News May 2019

Heavyweight blast from the past as Maskaev edges Williams


By Michael J Jones

Last night in Russia, former heavyweight champion Oleg Maskaev continued his comeback with a unanimous decision victory over Brixton’s Danny Williams.

Maskaev and Williams weigh in

Forty-four year-old Maskaev, a WBC ruler 2006-08, is now 3-0 on his ring return after a three-year break and was given a decent test by the former British and Commonwealth champion, no spring chicken himself at 40.

The ten-rounder at the Basket Hall, Krasnodar, Russia saw both fairly tentative in the opening stages. To be fair to the faded pair, both looked in decent physical shape. Maskaev came in at a trim 246½lbs while Williams scaled almost thirty pounds heavier at 274½lbs.

Looking in shape and being in perfect fighting condition are sadly two vastly different things though.

Williams, with his left hand dangling dangerously low, jabbed with the older Kazakh as both looked for openings. Clean punches were at a minimum as both missed and repeatedly fell into clinches.

The heavyweights, both 6’3”, seemed visibly tired by the middle rounds as both were guilty of punching low. Williams’ legs didn’t seem steady whenever he was caught flush but, lucky for him, Oleg couldn’t seem to detonate his best punches with any regularity.

By the final bell of the slow-paced contest there didn’t appear a great deal between the two men but the judges were unanimous in their scores each turning in a card of 98-92 to Maskaev, who advances to 39-7 (28).

Although a way past his best, it’s worth remembering Maskaev was also thought finished when shocking Hasin Rahman in 2006 to win his WBC crown at 37-years-old.

The former champion turned pro over twenty years ago and evolved into a solid contender in the late 90’s. It was during an impressive ten-bout winning streak when he would first knock-out Hasin Rahman in eight rounds. Oleg came from behind to drive the future champion out of the ring in a minor upset.

Younger days; Maskaev stops Rahman

After subsequent stoppage defeats to the likes of Kirk Johnson and Corey “T Rex” Sanders, many urged the stiff-hitting Russian to quit but another winning streak saw him rematch Rahman for the WBC belt.

An underdog once more, Maskaev upset the applecart again by drubbing “The Rock” in the last to become champion but would lose the title in his second defence to Sam Peter.

After beating Owen Beck, Jason Gavern and now Williams in the last eleven months, don’t be surprised if the aging “Big O” is fed to someone like Deontay Wilder in the near future.

As for Williams, despite openly admitting he is long past his prime, he just keeps on going as we hope the end of his career doesn’t put him in serious harm.

It’s nearly ten years since he hammered the ghost of Mike Tyson in Louisville and three since his embarrassing two-round loss to Dereck Chisora. Danny, one of the nicest guys you could ever meet in boxing, now has a record of 44-19 (33) and expect him to pop up on another European card soon.

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