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20 APRIL 2014

 

Klitschko Dominates Chagaev In Germany


Wladimir Klitschko wins
Wladimir Klitschko wins

By Michael Norby: IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko can now add the coveted Ring Magazine title to his trophy case, the first time since 2004 that award has been claimed, after he punished previously undefeated Uzbeki southpaw Ruslan Chagaev on his way to a tenth round TKO victory on Saturday night at Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

Klitschko 53-3 (47) had been preparing to fight a much different style of heavyweight until Britain’s David Haye pulled out a fortnight ago through injury. The big Ukrainian made a seamless adjustment this evening, however, and, in front of an incredible 60,000 fans, he totally controlled proceedings with his jab and piercing right hand until a bloodied Chagaev 25-1-1 (17) was told by the ring doctor to remain on his stool before the start of the tenth round.

WBA champion in recess Chagaev – his confusing title not at stake this evening – has been battling an onslaught of illness and injury over the last year or so and looked less than stellar against his last two opponents. Clearly not the same fighter that so skillfully grasped his world title from the waist of Nikolai Valuev a couple of years ago, Chagaev had zero answer to Klitschko’s brilliance and looked more disgusted at himself than at the wise physician after the call was made.

Klitschko immediately started to measure his opponent with his long left jab as both men circled the ring to begin the first round. Chagaev was the first to mount an assault, however, albeit a sloppy one as he forced Klitschko backwards with a combination to the body. The undefeated southpaw scored with another pair of shots downstairs in the final minute but, in an otherwise yawn inducing opening round, the best shot of the three minutes was thrown by Klitschko in the closing stages – a straight right hand hidden perfectly behind his jab.

That jab began to land consistently and with force in the second and Chagaev was unable to find a path to the inside as the big Ukrainian controlled the round almost exclusively with that punch. When Chagaev did charge inside he was brushed aside by cheeky left hooks and, midway through the round, the WBA champion hit the deck after another big right hand found its target. It was a flash knockdown but, even at this early stage, it was apparent that Chagaev would struggle to cope with Klitschko’s mastery from distance.

This was a typically focused and patient Klitschko and he continued to zero in with those straight right hands in the third with Chagaev reduced to a circling, shoulder rolling peek-a-boo defense in the center of the ring. The 30-year-old just could not find a way inside and the constant flow of jabs and searing right hands had already begun to welt his face as Klitschko confidently pocketed another lop-sided round.

The dominance continued in the fourth and fifth rounds as Klitschko gradually but effectively chipped the bark off of Chagaev’s defense with each right hand that split the guard. The 33-year-old hammered away at his opponent with little or nothing coming back his way and, although it wasn’t exciting to watch, Klitschko was solid and he showcased to all who elected to watch the fight why he is considered the most skillful heavyweight in the world today.

Chagaev managed to land a scattering of punches to the body of his man in the sixth and he absorbed a little less punishment as he ducked under a lot of what Klitschko threw at him. Even though he still clearly lost the round, it was perhaps a small victory for his wounded psyche. He was not allowed to build on that success, however, as Klitschko returned to total dominance in the seventh and eighth by forcing that right hand consistently into the dial of Chagaev – opening a jagged gash above the left eye of the weather damaged fighter.

With a dispirited and beaten fighter in front of him, Klitschko stepped it up a gear in the ninth – trapping his man against the ropes in the second half of the frame before unleashing thunderous punches against the bloodied face of a stunned Chagaev. The Uzbeki fighter heard the bell on his feet but, between rounds, the ring doctor consulted with his corner and instructed referee Eddie Cotton to stop the fight.


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