By: Marc Livitz: Universally recognized heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko and his trainer Emnauel Steward joined members of the boxing media for a international telephone conference call earlier today. The Kiev, Ukraine native is currently the holder of multiple titles across the heavyweight division (IBO, WBO, IBF and WBA Super World) and is set to face former cruiserweight champion and now the current WBA International heavyweight titleholder Jean-Marc Mormeck of Pantin, France this Saturday at the ESPRIT Arena in Dusseldorf, Germany. The heavyweight clash will be the third in as many weeks to be broadcast live in the United States on the EPIX network as well as streamed live via EPIXHD.com
Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions began the teleconference by making an immediate reference to the post fight melee which ensued following Wladmir’s older brother and current WBC Heavyweight champion Vitali’s bout with Englishman Dereck Chisora. Former titlist and fellow countryman David Haye engaged in a brash war of words with Chisora at the post fight press conference, which quickly escalated into a physical altercation. Mr. Loeffler indicated that there perhaps is no such thing as bad press.
“After Vitali’s fight and the fireworks involving Chisora, there were about 5,000 tickets left for this Saturday’s fight. In the two weeks that have passed since, they are all gone. This should be a complete sellout in a soccer stadium configured for 50,000 spectators. We are very excited about this show and we’re looking forward to Wladimir defending all of his titles.”
Wladimir’s Hall of Fame trainer, Emanuel Steward then fielded the first question, which dealt with any possible frustration felt in training camp due to ongoing dominance of the heavyweight ranks by the Klitschko brothers. He sought to reassure those on the line that Mormeck is in no way being taken lightly. Said Steward, “No. Not at all. Mormeck’s style is unlike any other fighter and this is not a total mismatch. He’s a much shorter fighter and he’s uses the bob and weave style, which can be difficult to deal with for tall fighters. The “heads down” fighters are hard to adjust to.
Steward added: Still, yes it’s sometimes frustrating in training because of the comments from the media and fans. So many are saying this fight will be easy, but it won’t. Not to us. Wladimir knows that he must stay in control and remain patient in this systematic style of fight. It feels like a no win situation with us. This guy (Mormeck) has been a world champ and of course, one punch can turn everything around. Corrie (Sanders, who knocked out Klitschko in 2003) was supposed to be a mismatch, but you know what happened there. We don’t expect the fight to be a quick one or two round contest.”
Klitschko himself then made his opening statements. He spoke about the fight having been postponed from December 16th to its current date of March 3rd and how it kept him in a perpetual training camp.
“Hello, everyone. For me, the situation is clear. I’ve been in training for almost sixteen weeks. As you know the fight was moved from December 16th to March 3rd. I had a small break in between and more time to adjust. With Mormeck and I, yes, the body sizes are different and it can make a difference. The shorter and faster guys are not easy. My fight with (Sultan) Ibragimov may have seemed one sided but I couldn’t finish him off. He’ll (Mormeck) try to go the distance and likely create pressure in the first few rounds. I’m expecting a great challenge. In the press workout earlier today, he looked very good but very slow. I don’t expect that to be the case in the ring. We’ll work to create the pressure. I know what to expect and what I need to do.”
Jean-Marc Mormeck will be fighting for the first time since December of 2010 when he climbs into the ring in Germany on Saturday evening. Emanuel Steward feels the Frenchman’s inactivity in the ring can only help the champion. “There’s been no fights in fourteen months for Mormeck. Yes, that will benefit Wladimir. He’s mostly been in training camp for the whole time and he always stays in such good shape. Still, we expect the fight will be difficult for at least the first three rounds.”, he said.
Klitschko briefly spoke about the current state of the heavyweight ranks, the reasons for why he and his brother have found so much success by staging their fights in Europe and the amount of publicity they have received. He also touched on his fondness for America.
“The issues with our division in the states are bad ones right now. I agree with some of the criticism from the media because there have not been many great challengers. However in Europe the people will buy the tickets to see a fight at a soccer stadium and it will broadcast in 150 countries. For my brother and I, the fights are always challenging. For our opponent, it may be the highlight of their career because if they win, then they can win so many titles. So, Mormeck has so much to win and nothing to lose. All of the belts I’ve been collecting - it would be a lot for me to lose. I hope to fight in the states again this year. I’ve missed the training camps that I’ve had in Florida.”
The champion from Kiev, Ukraine further assured everyone that he is in no way overlooking the challenge presented by Mormeck. Klitschko stands at 6’6”, while Mormeck is not quite six feet tall. He stated, “I don’t really see an advantage for me. The shorter guy will try to get closer so the taller guy must keep the distance. You’ll see my strategy on Saturday. I can promise you that Jean-Marc Mormeck will try everything to win this fight. He’s a natural athlete and in great condition. He’ll shoot from all different kids of angles.”
Steward acknowledged the fact that Wladimir and his brother Vitali are not exactly mainstays in the United States, but at the same time stressed just how popular they are throughout the European continent. The legendary trainer commented, “I always get excited about a championship fight. Yes, of course I really wish it could be seen on a major network in America, but EPIX has helped us. This man is the champion and he has about six belts. We all hope that he can fight in the USA soon. Over here (in Europe), their drawing power is incredible. The front page of the newspapers are covered with stories about them. Not the sports section of the paper, but the main section.”
Wladimir Klitschko closed the call in his usual manner of quiet yet effective self-promotion.
“I’ll let my fists talk on Saturday night because I don’t like to talk too much.”
February 29, 2012