Inside Lines: Suddenly heavy hitters are pulling no punches – but why?


When the roughhouse Russian Sergey Kovalev so brutally concluded Nathan Cleverly's two-year reign as WBO world light-heavyweight champion in Cardiff last weekend – and possibly the Welsh maths graduate's boxing career – it was indicative of a remarkable ring renaissance.

The ko kings are back in business, with a proliferation of the sport's seriously venomous hitters inflicting more bodily harm than at any time since Mike Tyson unleashed his stunning brand of sock savagery.

Kovalev, making his 20th stoppage inside four rounds – his apt nom-de-guerre is Krusher – is one of an increasing number of big bangers putting the punch back into boxing.

Currently the most awesome single puncher in heavyweight boxing is American sensation Deontay Wilder, as Audley Harrison and 28 others quickly poleaxed will testify. Wilder's last opponenht, Siarhei Liakhovich, a former WBO champion from Belarus, was left a twitching heap on the canvas after a typical wrecking-ball blow in the opening seconds.

Not for nothing are the Klitchsko brothers, Vitali and Wladimir, respectively known as Dr Ironfist and Dr Steelhammer.

Other massive finishers rising fast include Argentina's WBC light-welter champ Lucas Mattyse (32 kos) – keep him away from Amir Khan – who fights Khan conqueror Danny Garcia on the 14 September Las Vegas bill headlined by the Floyd Mayweather v Saul Alvarez scrap, the richest in boxing history. The punching prowess of Mexican Alvarez, 23, (30 kos) is considered a powerful antidote to Mayweather's ethereal defensive skills. This could be the perfect match.

With Britain's own two most explosive hitters, David Haye and Tyson Fury, due to meet in Manchester next month, the hurt business is booming. However, some are questioning why such devastating punching has suddenly become so evident again, especially at a time when boxing finds itself under scrutiny in terms of doping rumours. Let's make it absolutely clear that none of the fighters mentioned here have ever failed a drugs test. But there are plenty who have been caught adding a bit more than Bovril to beef up their strength.

Nine alone in Britain – more than in any other sport. No household names, but certainly some powerhouse punchers. Interesting.

Tanni's time?

UK Sport is seeking a new chair for the English Institute of Sport (EIS) following the decision of former Olympic star and BBC athletics commentator, Steve Cram, to step down after more than 10 years as head of the body which is the science, medicine and technology engine room of Olympic and Paralympic sport.

Isn't this the opportunity to right the wrong done to Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, disgracefully politically jocked off by Culture Secretary Maria Miller when set to become the chair of Sport England? Tanni is surely ideal for a progressive organisation that has that rarity, a black chief executive – the ex-Welsh hurdler and rugby international Nigel Walker.

However, fellow left-leaning sporting peer Baroness Sue Campbell, until recently UK Sport chair, may also fancy the £10,000 a year part-time role.

Hope for Powell

Although axed by the FA after 15 years as England women's national coach after a poor Euro 2013, Hope Powell could make a swift return to football in a revolutionary move. We hear a couple of non-League clubs – and possibly one from the Football League – are keen to make her the first female member of coaching staff.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: AV Installation Engineer

£27000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to business growth, this is...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Care Support Workers

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion, this care company base...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£21000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent