There will be a host of heavyweight belts up for grabs in Hamburg, Germany on Nov. 10 when 36-year-old Wladimir Klitschko puts his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles on the line against Mariusz Wach of Poland.
This will be the Ukrainian heavyweight champion’s 22nd world title bout and he’s dedicating it to his former trainer Emmanuel Steward, who passed away at the age of 68 last week.
Steward and Klitschko work together for the past nine years and the trainer lost his battle with cancer on Oct. 24 in Detroit, his hometown. Klitschko said he plans in defending the titles he won with Steward and will never forget him.
The 32-year-old Wach actually has a height advantage over the champion, which is quite rare, since he stands 6-feet 7.5-inches and has an 82-inch reach. Klitschko stands 6-foot-6 with an 81-inch reach but has a decided edge over his unbeaten opponent when it comes to skill and experience.
Wach has a fine record of 27-0 with 15 knockouts, but they have mostly been wins over journeymen boxers. Klitschko enters the ring with a record 58-3 with 50 KOs and has taken on some of the best heavyweights of his era.
Wach’s only well-known opponent may very well be Kevin McBride, who he beat by a fourth-round KO last year. McBride was famous for beating former champion Mike Tyson by a sixth-round TKO in 2005.
Wach’s opponents since turning pro in 2005 include the likes of Tye Fields, Galen Brown, Jason Gavern, Julius Long and Arthur Cook. To say that Wach is taking a huge step up in class is the understatement of the year.
Wach definitely has the size to pull off an upset, but he’ll have to catch Klitschko cold on the chin to do so. Of course, it’s always a possibility, but highly unlikely. Wach said he’s ready for the bout and will give it everything he has.
However, all of Klitschko’s other victim have entered the ring saying the same thing. Still, it will be interesting to see how the champion performs without the fatherly guidance of Steward in his corner. There’s no doubt he’ll be sorely missed and Klitschko will be fighting with a heavy heart.
Wach has some power in his right hand and Klitschko will have to neutralize it during the bout at the World Arena. The champion’s chin is somewhat suspect and he could be in trouble if Wach truly has some pop in his punches. Klitschko will need to keep the challenger at distance with his jab and make sure he lands first with his strong right hand. Wach also needs to jab and throw left hooks when possible.
Klitschko knows what he has to do to be successful and it’s doubtful that he’ll stray from his usual way of boxing. This means he’ll be patient and stay away from a slugfest while picking his spots with the right hand. The champion will have Jonathon Banks, one of his sparring partners in his corner in replace of Steward, and Banks will need to keep Klitschko on his game plan.
Klitschko may be a bit robotic, but he’s quite intelligent and has excellent power. His weak spot is his chin, but if it holds up there’s almost no chance of him being out boxed by Wach.
The Polish challenger’s best chance of winning is to attack the champion every chance he gets and hope to land a solid shot flush on his jaw. It’s hard to see that happening though and look Klitschko should end this fight any time after the fifth round by a stoppage.
The latest odds at Bet365 have Klitschko favored to win the bout at -3300 with Wach listed at +900.