In an hour or two, IBF/WBA/WBO/IBO and The Ring Magazine World Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko (58-3, 50 KOs) will defend his titles against Mariusz Wach (27-0, 15 KO's) of Poland at o2 World Hamburg, Germany, on November 10.
Klitschko vs Wach Fight Time: 5:00 p.m. ET (10 p.m. U.K and 11 p.m. Deutschland)
Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko has looked dominant in his last several outings, especially in his most recent bout against Tony Thompson. Confident and aggressive, Klitschko bulldozed the 6'5" Thompson and looked more like Mike Tyson than the tentative, sometimes overly-cautious Wlad we're accustomed to seeing.
Simply put, Wladimir fought "angry" and completely shut down and shutout a big, awkward southpaw whose style makes him very difficult to look good against.
Will we see the same level of aggression and hunger tonight?
Obviously the biggest story around this bout is the death of Klitschko's longtime trainer Emanuel Steward just a little over two weeks ago. Steward was unable to help prepare his fighter and won't be in Klitschko's corner tonight. Will it make a difference? And if so, how much?
Will Wladimir be psychologically impacted? Will he find himself in a similiar situation to the mythical Rocky Balboa who was annihilated by Clubber Lang in their first meeting while his trainer lay dying in the dressing room? Silly comparison? Perhaps. But boxing is a very mental sport and Wladimir Klitschko is one of the game's most cerebral fighters. As a result, one must figure he'll have Steward on his mind to some degree during the bout.
Jonathan Banks trained Klitschko for this bout and will serve as the fighter's chief second. The 30 year old Banks, a professional fighter himself, has been a sparring partner for Wladimir Klitschko for quite some time and is also a pupil of legendary trainer Emanuel Steward.
The situation is not ideal for Klitschko but Mariusz Wach just might be the right opponent for him at the moment as many believe the Pole is too green to be even be in the same ring with the seasoned champion and, as a result, isn't a threatening challenge.
In his most recent bout, Krakow Poland's super-sized heavyweight, Mariusz Wach, scored an impressive TKO victory over another large heavyweight, 6'8"/203cm Canadian Tye Fields in March. But even after Wach's solid win over a fairly decent journeyman, Wach is still unproven and untested.
The Knock on Wach
The 32 year old Polish challenger has been criticized for being slow and methodical, and moving too much like the classic 'big man' to wreak havok in the division. But to Wach's credit, he's been a crowd-pleaser and has exhibited the kind of 'big man' power lately that may ultimately make him a legitimate heavyweight threat, if not a force, one day soon.
Standing nearly 6'8," Wach possesses an 82" reach - 1 inch longer than Wlad's. "The Viking" has also stopped his previous seven opponents by way of knockout going heading into his first major world title opportunity.
And prior to being admitted to the hospital, the late Emanuel Steward stated:
"I have my work cut out for me with this assignment," insisted the legendary boxing coach. "Wach will not only be the biggest opponent Wladimir has fought since we've been together, he will also have the mentality of an undefeated fighter when he steps in the ring. Wach will be coming into the championship bout brimming with confidence."
The late trainer added: "Trying to come up with a strategy for a fighter this big is going to be interesting," professed Emanuel Steward. "But this isn't the first time we've ever had to come up with a winning fight plan against a difficult opponent and it won't be the last."
Taking right where he left off against Thompson, a more aggressive Wladimir Klitschko will use his superior skills, speed experience and physical tools to outbox and eventually knockout his foe in the 10th Round. However, Wach, who has the proverbial "puncher's chance," will prove to be a lot better than most give him credit for and won't make it easy for the champion.
Klitschko vs Wach will start between 5 and 5:30 p.m. EST.
Klitschko vs Wach Facts
- For the first time in his 16 year pro career, the 6'6" Klitschko will face an opponent taller than himself in 6'7 1/2" Mariusz Wach
- Wach has stopped his last seven opponents
- It will be the first fight since 2004 that Klitschko will not have Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward in his corner.
- Tribute: The telecast will include a tribute to Steward who passed away on October 25.
- Lineal heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko is being trained by Jonathan Banks for his November 10th title defense against Mariusz Wach. Banks, who will also serve as Klitschko's chief second on fight night, will replace long-time trainer Emanuel Steward, who passed away
- Klitschko is 36, Wach is 32
- Streak: Wladimir Klitschko is on a 16 fight win streak
- Many see Klitschko vs Wach as a virtual mismatch, insisting the champion is far too poised, polished and skillful for the Polish challenger
- Klitschko vs Wach will serve as Wlad's 6th defense of the RING Magazine/Lineal title and his 12th world title defense since starting his second reign in April 2006. It will be his 18th defense overall.