Liebenberg Seeks Entry Into 175lb Elite With Win Over Grachev

 Ryno Liebenberg

Ryno Liebenberg looks to fashion a place among the top dozen names in the increasingly viable looking light heavyweight landscape. Photo used with permission of Colin Nathan/Nick Lourens.

South Africa’s Ryno Liebenberg (15-0) faces the man who ended Zsolt Erdei‘s undefeated run of 33 fights when he takes on the battle tested Denis Grachev (13-3-1). Victory at Emperors Palace, Kempton Park on Saturday will elevate Liebenberg into the elite strata of the burgeoning light-heavyweight mix & potentially opens up a plethora of sell-able match-ups down the line.

The light-heavyweight scene shows signs of having the potential to elevate itself from the sport’s current malaise. The current Top 10 light heavyweights present perhaps the most compelling competitive space in the sport with quality in depth bettered perhaps only by the welterweight, junior welterweight & super middleweight divisions:

  1. Adonis Stevenson 24-1
  2. Bernard Hopkins 55-6-2
  3. Sergey Kovalev 25-0-1
  4. Jean Pascal 29-2-1
  5. Juergen Braehmer 44-2
  6. Isaac Chilemba 23-2-2
  7. Andrzej Fonfara 25-3
  8. Lucian Bute 31-2
  9. Beibut Shumenov 14-2
  10. Tavoris Cloud 24-2

And whilst that rarest of modern boxing concepts of championship unification seems a step closer to fruition with the WBA, IBF & WBO straps on the line when Hopkins meets Kovalev on 8 November it remains to be seen whether boxing’s faltering functionality can lead to a true undisputed champion with the winner facing Adonis Stevenson.