By: Marc LivitzL WBC Heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko hosted an international media conference call today to discuss his upcoming bout with England’s Dereck Chisora. The Ukrainian titlist will be making the eighth defense of his title, which he only relinquished in 2004 due to persistent injury concerns. His return to boxing after a four year layoff resulted in an immediate matchup for the WBC crown, which he won by way of an eighth round stoppage of Samuel Peter in October 2008. Much like his brother Wladimir (holder of numerous heavyweight titles), Vitali will once again stage his upcoming fight in his adopted homeland of Germany. The contest with Chisora will take place this Saturday, February 18 at the Olympiahalle Arena in Munich and will be shown live in the United States on the EPIX network (4:30PM ET).
Promoter Tom Loeffler indicated that the fight had just been certified as a sold out event.
“Many people are excited over here in Germany. We had a great turnout of over 1,000 people for an open media workout at a Mercedes Benz dealership in Munich. The Olympiahalle (cap. 12,500) is now completely sold out as of today. Dereck Chisora is a real challenger for the title. Let’s not forget though that Vitali not only wins fights, but he also wins rounds and has a high knockout percentage (93%).”
The reigning WBC Heavyweight king then opened the call to questions from the media. Klitschko stated that he remains confident in his abilities within the ring despite his age (40) and is still eager to face all challengers. His opponent, Londoner Dereck Chisora lost a hotly contested bout via split decision to undefeated Finnish heavyweight Robert Helenius last December.
“I’m a better fighter. He (Chisora) will challenge me. I know that he’s young, aggressive and part of a new generation of fighters. I was impressed by his fight with Helenius and after that one, I told my manager that I’d like to fight him because I need challenges. I cannot fight just anyone. I need a strong challenger and I’ll give him a chance to become a world champion.”, said Klitschko.
The Ukrainian titleholder indicated that his training camp has gone well.
“In this camp, I’ve different sparring partners with different styles and techniques to prepare for whatever Chisora brings.”
One of the more pleasant aspects of the buildup to this fight has been the cordial nature between the two fighters. Klitschko is usually the soft spoken type, which is a far cry from Chisora’s fellow Englishman, former heavyweight champion David Haye. Vitali explained the ease of negotiations with Dereck and why the two got on so well.
“So far, Chisora has been a professional with me and so we made some small talk. He’s different from David Haye. He’s not a loud talker and he understands that this is nothing personal. It’s just business. I’ll save any hostilities for the fight. We’ve just had simple conversations and so that’s why I could smile through all of this.”
Until his fighting days are through, Klitschko is not quite ready to rate his career. The two losses that he carries on his record of (43(40)-2(2)) are a bit deceptive. His first was in April 2000 to American Chris Byrd. He was unable to continue past the ninth round after suffering a shoulder injury in the bout which turned out to be a torn rotator cuff. Vitali was dominating the bout when he had to stop fighting. The second and perhaps more controversial defeat of his career came at the hands of retired English heavyweight legend Lennox Lewis. The two faced off in June of 2003 in Los Angeles, California. A grotesque gash over the left eye of Klitschko (the result of the thumb portion of Lewis’s glove being raked across his eyebrow) caused the fight to be halted after six rounds. Vitali was ahead on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage. As a result, his two losses are both registered as knockouts.