boxing where fighters have three matches in quick succession. Perez won that tournament. I have a feeling 2012 is going to make or break him.

2 – David Price  ( 11 Wins, 0 Losses, 0 Draws) 


    
The second Olympic medallist on the list is bronze winner David Price. Born in Liverpool and fighting for Britain, Price also won gold in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. His amateur success has showed us the talent he has, but as we know it doesn’t always translate to the professional game.

So far he's beaten eleven cardboard cutouts, winning nine by KO. He's never fought anyone worthwhile but the Brit is still highly-touted by boxing fans. He is fighting John McDermott this month in his hardest test yet, and if he wins we'll know more about the amateur star. I'd love to see him fight fellow-Brit Tyson Fury this year. The two have been spouting off threats at each other and a bout between them would make money in the UK.

1 – Seth Mitchell  ( 24 Wins, 0 Losses, 0 Draws)


   
Seth Mitchell is a true heavyweight. His weight has ranged from 201 – 294 and he has ended 72% of his fights by knockout. He likes to take the fight to his opponents, something we saw when he recently destroyed Timur Ibragimov.

Out of all the heavyweights on the list, Mitchell's win over Ibragimov is the most impressive. Ibragimov is only 36 and he has a record of 30-4. He's fought for a few titles and been in the ring with Tony Thompson and Calvin Brock, so he's no clown. Mitchell destroyed him inside two rounds, landing punches at will. Ibragimov just couldn't cope. It is this brute force that makes Mitchell so appealing. He is a proper heavyweight. 

Honourable and Dishonourable Mentions

A couple of months ago one man would have been near the top of this list, but fast-forward and he doesn't even make the final five. That man is scraggly-haired Robert Helenius. The Nordic Nightmare is 17-0 but stats can lie, and Helenius' certainly do. He fought Dereck Chisora in December and looked like he lost, but  a poor judge's decision protected his '0'. By leaving him out of my heavyweight prospect list I'm giving out my own justice.

Missing from the list are Dereck Chisora, Edmund Gerber, Andrzej Wawrzyk and Denis Boytsov. If you like the theory of parallel universes, you will know there is one out there where I did put these guys in my top five. The truth is they are all worthy prospects and possible contenders, but I had to whittle the list to five. Based on pure potential, these guys miss out. Would you put them in yours? Who are your top five heavyweight prospects?