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?
Jerry Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
peopleSitcom star urges men to be more supportive of women than ever
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
footballLouis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United and Wenger can still spring a surprise
The spider makes its break for freedom
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: Lettings Negotiator

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Central London based firm loo...

Recruitment Genius: Events / Conference Operations Manager

£25000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Administrator

£14400 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a multi-d...

Recruitment Genius: Service, Maintenance & Installation Engineers - London

£34000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of Energy Consult...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot