Klitschko retains belts after Wach scare11/11/2012 - 10:09:19
Wladimir Klitschko retained his IBF, IBO, WBO and WBA super world heavyweight titles last night, surviving a scare before recording a unanimous points decision over the durable Mariusz Wach in Hamburg.
Klitschko, fighting for the first time without the late revered trainer Manny Steward in his corner, landed at will for nearly five rounds but a huge right hand at the end of the fifth sent the champion reeling into the ropes.
The Ukrainian managed to survive and showed no lasting effects in the sixth before brutally stepping up his punishment of the previously unbeaten Wach.
The scores of 120-107, 120-107 and 119-109 reflected the near-complete domination Klitschko enjoyed in his 13th world title defence.
Tonight marked the first time Klitschko was fighting someone taller than him in the city where he made his professional debut.
However, the real talking point was how he would fare in his first outing since the passing of Steward, who died last month aged 68, with aspiring heavyweight contender Johnathon Banks being appointed as Klitschko's new trainer - for the time being.
Klitschko showed his determination to honour Steward tonight by landing several one-two combinations in the first, with the pattern continuing in the second.
However, Wach attempted to spoil his opponent's work by tying Klitschko up.
The 36-year-old seemed to be in his comfort zone and continued to land the right hand at will in the fourth.
But in the fifth, the challenger brought the crowd to its feet with an overhand right that sent Klitschko into the ropes, although the Ukrainian showed his superior experience by covering up and avoiding any further damage as Wach sloppily went in for the kill.
But Klitschko, who has not been beaten in eight years since being stopped by Lamon Brewster in 2004, did not seem to be affected at the start of the sixth and landed a straight right that temporarily stunned Wach.
The punishment continued in the seventh and Klitschko looked to stop the fight with perhaps only the bell preventing the champion from doing so, with Wach sent into the ropes after yet another right hand.
Wach's lack of defence seemed to prove his undoing and he was heavily beaten in the eighth before Klitschko settled into a rhythm in the ninth.
By the 10th Wach had marks over his eyes and nose and his lack of head movement was giving Klitschko all the encouragement he needed.
Wach did land another rare right in the 11th that opened up a cut on Klitschko's left eye but the champion closed strongly.