SportzNewz takes an in Depth look at current #1 Ranked Heavyweight Contender and former WBO Heavyweight Champion of the World Vitali Klitschko as hs
is set to face Corrie Sanders on April 24th for the vacant WBC Heavyweight Championship.
For a boxer who supposedly did not possess heart or an abundance of talent, Vitali Klitschko displayed more courageousness and ability than anyone
could expect when he fought world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis on June 21, 2003, at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
The older of the Klitschko brothers won over the fans and media, but not his opponent. Following the bout, Lewis refused to acknowledge the
challenger's game effort or give him credit despite the fact that most felt the defending titleholder was quite fortunate to come away victorious.
Despite the fact that he was behind 58-56 on the three judges' scorecards, Lewis retained his World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight title with a
controversial sixth-round TKO when the ringside physician stopped the fight because of bad cuts around Klitschko's left eye.
To this day, Klitschko felt he could have continued to fight.
"Nobody expect me to fight Lewis like I did," Klitschko said. "They expected him to win easily, but I surprised everybody. I could have kept fighting.
I am sorry we never could fight the rematch because I am confident I could have defeated him.
"I do not feel like I was the loser because I did not lose the fight. I did my best, but the doctor's decision about the cut stopped me.''
At one point, Lewis said he would agree to a rematch, perhaps on Dec. 6, 2003, but only after Klitschko had his eye examined by an independent
Klitschko got the eye checked and was cleared to fight, but Lewis announced in early August that he would not fight again in 2003.
Instead of Lewis, Klitschko fought Kirk Johnson Dec. 6, 2003, on HBO from New York. In a dominant performance, the native Ukranian destroyed Johnson
and won the WBC heavyweight title elimination bout with an impressive second-round TKO.
Applying constant pressure from the outset, Klitschko landed 26 of 57 total punches, including 18 of 28 power shots, in the first round. Klitschko was
even more accurate in the second and landed 29 of 56 total punches, including 21 of 40 power shots.
Klitschko's hopes for a rematch were dashed for good when Lewis officially retired on Feb. 6, 2004, in London. "I am sad to hear that Lennox Lewis has
decided to retire, but I respect him for his decision," Klitschko said. "Lewis was one of the greatest heavyweight champions of all time, and I am
very proud to say that I was able to fight him.
"My goal now is to win the WBC heavyweight championship, and for my brother, Wladimir, and I to reach our goal of becoming heavyweight champions at
the same time.''
Klitschko's performances against Lewis and Johnson silenced the critics who felt he took the easy way out in his World Boxing Organization (WBO) title
defense against Chris Byrd on April 1, 2000, in Germany.
In the Byrd fight, the doctor did not need x-rays to convince himself that Klitschko was in extreme pain. Klitschko, a proud, educated man with a
doctorate in sports science and philosophy, did what he felt was the intelligent thing and quit on his stool.
Klitschko was comfortably ahead at the time by the scores 89-82 and 88-83 twice, and needed only to endure three more rounds to win a decision and
retain his WBO title for the third time. After tearing the rotator cuff in his left shoulder earlier in the bout, he could not come out for the 10th
"From the fourth round on, Vitali's left shoulder was hurt,'' said his trainer, Fritz Sdunek.
Not one to buy into any of the criticism for quitting, Klitschko has proven his detractors wrong. Since the injury, he has gone 6-1 with five
"People are entitled to their opinion,'' Klitschko said. "They can believe me when I say I was very hurt, or they do not have to, but I fought as hard
as I could for as long as I could. I did not want to stop. I had to. If I had continued my shoulder could have been irreparably damaged and my career
Days after the Byrd bout, Klitschko underwent surgery on the shoulder. He was back in the ring seven-and-one-half months later, but with a new sense
In his first outing after losing to Byrd, Klitschko regained the vacant European heavyweight title with a lopsided 12-round decision over previously
undefeated German champion Timo Hoffman (22-0 going in) on Nov. 24, 2000, in Hannover, Germany. Dominant throughout, Klitschko pounded the game
Hoffman and won by the scores 120-108 twice and 119-109.
As impressive as he was against Hoffman, Klitschko quickly opted to relinquish the belt.
In his second comeback outing after the injury, Klitschko captured the World Boxing Association (WBA) Intercontinental title with a first-round TKO
over former world champion Orlin Norris on Jan. 27, 2001, in Munich, Germany. Vitali decked Norris twice in the opening 69 seconds to end matters.
"Winning the WBA Intercontinental crown gave me the right to meet boxers of the upper class," Klitschko said.
More than 10 months later, Klitschko successfully defended his WBA Intercontinental title and got sweet revenge for his brother by dominating Ross
Puritty en route to winning by 11th-round TKO at Oberhausen, Germany. Klitschko maintained a strong, steady pace throughout and won every round before
12,500 fans. Klitschko cut a battered and bruised Puritty over the right eye in the 11th, and the one-sided bout was stopped at 1:16.
"I trained very hard," Klitschko said. "My preparation was great. I knew I could go 12 rounds. Puritty has an iron chin and takes a good punch, but I
knew I was hurting him."
By thoroughly whipping Puritty, Klitschko squared matters with his brother Wladimir, whose first pro loss came against the fighter. Wladimir captured
the WBO heavyweight title by whipping Byrd, who had won the title from Vitali when the defending champion could not continue.
"I have never seen my brother fight so well for so long," Wladimir said. "He was quite impressive. I am very happy for him.''
In his 2002 debut, Klitschko retained his WBA Intercontinental title for the second time by scoring an 11th-round TKO over Vaughn Bean on Feb. 8 in
"Bean was the most awkward fighter I have ever fought," Klitschko said. "He can take a good punch, and always is dangerous, so I did not want to push
it and just try for a knockout.''
Klitschko won every round before the referee stopped the proceedings at 1:40 of the 11th. The best moments for Bean (42-2, 32 KOs going in) came in
the eighth when he landed two solid hooks flush on Klitschko's chin. Klitschko, however, roared back to win the round. At bout's conclusion, both of
Bean's eyes were badly swollen.
Prior to turning pro, Klitschko compiled an excellent 119-15 amateur record with 80 knockouts, while winning numerous titles such as the 1995 Military
Championship. He also was a six-time kick-boxing world champion.
Klitschko's prowess and potential in the ring caught the eye of several pro promoters, including Don King. King invited the brothers to Las Vegas, but
they declined his offer and signed with Kohl and Universum Box-Promotion.
In his eagerly anticipated pro debut at age 25 on Nov. 16, 1996, Klitschko knocked out Tony Bradham in the second round in Hamburg, Germany.
After finishing 14 out of his initial 18 opponents in two rounds or less, Klitschko captured the World Boxing Organization (WBO) International crown
by scoring a fifth-round TKO over Dick Ryan on May 2, 1998.
Three months later on Aug. 11, 1998, Klitschko made his United States debut and initial start outside of Germany by registering a first-round TKO over
Ricardo Kennedy in Miami, Fla.
Klitschko registered his 21st consecutive knockout and won the European heavyweight title with a second-round TKO over Mario Schiesser on Oct. 24,
1998, in Hamburg.
In his first defense less than two months later on Dec. 1, 1998, Klitschko fought in his hometown of Kiev for the initial time and recorded a
first-round TKO over Italy's Francesco Spinelli.
After retaining his European title with a second-round TKO over Ismael Youla on Feb. 20, 1999, in Hamburg, Klitschko challenged Herbie Hide for the
Klitschko demolished Hide (31-1 going in) by knocking him out at 1:27 of the second round on June 27, 1999, in London. Klitschko, who knocked Hide
twice, connected with two right hands to floor Hide the first time. The hard-hitting heavyweight ended matters with another right that put Hide down,
out and unable to beat the referee's count.
Less than four months later on Oct. 10, 1999, in Oberhausen, Germany, Klitschko retained the WBO belt with a third-round TKO over Ed Mahone.
In command from the outset, Klitschko punished Mahone with lefts and rights in the first round, and spun the challenger around with a shot to the head
in the second. A right floored Mahone early in the third. Klitschko continued to unload with both hands and closed the show by dropping Mahone to a
knee. Following the second knockdown, the referee stopped the bout at 1:15.
Klitschko returned to Hamburg on Dec. 11, 1999, and successfully defended his WBO title with a ninth-round TKO over Obed Sullivan.
In a match that went three rounds farther than any of his previous starts, Klitschko used Sullivan as a human punching bag and dominated every round.
Sullivan, with both eyes badly swollen and bleeding from a cut over his left eye, was unable to answer the bell for the 10th round.
"I had often heard that I could only fight one or two rounds," said Klitschko, whose previous seven starts had each ended inside of three rounds. "I
proved that was not true. I did not put too much pressure on Sullivan in the beginning because I wanted to be patient and box. I knew he could take a
Nearly seven months prior to the Lewis fight, Klitschko recorded a 10th-round knockout over world-ranked contender Larry Donald on Nov. 23, 2002, in
Making his first start in nine-and-one-half months, Klitschko dominated Donald and won every round before approximately 11,000 fans. He dropped Donald
three times with straight right hands in the 10th round before the referee waved off the fight. It was the first time that Donald had been stopped in
his nearly 10-year career.
Vitali's hobbies include politics, kite surfing, listening to music and playing chess.
BEFORE THE BELL - A GLIMPSE OF VITALI KLITSCHKO
STYLE: The first world heavyweight champion with a Ph.D. is a huge, talented, menacing slugger .... He is rather methodical and stands upright, but he
has an aggressive style, possesses good skills and tremendous punching power.... Has registered some impressive victories.... Has more heart and
determination than certain people would be willing to concede.
STRENGTHS: Punching power .... Confidence: he is willing to fight anybody.... Overall size and strength ... Height and reach .... Discipline ....
Dedication .... Conditioning .... Work ethic .... Intelligence (in and out of the ring) .... Amateur experience: besides the military title, he won
the silver medal at the 1995 Amateur World Championship.
QUESTION MARKS: Can he repeat that awesome performance against Johnson? ..... Can he get revenge for his brother against Sanders? .... Can he show
patience early and take Sanders into the later rounds? .... How will he react once Sanders reacts? .... Will cuts be a factor?
Alias: Ironfist / Dr.
Hometown: Los Angeles CA/Hamburg Germany
Birthplace: Belovodsk, Kyrgyzstan
World Rank: 3
Date of Birth: 1971-07-19
Height: 6' 7½
Trainer: Fritz Sdunek / Emmanual Steward
Manager: Klaus-Peter Kohl
Vitali Klitschko Career Record
33 Wins, 2 Loss, 32 Knockouts
12-06 -- Kirk Johnson, New York, NY, W TKO 2
06-21 -- Lennox Lewis, Los Angeles, CA, TKO by 6
(For WBC Heavyweight Title)
11-23 -- Larry Donald, Dortmund, Germany, W TKO 10
02-08 -- Vaughn Bean, Braunschweig, Germany, W TKO 11
12-08 -- Ross Puritty, Oberhausen, Germany, W TKO 11
01-27 -- Orlin Norris, Munich, Germany, W KO 1
11-25 -- Timo Hoffmann, Hannover, Germany, W 12
04-01 -- Chris Byrd, Berlin, Germany, L TKO 10
(Lost WBO Heavyweight Title)
12-11 -- Obed Sullivan, Hamburg, Germany, W TKO 10
(Retained WBO Heavyweight Title)
10-09 -- Ed Mahone, Oberhausen, Germany, W TKO 3
(Retained WBO Heavyweight Title)
06-26 -- Herbie Hide, London, England, W KO 2
(Won WBO Heavyweight Title)
02-20 -- Ismael Youla, Hamburg, Germany, W TKO 2
12-05 -- Francesco Spinelli, Kiev, Ukraine, W KO 1
10-24 -- Mario Schiesser, Hamburg, Germany, W TKO 2
08-11 -- Ricardo Kennedy, Miami, FL, W TKO 1
06-05 -- Jose Ribalta, Hamburg, Germany, W TKO 2
05-02 -- Dick Ryan, Lubeck, Germany, W TKO 5
04-18 -- Julius Francis, Aachen, Germany, W TKO 2
03-20 -- Levi Billups, Frankfurt, Germany, W KO 2
03-07 -- Louis Monaco, Cologne, Germany, W KO 3
01-30 -- Alben Belinski, Munich, Germany, W KO 2
01-17 -- Marcus Rhode, Berlin, Germany, W TKO 2
12-20 -- Anthony Willis, Offenburg, Germany, W KO 5
11-29 -- Herman Delgado, Karlsruhe, Germany, W TKO 3
11-08 -- Gilberto Williamson, Frankfurt, Germany, W KO 6
10-04 -- Will Hinton, Hannover, Germany, W KO 2
06-14 -- Jimmy Haynes, Aachen, Germany, W TKO 2
05-10 -- Cleveland Woods, Frankfurt, Germany, W KO 2
04-12 -- Derrick Roddy, Aachen, Germany, W TKO 2
03-08 -- Calvin Jones, Cologne, Germany, W KO 1
02-22 -- Troy Roberts, Hamburg, Germany, W KO 2
01-25 -- Mike Acklie, Stuttgart, Germany, W KO 1
12-21 -- Brian Sargent, Frankfurt, Germany, W TKO 2
11-30 -- Frantisek Sumina, Wiener Neustadt, Austria, W TKO 1
11-16 -- Tony Bradham, Hamburg, Germany, W KO 2
Current WBC World Heavyweight Champion
former WBO Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion
former 2-Time European Heavyweight Champion
former WBO World Heavyweight Champion
former WBA International Heavyweight Champion
[Edited on 26-6-2004 by Ocelot]
[Edited on 18-7-2004 by Ocelot]