Coming off a weekend in which Wladimir Klitschko scored yet another convincing victory, it would be understandable if one felt there were no real challenges on the horizon for the heavyweight champion.
Klitschko and brother Vitali have essentially cleaned out the division of all contenders; both European and American. Ironically, however, in a series of fights in London last month a potential new U.S. challenger emerged.
New Yorker Tor Hamer won three fights in one day to win the “Prizefighter” tournament on June 20.
Hamer (18-1, 11 KO’s) won a three-round unanimous decision against Kevin Johnson, a first round stoppage of Tom Dallas and another three-round unanimous decision win against Marcelo Luiz Nascimento. And while the (brief) competition wasn’t of the highest quality, it could be enough to produce what boxing has seemingly needed for years – a worthy American heavyweight to challenge the Klitschko dominance.
“It felt good,” Hamer told Fightnews about winning the tournament and thus putting himself in the running for a championship chance. “Basically, we had a distinct game plan for each one of the fighters we faced and we executed it pretty well and distinctly. It made me realize we know what we are doing,” he said, laughingly.
The 28-year-old Hamer has already fought five times this year after injuries sidelined him for all of 2011. But the victories in the tournament, he said, proved something. “I want to make a statement in 2012 that even though I was out for a year, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t work hard,” he said. “Winning the tournament is basically allowing me to recoup a year of injury that otherwise would’ve took me a lot longer to do.”
And even though the end goal is to get a title shot, Hamer said he is looking at the big picture. “There are a lot of opportunities besides fighting the Klitschko’s,” he continued. “There’s a lot of interesting bouts to be made and there’s a lot of interesting avenues that many heavyweights can exploit. I think especially in Europe. There’s a lot of fighters over there who are ranked pretty high but don’t have the skill set the average American heavyweight has.”
As a result, Hamer, who hopes to return to action in September, is taking a wide view of the rest of the fighters in the division. “(Alexander) Povetkin? Definitely,” he said in response to potential opponents.
“(Chris) Arreola would make a lot of sense. I need to make it clear that Seth Mitchell and Deontay Wilder aren’t the only American heavyweights. (Tomasz) Adamek is the type of guy you need to beat in order to solidify yourself in the division. It makes sense. You need to do what you have to do to be on the world class level. And I think my win in the Prizefighter tournament proved that I can beat people on that level.”
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