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Klitschko victorious in U.S. return, eyes Tyson Fury next!
Unified IBF/WBA/WBO and IBO/Ring Magazine heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (64-3, 53 KOs) retained his title for the 18th consecutive time by defeating previously unbeaten IBF mandatory challenger Bryant Jennings (19-1, 10 KOs), via 12-round unanimous decision on Saturday. More than 17,000 spectators packed Madison Square Garden in New York to witness Klitschko’s first fight in the United States in more than seven years. HBO televised what was clearly a ‘Garden Party’ to celebrate Klitschko’s return.
The judges scored the contest 116-111 (twice) and 118-109. It was only the seventh time in his career that that one of Klitschko’s 67 professional fights entered lasted into the twelfth round.
Klitschko’s March 2010 title defense against Eddie Chambers ended in a spectacular knockout with less than 10 seconds remaining in the twelfth and round.
“He was really mobile and it was really tough to hit him,” said Klitschko. “Jennings was challenging. He was trying in his own way and I need to give respect for that. But there were no questions at the end of a 12-round fight who was the winner.”
Klitschko, who also believed that he could have done better, was impressed with Jennings’ strategy of using head-movement and trying to take the fight to Klitschko by being aggressive. Jennings, instead of being a sitting duck, did a great job of blocking Klitschko’s right hand by using his gloves to protect himself and simply moving around the ring. Klitschko had to work to hunt Jennings down and was surprised by Jennings’ surges late in the fight. In the end, however, Klitschko, once again, was the most dominant force in the squared circle on fight-night.
The bout was Klitschko’s fourth at Madison Square Garden in his career. In 2000 on the Lennox Lews vs. Michael Grant HJBO Pay-Per-View undercard, Klitschko impressed everyone by knocking out David Bostice impressively.
In November 2006, Klitschko, making the first defense of the IBF heavyweight championship he won by knocking out Chris Byrd earlier that year, knocked out unbeaten Calvin Brock (KO 7).
In February 2008, Klitschko unified the IBF/WBO heavyweight championships by out-boxing tough southpaw Sultan Ibragimov in what was a dominant, but unspectacular fight for Klitschko. The 6’ 7,” 245-pound Klitschko was walking down a 6’ 2,” 217-pounder who simply didn’t want to engage.
Since then Klitschko, along with his older brother Vitali Klitschko fought mainly in Germany. They simultaneously held the world heavyweight championship until Vitali, the WBC champion, retired last year to pursure a career in Ukraian politics. It remains debatable whether Klitschko will pursue a fight with current WBC champion Deontay Wilder in the future, but there is talk of an interest in fighting unbeaten Tyson Fury (24-0, 18 KOs) of Britain this summer.
“The way it looks, Tyson Fury is going to be my next challenger,” Klitschko said.
Fury, at 6’ 9,” 275 pounds, figure to present Klitschko with perhaps the most dangerous challenge of his career because of his size and strength. Fury, the No. 1-ranked WBA contender, deserves the opportunity to fight Klitschko. He won the British and European heavyweight titles and has defeated the likes of Dereck Chisora (twice), Steve Cunningham, Vinny Maddalone, Christian Hammer, and Martin Rogan. Fury can box well, he can punch, and he has a potty-mouth that makes you want to see him back-up all his trash-talking. Thus far, Tyson Fury has been able to back-up everything he says.
Fury said in a statement relased by promoter Frank Warren: “Again, Klitschko did what he had to do against Jennings and won. It was the same as it always is though, the smaller man trying to get inside Klitschko’s jab with him holding and leaning, although he was slightly more aggressive against Jennings.
“Lets see him try that against someone who’s the same size as he is, younger, stronger, fitter, faster and with a knockout punch – Me,” Fury said.