(Trainer Johnathon Banks with Wladimir Klitschko)
In June of 2009, Wladimir Klitschko had his 56th professional boxing contest and defended his universally regarded major world title (IBF) for a seventh time, against undefeated Ruslan Chagaev.
Kubrat Pulev turned professional as a boxer only a few months later, in September of that same year.
Wladimir still holds that title and will be attempting a seventeenth defense of it against Pulev this week. That is an illustration of Wladimir's longevity as the number one heavyweight in the world. He's now defending his title against a man that turned pro after he had already won it and defended it for years. Wladimir has been on top so long that many of his prospective opponents have turned pro after he had fifty pro fights in the books and after his last loss, in 2004. He may be no Alien, but you don't see this very often, folks.
A brief timeline of the current crop of contenders yet to face Wladimir, against Wlad's last decade or so of activity:
2004: Wladimir Klitschko's last loss, to Lamon Brewster, and first win in his current winning streak, against DaVarryl Williamson, in this year.
2005: Bermane Stiverne, current WBC heavyweight champion, Ring's current #3 contender, debuts as a pro, in this year.
Klitschko wins an eliminator to challenge IBF Champion and Ring's #1 rated heavyweight, Chris Byrd, by defeating undefeated Sam Peter, in this year.
2006: Wladimir Klitschko becomes the general consensus number one heavyweight by defeating #1 Chris Byrd, winning his IBF title, 1 of the four major sanctioning body titles in this era, and defeating Calvin Brock in his fiftieth professional fight and first defense, in this year.
2007: Dereck Chisora, current European Heavyweight Champion, debuts as a pro in this year.
2008: Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder & Mike Perez, Ring's current #4, #6 & #8 contenders, in order, all debut as a pro in this year. (Klitschko turned pro in 1996, when Tyson Fury was a nine-year-old boy)
Wladimir also unifies two of the four major sanctioning body titles (his IBF and Sultan Ibragimov's WBO) in this year.
2009: Kubrat Pulev, Ring's current #1 contender, and Vyacheslav Glazkov, Ring's current #7 contender, debut as a pro in this year.
Klitschko unifies his two major sanctioning body titles (IBF & WBO) with the Ring title against Ruslan Chagaev, in this year.
2010: Bryant Jennings, Ring's current #5 contender, debuts as a pro in, in this year.
2011: Klitschko unifies the Ring title, his 2/4 major sanctioning body titles (IBF & WBO) with a third, the WBA title, against David Haye.
2014: Bermane Stiverne wins the only major world title not held by Wladimir Klitschko, the vacant WBC title, against Chris Arreola, in this year.
I've included Dereck Chisora by virtue of having the European title and regularly being mentioned as a prospective Klitschko opponent, having been signed to fight him previously already. All other mentioned contenders are in Ring's top ten, as noted. The only other fighters currently on Ring's list of top ten contenders are Alexander Povetkin (#2), Chris Arreola (#9) and Ruslan Chagaev (#10). Each is at least a little younger than Klitschko, each having turned pro at least a little bit after Klitschko, and two of the three having already lost lopsidedly to Klitschko. The fact of the matter is that Klitschko is not only the elder statesman of the division, but the new era Klitschko took control of after his brother relinquished the Ring title is now the old era, having been almost completely replaced with yet another new era of men that don't know what it's like to be contenders without Klitschko on the throne. The odd facts of Klitschko's longevity have arrived and Pulev is a "next generation" heavyweight contender for Wladimir.
*The aforementioned rankings from Ring are not from the monthly magazine but from the weekly updated Ring rankings to be found here: http://ringtv.craveonline.com/ratings/heavyweight
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