Wladimir Klitschko

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Wladimir Klitschko
Klitschko-gesf-2018-7931 (cropped).jpg
Klitschko in 2017
Born (1976-03-25) 25 March 1976 (age 44)
Partner(s)Hayden Panettiere (2009–2011; 2013–2018)
Boxing career
Nickname(s)Dr. Steelhammer
Height1.98 m (6 ft 6 in)[1]
Reach206 cm (81 in)[2]
Boxing record
Total fights69
Wins by KO53
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata

Wladimir Wladimirovitsch Klitschko[a] (Ukrainian: Володимир Володимирович Кличко, born 25 March 1976) is a Ukrainian former professional boxer who competed from 1996 to 2017. He held the world heavyweight championship twice, including the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, and Ring magazine titles. A strategic and intelligent boxer, Klitschko is considered to be one of the best heavyweight champions of all time.[3][4][5][6] He was known for his exceptional knockout power, using a strong jab, straight right hand and left hook, as well as great footwork and mobility, unusual for boxers of his size.[7][8][9][10]

As an amateur, Klitschko represented Ukraine at the 1996 Olympics, winning a gold medal in the super-heavyweight division. After turning professional later that year, he defeated Chris Byrd in 2000 to win the WBO heavyweight title. Klitschko's first reign as champion ended in an upset knockout loss to Corrie Sanders in 2003, which was followed by another knockout shock loss to Lamon Brewster in 2004. It was during this time that Klitschko hired Emanuel Steward as his trainer, which began an eight-year partnership that lasted until Steward's death in 2012. In particular, Steward was credited with Klitschko's transition from an aggressive puncher to a more defensively-oriented boxer, much as he had done with Lennox Lewis in 1995 to 2003.

In 2006, Klitschko regained a portion of the world heavyweight championship after defeating Chris Byrd in a rematch to win the IBF and IBO titles. He won the WBO title for a second time by defeating Sultan Ibragimov in 2008. Following his defeat of Ruslan Chagaev in 2009, Klitschko was awarded The Ring title, and lastly he won the WBA title from David Haye in 2011. In September 2015, Klitschko was ranked as the world's best active boxer, pound for pound, by BoxRec; in November 2014, he reached a career peak of second best on The Ring's pound for pound list. After defeating Alexander Povetkin in October 2013 and until his loss to Tyson Fury in November 2015, Klitschko was recognized as the lineal champion by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board,[11] while the WBA recognised him as one of its "Super champions", a distinction given to boxers who hold that title in addition to those by other sanctioning bodies in the same division. During Klitschko's reign as world heavyweight champion, his fights drew an estimated 300–500 million viewers worldwide.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19] Klitschko has reportedly earned €150 million (cca $200 million) during his professional career.[20][21][22]

Klitschko holds the record for the longest cumulative heavyweight title reign of all time, with 4,382 days as world heavyweight champion.[23][24][25][26] Wladimir has defeated 23 opponents for the world heavyweight championship, more than any other heavyweight in history.[25][26][24][23][27] In 2011, Wladimir and his brother Vitali entered the Guinness World Records book as the pair of brothers with most world heavyweight title fight wins (30 at the time; 40 as of 2020).[28][29] From 2004 to 2015, Wladimir and Vitali (himself a former world heavyweight champion) dominated heavyweight boxing, a period typically known as the "Klitschko Era" of the division.[30][31]

Early life[edit]

Klitschko was born in Semipalatinsk (now Semey), Kazakh SSR, Soviet Union (now Kazakhstan).[32][33][34] His father, Vladimir Rodionovic Klitschko (1947–2011), was a Soviet Air Force major general and a military attaché of Ukraine in Germany; he was also one of the commanders in charge of cleaning up the effects of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 and was afterward diagnosed with cancer. Wladimir's mother is Nadezhda Ulyanovna. He is the younger brother of former WBC, WBO and Ring magazine heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, the current Mayor of Kyiv.[35]

Amateur career[edit]

Klitschko started training in amateur boxing with Brovary Olympic Reserve School in the late 1980s. In the early 1990s, Klitschko was coached in Poland's Gwardia Warszawa boxing club, where, according to Jerzy Kulej, "He and his brother used to demolish our boys."[36] In 1993, he won the Junior European Championships as a heavyweight. In 1994, he received 2nd place at the Junior World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, losing to Cuban Michel López Núñez in the finals.[37] In 1995, he won the gold medal at the Military Championships in Ariccia, Italy, defeating Luan Krasniqi, who he had lost to in the third round of the World Championships in Berlin, Germany earlier that year. In 1996, he captured 2nd place as a Super Heavyweight at the European Championships in Vejle, Denmark losing to Alexei Lezin in the finals. He defeated Lezin later that year in the semi finals at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.[38] He had an amateur record of 134–6.[39]

He first achieved world attention at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. He defeated Paea Wolfgramm to win the Super-Heavyweight gold medal.


Below are the notable achievements of Wladimir Klitschko in amateur boxing:[40]

He is announced as "Dr. Steelhammer", a nickname similar to his brother, Vitali, who goes by "Dr. Ironfist." Both brothers hold PhDs[41][42] in sports science.[43]

Professional career[edit]

"Vladimir hits very hard, harder than (Mike) Tyson. At one point, they ran 12 800-meter [roughly a half mile] sprints, each under 3 minutes, with a minute rest between each one. I timed every one and every one was under 3 minutes. I never saw a heavyweight do anything even close to that. They work their asses off. To be able to do that, two 250-pound guys – whew. They're two of the best athletes I've ever trained."

Freddie Roach, who trained both the Klitschko brothers and Mike Tyson, on the athleticism of the brothers.[44]

Early career[edit]

Klitschko turned professional with Universum Box-Promotion in Hamburg under the tutelage of Fritz Sdunek, often being featured on fight cards alongside his elder brother Vitali. After building an undefeated record of 24–0 with 21 KOs, he suffered his first loss to 24–13–1 Ross Puritty, in what was Klitschko's first and only professional fight in Ukraine. Puritty forced Klitschko, who had at that time not gone beyond eight rounds, to punch himself out. Klitschko began to be overwhelmed in the tenth round and went down twice but was allowed to continue. At the start of the eleventh round, with Puritty continuing to land hard punches, Klitschko's trainer, Fritz Sdunek, entered the ring and stopped the fight.[45] Three years later, Klitschko's brother Vitali stopped Puritty in the eleventh round himself. On 18 March 2000, Klitschko fought Paea Wolfgramm, whom he fought previously in the 1996 super-heavyweight Olympic finals. In their professional rematch, Klitschko knocked Wolfgramm out in the first round.

Klitschko vs. Byrd, Jefferson, Shufford[edit]

Wladimir Klitschko got his chance to fight for the world heavyweight championship on 14 October 2000 against WBO champion Chris Byrd. Byrd, considered one of the most avoided fighters in the heavyweight division at the time,[46][47] won the title six months earlier on 1 April from Wladimir's brother Vitali (who had a perfect record of 27 fights, 27 wins, 27 KOs coming into the fight),[46][48] being a late replacement for Donovan Ruddock. In that fight, Byrd was trailing on the scorecards (83–88, 83–88, & 82–89) but was declared the winner after Vitali retired on his stool between 9th and 10th rounds due to shoulder injury.[46] Byrd's title defence against Wladimir was scheduled to take place at Kölnarena in Cologne and was billed as "Revenge Of The Brother".[49] Wladimir won the WBO world heavyweight title from Byrd by a wide unanimous decision (UD) with scores of 120–106, 119–107, and 118–108, flooring his opponent twice.[50]

Klitschko's first defence of the WBO title came on 24 March 2001 against Derrick Jefferson. Jefferson, regarded as a big and athletic brawler and a fan-friendly attraction,[51] was coming into the bout with a record of 23 wins in 26 bouts, with 19 of those wins coming inside the distance (18 of them inside the first three rounds, 11 of them - in the first round).[52][53] Jefferson was mostly known for the sixth-round knockout (KO) of Maurice Harris, which was named The Ring Knockout of the Year in 1999. He was 4–2 in the last six fights, losing by technical knockout (TKO) to David Izon, in a fight he was winning on the scorecards but punched himself out,[54] and Oleg Maskaev in round four after breaking an ankle during a first knockdown in the first round.[55]

For the bout, Jefferson weighed in at 260.25 lbs, the heaviest in his professional career and 20 pounds heavier than in his previous bout.[53] The additional weight appeared to be muscle.[56] The fight lasted only two rounds. In the first round, Klitschko knocked Jefferson down with a short left hook. After the first round Jefferson's left eye was swollen.[56][57] Klitschko knocked him down twice more in round two, once with a straight right hand and again with another left hook, with the fight being stopped after the last knockdown, declaring Klitschko the winner by TKO in the second round. Klitschko earned $1 million for the fight.[57]

Klitschko's next title defence was scheduled less than five months later on 4 August 2001. The fight took place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Paradise, Nevada against hometown fighter, Charles Shufford. At the time, Shufford had a 17–1 record, coming off of wins against Jimmy Thunder and Lamon Brewster.[58] Shufford weighed in at 234 lbs., 17 pounds lighter than in his previous bout.[59] Shufford, having played George Foreman opposite Will Smith in the movie Ali, entered the ring with Smith by his side.[60] Klitschko knocked Shufford down three times, once in round two, once in round three (both times with a straight right hand) and in round six with a left hook, with referee stopping the bout after the third knockdown. According to punch stats, Klitschko landed 58 of 262 punches (22%) and Shufford connected on 16 of 190 (8%).[61]

Klitschko vs. Botha, Mercer, McCline[edit]

Klitschko returned to Germany for the next defence of his WBO title against Francois Botha. The fight took place at Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle in Stuttgart, the same venue where Botha had fought Axel Schulz for the IBF title six years earlier, in the most watched boxing match in German TV history.[62][63] According to Botha's coach Abel Sanchez, Botha was in the best shape of his career.[64] The South African contender was game in the opening rounds, trying to catch Klitschko with the right hook, but Klitschko was successfully keeping him at the end of his jab.[64] In the eighth round, Klitschko caught him with a counter right hand and then hit Botha with several shots, knocking him down with a left hook. Botha got up, but was unsteady on his feet and had both eyes swollen, proceeding the referee to stop the bout.[64][65]

Klitschko had his next title defence scheduled three months later, on 29 June 2002 at Etess Arena in Atlantic City, New Jersey, against former WBO heavyweight champion Ray Mercer. It was the first time in his professional career that Klitschko fought an Olympic Gold medalist. 41-year old Mercer, having fought Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield throughout his career, was expected to be a tough challenge for Klitschko that would give him and Lennox Lewis, the WBC and The Ring champion, a second common opponent (along with Francois Botha) and a bout comparable to Lewis vs. Tyson.[66][67] During the build-up to the bout, Mercer referred to Klitschko as "Russian Tommy Morrison".[67] Since his comeback in 2001, Mercer had won four fights over journeymen, three of them inside two rounds, prior to the Klitschko bout.[68]

Klitschko dominated Mercer throughout the entire bout, stopping Mercer in the sixth round. At 2:48 of the first round, Klitschko dropped Mercer with a left hook, becoming only the second man to drop Mercer.[66] Throughout the fight, Klitschko was frequently landing combinations of stiff left jabs, left hooks, and straight right hands. By the fifth round, Mercer's face was swollen and his right eye was cut.[66] In the sixth, Klitschko unleashed a barrage of punches, prompting the referee to stop the bout. Klitschko became the first fighter to defeat Mercer inside the distance.[66] According to CompuBox statistics, Klitschko landed 193 total punches out of 429 thrown (104 power punches out of 167), while Mercer landed 54 shots out of 124 (only 5 power punches landed out of 10 thrown).[66]

Klitschko returned to Mandalay Bay Event Center for his sixth defence on 7 December 2002 against Jameel McCline. McCline, having made his professional boxing debut in 1995, became an established contender after defeating Michael Grant, knocking him down with the first punch thrown and ultimately stopping him in 43 seconds.[69][70] Prior to fighting Klitschko, McCline had defeated two more heavyweight contenders, Lance Whitaker and Shannon Briggs, by wide unanimous decisions.[69] Being 6 ft 6 in tall with an 82 in reach, McCline was of similar height and longer reach than Klitschko,[71] while also being 22 lbs heavier.[69] Many opinion polls gave Klitschko a 60–40 advantage over McCline.[72] The fight was the main event of the card that also featured Floyd Mayweather Jr. defending the WBC lightweight title against Jose Luis Castillo.[73][74]

The fight turned out to be tentative, with Klitschko winning almost every round using his jab and superior footwork. At the end of the tenth round, Klitschko staggered McCline with a barrage of left hooks and overhand rights, and ultimately knocked him down with a left-right combination.[72] Before the start of the eleventh round, McCline's corner threw in the towel, giving Klitschko his 36th career win by stoppage.[72] At the time of the stoppage, the scorecards were 98–91, 99–90 (twice), all in favor of the champion.[72] CompuBox stats showed that Klitschko landed 181 of his 433 punches thrown (42%), and McCline landed 61 of 307 (20%).[74]

The following week after Klitschko's win over McCline, Chris Byrd, whom Klitschko defeated for the WBO world title, beat Evander Holyfield to become IBF world champion.[75]

Klitschko vs. Sanders, Brewster[edit]

Klitschko in 2004

Klitschko suffered an upset TKO loss to Corrie Sanders on 8 March 2003 in Hanover, Germany. Sanders dropped Klitschko twice in the opening round and scored two more knockdowns in the second round before the bout was stopped by the official. The fight was named The Ring magazine Upset of the Year for 2003.[76]

After winning two minor bouts in Germany and enlisting the services of legendary boxing trainer Emanuel Steward, Klitschko again fought for the vacant WBO title on 10 April 2004, in Las Vegas, against Lamon Brewster. Klitschko dominated Brewster through the course of the first four rounds, sending him to the canvas in the fourth;[77] however, things turned around in the fifth when Klitschko began tiring and Brewster's punches began backing him up. Not defending himself and leaning into ropes for support, Klitschko took a standing eight count. On unsteady legs, Klitschko fell to the canvas after the bell and the referee stopped the fight for his safety.[78]

Shortly after the fight Klitschko was rushed into hospital. The examination showed Klitschko's blood sugar level almost two times higher than the permissible norm. According to members of Klitschko's team, the doctor told them that Klitschko had been "inches away" from falling into diabetic coma, and that with blood sugar level that high, Klitschko would've been incapable of handling a single proper training session.[79][80][81][82] After returning from the examination to the hotel, he fell ill with nausea, followed by physical weakness.[83] On 12 April, he arrived in Las Vegas and donated blood and urine samples for an independent examination, which was supposed to be done by Donald Katlin, who specialized in such cases. The examination showed no signs of anabolic steroids in his blood, but Katlin suggested that Klitschko could have been poisoned with Haloperidol. The drug has no taste or smell and causes mental disorders, which are accompanied by impaired coordination, a weakening reaction and overall physical weakness.[84][85] Following the results, Klitschko demanded the tests taken by the Medical Center of South Nevada and the Nevada Quest Diagnostics to be passed on to Dr. Robert Wow for further research, but the A sample had already been disposed of, while the B sample, which was supposed to be stored for years, disappeared.[79][83][86] Dr Margaret Goodman, the chairwoman of the Nevada State Athletic Commission's medical advisory board and Nevada's chief ringside physician was in the ring and attending to Klitschko seconds after the referee stopped the fight. Her initial diagnosis of a Grade 3 concussion was confirmed at the hospital after further tests. Goodman was skeptical of the theory that Klitschko had been drugged.[86]

As a result of the circumstances that surrounded the fight, FBI started an investigation.[77] Judd Bernstein, the lawyer representing Klitschko, suggested that he was a victim of an ongoing fight fixing in Las Vegas (which also included fraudulent medical reports), which was investigated by FBI at the time.[87] Bernstein, along with some other journalists, pointed out that in the last 48 hours before the beginning of the fight, the betting odds in favor of Klitschko rapidly dropped from 11-to-1 to 3,5-to-1.[88][89][80][90] Some observers believed that such a massive drop in betting odds was due to Don King betting a large sum on Brewster's victory, however these speculations were never confirmed.[77] Members of Klitschko's team also pointed out that shortly before the fight, a security camera recorded a moment when two people entered the Klitschko's booth and were there for four minutes. These people had badges, but weren't members of Wladimir's team.[80][91] Wladimir's brother Vitali claimed that during registration of the boxer and his team, the card that belonged to Emmanuel Steward's assistant had already been registered on someone else, and that such card would allow its owner to enter any sporting hall in the building.[88][79]

After the fight, Wladimir's cutman Joe Souza was fired. During the fight, Souza used vaseline on Wladimir's face but also body, which had never been done in any of Klitschko's previous fights. As a replacement, the team hired Jacob "Stitch" Duran.[79][92][81]

Klitschko vs. Williamson, Castillo, Peter[edit]

Following his loss to Brewster, Klitschko began his journey back towards the top of the heavyweight division. First, he faced hard-hitting DaVarryl Williamson.[93] The fight took place at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.[94] Williamson dropped Klitschko forty seconds into the second round, but was outboxed throughout the rest of the bout.[93] An accidental head butt in the closing seconds of the fifth round caused Klitschko bleeding from a cut above his right eye. Due to the cut, the fight was prematurely stopped, with Klitschko being declared the winner by technical decision. Two of the judges scored the fight identically 49–46 in favor of Klitschko, while the third judge had Williamson winning 48–47.[95][96]

After defeating Eliseo Castillo by fourth-round TKO, Klitschko signed to fight Samuel Peter in an IBF and WBO eliminator. Coming into the bout, Klitschko was viewed by many as the underdog[97] against the 7-to-5 favorite Peter who had won all of his 24 fights, with 21 of them having ended inside the distance. At the time, Samuel Peter was considered one of the brightest prospects in the heavyweight division. Distinguished boxing coaches Angelo Dundee and Teddy Atlas expected Peter to win.[98][99] Wladimir's team, including his brother Vitali, were worried about Wladimir, and were against this fight to happen. Wladimir, however, insisted on fighting Peter, claiming that beating a feared, hard-hitting fighter like Samuel Peter would help him to regain his stock and become mandatory challenger for two heavyweight belts.[100][101]

The first four rounds were tentative, with Klitschko working behind the jab, not allowing Peter to close the distance. At the end of the third, Peter staggered Klitschko with a powerful left hook. He hurt Klitschko again in the fifth with another left hook, sending Klitschko to the canvas with the rabbit punch. The referee counted it as the knockdown. Peter immediately went for the attack after Klitschko got up, dropping him again with the rabbit punch. The referee scored it as the second knockdown.[102] Klitschko regained composure and outboxed Peter through sixth to ninth rounds, with Peter frequently trying to hit Klitschko with the rabbit punch whenever escaping from a clinch.[102][103] Near the end of the tenth round Peter staggered Wladimir with a hard right hand, eventually sending Klitschko to the canvas with another right when Wladimir was backing away. In the 11th and 12th rounds, Klitschko was trying to keep Peter at the distance using straight punches. Peter caught him with a left hook in the last round, but was unable to capitalize on it. Instead, Klitschko caught him with a hard counter left hook of his own, staggering Peter for the first time in the fight.[102][103] Eventually the bout went the distance, with Klitschko winning the fight by clear unanimous decision (UD). All the judges scored the bout identically 114–111.[99][104]

Klitschko vs. Byrd II, Brock, Austin[edit]

On 22 April 2006, in Mannheim, Germany, Klitschko faced Chris Byrd for a second time, this time for the IBF heavyweight title. At the time of the bout, Byrd was ranked as the best heavyweight by The Ring, while Klitschko was ranked eighth.[105] Coming into the fight, Klitschko was viewed as the favorite. Many observers expected Klitschko to dominate Byrd similarly to their first bout.[106]

April 22nd, 2006 may be one of the most momentous dates in the history of boxing. On that day, Wladimir Klitschko of Ukraine will most likely easily defeat Chris Byrd of the United States for Byrd’s IBF heavyweight title. If that result occurs, it may mark the dawning of a new era in boxing. Three of the four major titlists will be from Eastern Europe. Like the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina that swept away much of New Orleans, a rising tidal wave of Eastern European fighters threatens to sweep away American supremacy in the heavyweight division, putting an end to an era that began with the reign of John L. Sullivan — 124 years ago.

(John Hively, boxingscene.com[107])

Klitschko defeated Byrd by TKO in the seventh round, becoming a two-time heavyweight world champion in the process. Klitschko dominated the fight using his jab and superior reach, knocking Byrd down twice, once in round five and once in round seven. Byrd beat the count after the second knockdown, but his face was battered and bloody, and the fight was waved off.[108] At the time of the stoppage, judge Roy Francis had the challenger winning every round, while two other judges, Steve Epstein and Robert Hoyle, gave Klitschko all but one round.[109]

He made his first title defence on 11 November 2006, defeating then-undefeated heavyweight contender Calvin Brock. The fight took place at Madison Square Garden.[110] In the opening rounds, Brock's economical but effective movement made Klitschko reluctant to throw punches, with Wladimir not being able to fully establish his rhythm.[111] In between the third and fourth rounds, Klitschko's trainer Emmanuel Steward urged Wladimir to press the action. Klitschko started fighting more aggressively, hurting Brock several times with the right cross. In the fifth round, Brock opened a cut under Klitschko's left eye that started bleeding heavily in the sixth. In the seventh round, Wladimir caught Brock with a counter right hand before sending him to the canvas with another straight right.[111][112] Brock was able to get up but was unsteady on his feet, prompting the referee to stop the bout.[111][112]

Klitschko then defeated mandatory challenger Ray Austin on 10 March 2007, at the SAP Arena in Mannheim, Germany by a second-round KO with four consecutive left hooks to Austin's head. Klitschko did not throw a single right hand in that fight.[113]

Klitschko vs. Brewster II, Ibragimov, Thompson[edit]

Klitschko then avenged one of his previous losses as he defeated Lamon Brewster on 7 July 2007, in Cologne, Germany. Brewster's corner asked the referee to stop the fight at the end of the sixth round. It was later revealed that Klitschko fought most of the fight with a broken middle finger on his left hand.[114]

By the end of October 2007, Wladimir Klitschko started negotiations with then-WBO world heavyweight champion Sultan Ibragimov about the unification showdown in the near future. This would be the first heavyweight unification fight since 13 November 1999 when WBC champion Lennox Lewis defeated then-WBA and IBF champion Evander Holyfield.[115][116] On 20 November, Klitschko and Ibragimov officially signed the contract for their unification clash to take place on 23 February 2008 at Madison Square Garden.[117] Two days later in Moscow, a first pre-fight press-conference was held.[118] Klitschko began his preparations for the fight on 18 December. His training camp was located between Santa Monica, Los Angeles and Palm Beach, Florida.[119] Ibragimov began his preparations for the bout on 25 December. Among Ibragimov's sparring partners were Klitschko's former opponent Jameel McCline and Swedish heavyweight prospect Attila Levin.[120][121]

In the pre-fight prediction, a vast majority of Ukrainian, Russian and American observers expected Klitschko to win by either stoppage or unanimous decision. Out of six journalists of the Ukrainian magazine Ring, five predicted Klitschko to stop Ibragimov, with only one expecting Klitschko to win by decision. 24 of 26 members of boxingscene.com expected Klitschko to come out as the winner – 18 of them predicted the win to come by way of KO/TKO, one expert predicted decision, while the remaining five were unsure about either possibility. The remaining two experts predicted Ibragimov to win by decision. 10 of the 12 members of ringsidereport.com picked Klitschko to win, with eight of them expecting the victory to come by way of KO/TKO. The remaining two picked Ibragimov to win by stoppage.[122] In the build-up to the fight, Klitschko's trainer Emmanuel Steward said that Sultan Ibragimov was going to be Wladimir's toughest opponent to date, praising Ibragimov for his hand speed and mobility, while Klitschko complimented Ibragimov on his accomplishments: "Sultan Ibragimov is a boxer that hasn't lost in any of his 23 fights, with the sole draw being against Ray Austin. His amateur career can be described as fantastic, and the fact that he's the heavyweight champion of the world speaks volumes about his professional career as well. I think he's a strong and dangerous opponent that should not be underestimated. His last two fights against Shannon Briggs and Evander Holyfield proved that."[123] Ibragimov's trainer Jeff Mayweather was confident that Ibragimov would be able to establish his rhythm and "press Klitschko to the corner".[124] The pre-fight build-up was marked with controversy after Ibragimov's manager Boris Grinberg insulted Klitschko during one of the interviews: "Sultan Ibragimov knocks out this Ukraine gay, motherf***er!". Grinberg later apologized to Klitschko.[125] The day before the bout, Klitschko weighed in at 238 pounds (108 kg), the lightest since 1999,[126] while Ibragimov's weight was 219 pounds (99 kg), his lightest since 2005.[127]

From the opening bell, both fighters fought tentatively, avoiding risks. Klitschko retreated onto the outside, fighting at a distance and remaining unattainable for Ibragimov who tried to establish his right jab but had his right hand constantly pushed down by Klitschko. By the end of the opening round, Klitschko became more active with his jab, while Ibragimov unsuccessfully tried to catch Wladimir with a series of right and left hooks. By the third round, Klitschko took control of the center of the ring, keeping Ibragimov at the end of his left jab and occasionally throwing right jabs as well.[128] In the fifth round, Klitschko caught Ibragimov with a straight right hand, however Ibragimov appeared to be unhurt. Most of Ibragimov's attempts to close the distance ended with Klitschko tying him up. In the second half of the fight, the situation did not change, with Klitschko keeping Ibragimov at the distance with straight shots, while Ibragimov was only able to occasionally catch Klitschko with single shots to the body. Ibragimov's corner was almost silent from the sixth round onwards, unable to give their man any meaningful advice.[129] Klitschko's dominance became even more visible after he caught Ibragimov with a straight right in round nine, almost knocking him down. He caught Ibragimov again with a counter left hook in the at the end of the eleventh. The twelfth round saw Ibragimov unsuccessfully trying to catch Klitschko with overhand shots. Ultimately, the fight went the distance, with Klitschko being declared the winner by unanimous decision. The judges scored the bout 119–110, 117–111 and 118–110.[130][131][132] "We were very well prepared for the fight, our game plan was built around counterpunching, and I was patiently waiting for Klitschko to throw the straight right hand", Ibragimov said in an interview, "But credit to him and his trainer Emmanuel Steward, for the first seven rounds Klitschko did not throw a single right hand. Basically, Klitschko's team prepared Wladimir to keep the fight away from tight quarters. And when the opponent doesn't want to fight aggressively and has a big advantage in height and reach, his job is a lot easier. In the middle of the fight I realized that I had already lost."[133] Klitschko reportedly earned $9 million for the fight.[20][21] He donated $500,000 of his earnings to the Bronx's Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.[134]

The fight was heavily criticized by observers and prominent boxing public figures.[135][136] Boxing promoter Bob Arum called the fight "an absolute shame",[137] while Dan Goossen described it as "awful".[138] Boxing journalist Phil Santos pointed out that Klitschko fought for the majority of the fight "only with his left hand", proving once again that he "is the best heavyweight in the world right now". Santos also noted that such cautious, safety-first style was not going to help Klitschko to increase his popularity in the United States.[139] Some observers were more apologetic of Klitschko's performance: "It's really irritating that so many people, people that know very little about boxing, say that Klitschko's dominance means stagnation for the heavyweight division. There's no denying that once Klitschko collects all the belts, he will go down as one of the all-time greats. Yes, he fights cautiously and isn't willing to exchange shots, but who told us that greatness in boxing is measured with the number of knockdowns? Why the boxer that is able to not get hit with a hard shot over the course of twelve rounds is less great than the champions from the past that sacrificed their health for the sake of success?"[140]

On 12 July 2008, at the Color Line Arena in Hamburg, Klitschko faced mandatory challenger Tony Thompson. The fight took place at the Color Line Arena in Hamburg, Germany, the same venue where Thompson had defeated then-highly regarded German boxer Luan Krasniqi in a WBO world heavyweight title eliminator almost a year prior.[141][142][143][144][145] In the build-up to the fight, Klitschko praised Thompson for his defensive abilities, while Klitschko's trainer Emmanuel Steward described Thompson as "one of the most difficult fights we will have".[146][147] In the pre-fight interview, Thompson promised that he wouldn't run away from Klitschko, and would stand in front of him and fight toe-to-toe.[148] Being 6 ft 5 in tall with 81½ in reach, Thompson was of similar height and reach as Klitschko.[149] Many observes predicted Thompson to be a tough challenge for Klitschko, expecting Klitschko to ultimately win by TKO in the second half of the fight before the fighters would enter the championship rounds.[150][151] Coming into the fight, Klitschko weighed in at 241 pounds, 6.5 lbs lighter than Thompson.[145]

The opening rounds were tentative, with Klitschko seemingly struggling with Thompson's awkward southpaw style. All three judges gave the first round to Thompson.[148][152] In the second round, both fighters suffered a cut above the right eye after an accidental headbutt.[147] Klitschko's eye began to swell after Thompson caught him with the right hook in the fifth round.[147] After the sixth round, however, Klitschko appeared to have established his dominance in the ring, hurting Thompson with several straight right hands. After the seventh round, both fighter started showing signs of fatigue.[147][147] In the tenth round, Thompson fell to the canvas during a clinch. It appeared as if Thompson fell down mostly due to being tired rather than being pushed by Klitschko.[148] In the middle of the eleventh, Klitschko caught Thompson with the straight right hand which Thompson did not see coming, falling to the canvas again, with the referee starting the count this time. Thompson beat the count but was unsteady on his feet, prompting the referee to stop the fight.[148][147] At the time of the stoppage, Klitschko was unanimously winning on the scorecards, with scores 98–92 (twice) and 99–91.[149]

In the post-fight interview, Klitschko admitted that the fight turned out to be tougher than expected: "It is not so easy to defend all the titles and it has been a while since I last had a black eye so today I really look like a boxer. I did not expect the victory to come that hard."[147][153] "I was fatigued, I thought he was fatigued too," Tony Thompson said after the fight. "He did what a great champion did, he took advantage when I was vulnerable. The only thing that hurts on me is my heart – for losing."[147] Emmanuel Steward described the knockout sequence as the one that showed the difference between a great heavyweight and the best heavyweight in the world: "They were both tired, but Wladimir has experience now, then he came back with a second wind. The experience is what helped Wladimir to come back with the second wind and find an opportunity to secure the stoppage win."[148][147] Former undisputed world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis praised Klitschko for his performance: "I've been watching Klitschko for some time, and he's improving with every fight."[148] Meanwhile, unified world cruiserweight champion David Haye criticized the champion for his performance: "If he fights me in the same way he fought that guy he will be knocked out in three rounds. He has got the perfect style for me. I don't want him to have any more fights before me as I don't want someone else to do what I will do against him."[153] Klitschko reportedly earned €8 million (around $12.7 million) for the bout.[154][155]

Klitschko vs. Rahman, Chagaev, Chambers[edit]

Klitschko vs. Rahman, 2008

Klitschko was scheduled to defend his titles against Alexander Povetkin later in 2008,[156] but on 25 October, Povetkin withdrew from the fight due to an ankle injury. Instead, Klitschko faced Hasim Rahman on 13 December 2008 and won by TKO. This was the third time Klitschko fought at the SAP Arena in Mannheim, Germany. He dominated the fight, winning every round while making good use of his left jab. Rahman seemed unable to withstand the Klitschko's punch power. In the sixth round, Klitschko knocked Rahman down with a series of left hooks, leaving Rahman visibly disoriented. Between the sixth and seventh rounds, the referee warned Rahman he's going to stop the fight if Rahman continues absorbing punishment without firing back.[157] The referee ultimately called a stop to the contest in the 7th round after Rahman failed to respond to a series of shots.[158][159][160] At the time of the stoppage, Klitschko was leading on all three judges scorecards, respectively 60–53, 60–53, and 60–47.[161] According to CompuBox, Klitschko landed 194 punches (50.4% accuracy) to Rahman's 35 (16.8% accuracy), a nearly six-fold disparity.[162]

Klitschko was scheduled to face David Haye on 20 June 2009, but Haye pulled out within weeks of the fight complaining of a back injury.[163] Immediately after news about Haye's injury broke into public, a handful of heavyweight fighters, such as Alexander Povetkin, Chazz Witherspoon, James Toney, Odlanier Solis, Dominick Guinn and Eddie Chambers, expressed their interest in replacing Haye for the Klitschko showdown.[164] Instead, Klitschko's team started negotiations with Ruslan Chagaev, who was ranked third best heavyweight in the world by The Ring, and WBA world champion Nikolai Valuev, who was regarded as a big draw in Germany at the time. Ultimately, Klitschko reached agreements with Chagaev who agreed to step in for Haye as a last-minute replacement (Valuev's team wanted the fight to be postponed until autumn of that year).[164][165][166] Some observes believed that Chagaev was a better challenege for Klitschko than Haye, given his position in the ranking and the fact that, alongside WBO and IBF world titles, vacant The Ring world heavyweight title was also on the line.[167][168] In the pre-fight comparison, The Ring was giving Klitschko an advantage in power, speed and athletic ability, as well as experience, while also crediting Chagaev for having better defense, praising him for his fundamentals and footwork. In terms of technique, both fighters were described as of equal level.[169]

The fight took place at Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen, with over 61,000 fans having attended the fight, the largest audience for a boxing fight in Germany since 1939, when Max Schmeling knocked out Adolf Heuser in front of 70,000 people in Stuttgart.[170][171] Klitschko dominated the fight, keeping Chagaev at the end of his jab and throwing straight right hand whenever necessary. Klitschko dropped Chagaev near the end of the second round, and was gradually fighting more aggressively as the fight progressed. Chagaev's trainer Michael Timm did not allow Chagaev to come out for the tenth round, prompting the referee to wave the bout off, declaring Klitschko the winner by corner retirement (RTD).[172][170] This win had added significance because even though the WBA title was not on the line, many saw Klitschko as the rightful champion.[172][171]

On 9 December 2009, Klitschko's management group, K2 Promotions, confirmed that a bout with Eddie Chambers had been agreed to take place in Germany on 20 March 2010. This mandatory title defense, originally scheduled for December 2009, had to be delayed due to a hand injury that Klitschko sustained in training that required surgery.[173] In the build-up to the fight, Klitschko described Chambers as "the best American heavyweight right now".[174] In the pre-fight comparison of the fighters, The Ring gave Chambers the upper hand in speed and athletic ability, as well as defense, while crediting Klitschko as more powerful and experienced.[175] The fight generated little interest in the United States, where it was not televised by any TV station but was aired on the Klitschko's official website instead.[174] The official venue was the multi-functional football stadium ESPRIT Arena in Düsseldorf, Germany.[174][176]

The bout turned-out to be one-sided, with the champion winning rounds keeping Chambers at the end of his jab and occasionally throwing straight right hands.[177] In the opening rounds, Chambers lifted Klitschko and took him down several times but was not deducted a point nor warned.[177] In between the championship rounds, Klitschko was criticized by his trainer Emmanuel Steward for not fighting aggressively, despite comfortably winning on the scorecards.[177][174] Klitschko picked up his pace during the final round and, with few seconds left, landed a left hook on Chambers' temple. The punch made Chambers fall forwards and lose consciousness for an extended period of time. The referee immediately stepped in and called an end to the contest.[178][179][180][181]

Klitschko vs. Peter II[edit]

Klitschko in 2010

Following the match with Chambers, a unification fight between Klitschko and David Haye, who, as of May 2009, had held the WBA title, appeared to be in the offing. Klitschko called out the Briton on YouTube in April 2010, stating, "I want to send this message to boxing fans and directly to David Haye. David, you've bitched out on fighting both Klitschko brothers twice already and now's the time to make it happen. On behalf of the boxing fans around the world, I am officially calling you out to fight me. You can't run away from me forever and you need to follow through with this fight if you want to be respected. I'm ready. What're you waiting for?"[182][183]

Haye's trainer, Adam Booth, indicated that Haye would be willing to accept the challenge.[184] Both sides began negotiations for a potential fight and the bout was targeted for September.[185] As the negotiations continued to move forward,[186] the unification fight between Klitschko and Haye was expected to take place in Germany rather than England.[187][188] The IBF set a deadline to end negotiations on 17 May. A few days before the deadline, Haye said he was interested in fighting the older Klitschko, Vitali, rather than Wladimir.[189] The fight did not materialize and Klitschko was set to take on mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin. On 17 May 2010, the 30-day period of negotiation began for Klitschko to defend his championship against Povetkin.[190] Within this period, discussions to make a fight with Haye were still ongoing.[191]

The bout between Klitschko and Povetkin was initially tentatively scheduled to take place in Frankfurt, Germany, on 11 September 2010. In July 2010, it was confirmed that the bout would be taking place in Frankfurt,[192] with Samuel Peter replacing Povetkin for the scheduled fight as Povetkin failed to show up to the press-conference, deciding to pull out of the fight at the advice of his coach Teddy Atlas who believed Povetkin was not ready to face Klitschko.[193][194] Klitschko faced Peter for the second time, as they had fought in 2005 previously.[195][196] Peter weighed in at 241 pounds, two pounds lighter than their first fight.[197] Klitschko came in at a career heavy of 247 pounds.[197]

Peter started the fight very aggressively and caught Klitschko with a good left hook in the opening minute, although Klitschko ended the round well. Peter was caught with three hard right-hands in the second round, one of which seemed to stun him. Peter tried to duck under the Klitschko jab, but was being tied up on the inside. After four rounds, the fight became one-sided in Klitschko's favour. Peter's right eye was closing and he was taking heavy punishment. After the ninth round, Peter's trainer Abel Sanchez said he would give him one more round.[citation needed] Emmanuel Steward also implored Klitschko to be more aggressive. Peter swung wildly in the tenth and Klitschko put him down with a concussive combination. Referee Robert Byrd did not start a count and waved the fight off, awarding Klitschko the win by KO. Klitschko reportedly earned €5 million ($6.3 million) for the fight.[198] Klitschko was set to fight Dereck Chisora on 11 December, but the fight was later called off on 8 December due to Klitschko tearing a muscle in his abdomen.[199][200]

Klitschko vs. Haye[edit]

On 5 January 2011, it was announced that Dereck Chisora would get his fight with Klitschko. This enraged David Haye's trainer Adam Booth, who described the move as a "disgrace" on a heated live phone-in with Sky Sports News. Booth alleged Haye had met every single one of Klitschko's demands.[201] The fight against Chisora was rescheduled for 30 April 2011 and was going to take place in SAP Arena, Mannheim.[202] However, on 4 March, it was announced that Klitschko had pulled out of the fight due to not being fully recovered from a torn abdominal muscle. On 5 March, it was instead announced that the highly anticipated fight against Haye would take place on 2 July 2011.[203] The fight was contingent on Klitschko's recovery from a torn abdominal muscle. The contract was written so that if Klitschko was not fully healed, then Haye would fight his brother, Vitali.[204]

Klitschko fought Haye in a heavyweight unification fight for the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, and Ring magazine heavyweight titles. The fight took place at the Imtech Arena in Hamburg, Germany on 2 July 2011. Klitschko and Haye agreed to a 50–50 split of the purse and Haye was allotted 7,000 seats at the venue.[205][206][207] Klitschko won by UD, the three judges scored it 117–109, 118–108, and 116–110 all in favour of Klitschko. According to CompuBox, Klitschko landed 134 punches of 509 thrown (26.3% accuracy), while Haye connected on 72 shots out of 290 (24.8%). Klitschko outlanded Haye in every round but fourth.[208] Haye revealed afterwards that he had a broken toe on his right foot, and claimed that it had hindered his game plan for the fight as he felt he was unable to jump out at Klitschko like he had previously in his career. Haye was subject to much derision and ridicule from within the boxing community and fans after citing his toe as part of the reason why he lost.[209] Despite this Klitschko claims that Haye was unable to fight because he was just too good for him.[210][211] [212]

After winning the WBA title, all of the major heavyweight titles were in the hands of the Klitschko family. Wladimir and Vitali became the first and only pair of brothers to hold all of the heavyweight titles simultaneously.[213]

Klitschko vs. Mormeck, Thompson II, Wach[edit]

On 6 October 2011, Klitschko announced his next fight. It was originally to be on 10 December 2011 against the former two time unified cruiserweight world champion, Jean-Marc Mormeck (36–4, 22 KOs). The fight would have taken place at Esprit Arena, Düsseldorf.[214] It was to be Klitschko's first title defence of his WBA (Super) title that he won against David Haye. However, on 5 December 2011, the fight was cancelled because Klitschko checked into a hospital to have a kidney stone removed. After the removal operation he suffered from fever and inflammation.[215] The fight was rescheduled for 3 March 2012, with Klitschko dominating and knocking out Mormeck in the fourth round.[216] Wladimir's first successful defense of three different versions of the world heavyweight title, billed as Alle Gürtel. Ein Champion (All belts. One Champion, referring to the fact that all major heavyweight titles were held by the Klitschko brothers), had an estimated global television audience of 500 million viewers.[19][18] CompuBox showed that in the 10 minutes and 12 seconds the fight lased, Klitschko landed 39 of 135 punches thrown (29%) and Mormeck landed just 3 of 19 thrown (16%). Mormeck failed to land anything in rounds 1 and 4.[217]

On 4 March 2012, Klitschko stated that he would next fight his mandatory challenger Tony Thompson (36–2, 24 KOs) in a rematch from their first fight in 2008. At the time, he stated that the newly opened Barclays Arena in New York were interested in showcasing a Klitschko brother. Since they last fought, Thompson recorded five straight wins, all by KO.[218] A purse bid was set by the IBF, where Klitschko, upon request, would receive 85% of the purse split, compared to the usual 75%.[219] The fight was confirmed to take place at the Stade de Suisse in Berne, Switzerland on 7 July.[220] In an interview, Klitschko admitted that Thompson was not his first choice and that he would have rather fought someone he had not fought before.[221] "So far I've always been better in rematches. However, I must not take this lightly as Thompson knows me better than any other fighter", Klitschko said in the build-up to the fight.[222] "I've been waiting for this rematch for so long", Thompson said during one of pre-fight press-conferences, "In Bern, I'm gonna finish what I've started 4 years ago - knock Klitschko out and take the belts back to the United States".[223] Thompson weighed in at 244.75, dropping 10.75 lbs from his last fight, while Klitschko weighed in at 249, the heaviest in his entire career. The additional weight appeared to be muscle.[224]

In the first round, both fighters were cautious, patiently studying each other. Klitschko became more dominant in the second, working mostly with his jab. Thompson unsuccessfully went for the attack and in the process fell to the canvas. The referee did not rule it a knockdown. In the third round, Thompson hurt Klitschko for the first time in the fight with a counter left hand but was still being outboxed by Klitschko. In the fifth round, Klitschko pressed Thompson into a corner and hurt him with a straight right hand, knocking him down. Thompson beat the count but looked hurt, however he was able to survive that round. Klitschko continued his assault in the sixth, sending Thompson down again with a flurry of shots. Thompson got up but had to hold on to the ropes in order to stand, which prompted the referee to stop the fight, declaring Klitschko the winner by sixth-round TKO.[225] "From the beginning, I had no doubt that I would successfully defend the titles. But it was hard to time an accurate shot. Thompson was elusive, he didn't lose an eye contact at any moment in the fight and was able to see most of my punches", said Klitschko in a post-fight interview.[226] It was his twelfth consecutive title defense, the third-most in heavyweight history.[227][228] CompuBox stats showed Klitschko landed 51 of 121 total punches thrown (42%) and Thompson landed only 25 of 183 thrown (14%).[229]

There was first mention of a potential Klitschko vs. Mariusz Wach (27-0, 15 KOs) fight in August 2011 when Klitschko's team approached Wach's promoters for a fight, however nothing materialized.[230] Wach's promoter Global Boxing stated that it was Klitschko's advisor Shelly Finkel that contacted them. Bernd Boente denied these claims.[231] In August 2012, serious negotiations took place for the fight. A date in November was considered with the venue likely to be in Hamburg, Germany. Terms were fully agreed within days of the negotiations for the fight to take place 10 November.[232][233] Klitschko revealed he would train with Johnathon Banks due to Steward recovering from a bowel operation.[234][235] On 25 October, Steward died at the age of 68.[236] The fight was the first time in his 16-year professional career that he had faced an opponent taller than himself.[237] At 2.02 metres tall, with a reach of 2.08 metres and weighing 251 pounds, Wach was four centimetres taller than Klitschko with a reach two centimeters longer.[238][239] In Poland, the fight was available via pay-per-view platform on Canal+ Sport for 39 and Polsat Sport for 40 zł.[240][241][242][243]

On fight night, at the 02 World Arena, Klitschko dominated and retained his titles with a one sided UD. The three judges' scored the fight 120–107, 120–107, and 119–109. The bout opened with a battle between jabs which was won by Klitschko, who was following his jabs with his signature straight right. Wach managed to wobble Klitschko in round five but failed to take advantage. Wach also showed a great chin later in the fight when Klitschko began to let his hands go more landing thunderous shots.[244][245] During the course of twelve rounds, Klitschko landed 274 of 693 punches landed (40%), whilst Wach landed 60 of his 308 thrown (19%).[246] After the fight, there were allegations against Wach that he had used steroids.[247] Klitschko reportedly earned €5.3 million (cca $6.8 million) for the fight.[248][249]

Days before the Klitschko vs. Wach fight took place, it was revealed that Team Sauerland offered Klitschko €5 million (around $6,5 million) for a possible fight against then-WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck in the future. At the time, Huck was preparing for a title defence against Firat Arslan.[250] Klitschko's manager Bernd Boente turned down the offer stating money was not the issue. The reason the fight would never get made was due to the fact that the Klitschko's had a contract with German television network RTL and Huck was signed with their rival network ARD.[251]

Klitschko vs. Pianeta, Povetkin, Leapai[edit]

Wladimir and Vitali with every title in the heavyweight division, 2012. Left to right: The Ring, IBF, IBO, WBO, WBC, and WBA.

At the end of 2012, the WBA ordered Klitschko to fight WBA (Regular) champion Alexander Povetkin of Russia by 24 February 2013,[252] but the two sides couldn't reach an agreement.[253] The WBA let Klitschko have another voluntary title defence before taking on Povetkin, but there should have been a signed contract with Povetkin before 28 February, with a new deadline for their bout no later than 31 July.[254][255][256]

On 5 March 2013, K2 Promotions announced that Klitschko would fight another undefeated contender, Italian Francesco Pianeta, on 4 May at SAP Arena in Mannheim, Germany.[257] Klitschko had received criticism in regards to past opponents. Pianeta was no different. Speaking to ESPN, he said, "I'm getting always criticised with my opponents, it doesn't matter are they well known or not so much and it's always very difficult to fight against someone that is not known because you are always getting these critics." Pianeta said it was the biggest experience of his life, but not his biggest fight. He went on to say he won his biggest fight against cancer in 2009.[258] From the start, Klitschko systematically broke down the Italian, consistently landing flush straight right hand shots. He dropped Pianeta with a right hand in round four, a left hand put Pianeta down in the fifth; the fight ended at 2:52 in round six when Klitschko put Pianeta down for the third time.[259][260][261] According to CompuBox Stats, Klitschko landed 116 of 277 punches thrown (42%) and Pianeta landed 24 of 104 thrown (23%), an average of 4 punches landed per round.[262]

Promoter Vladimir Hryunov won the right to promote Klitschko vs. Povetkin with a purse bid of $23,333,330 and Russian businessman Andrey Ryabinsky putting up the money. Failed bids made were from K2 Promotions ($7,130,000) and Povetkin's promoter Sauerland Event ($6,014,444). It allowed Ryabinsky to dictate the location of the fight and guaranteed the fighters the biggest purses of their careers. Based on being entitled to 75 percent of the winning bid, Klitschko got $17,499,997, while Povetkin received $5,833,333.[263] The Klitschko camp were said to be surprised by the bid.[264] The fight was expected to generate around 100 million viewers in Europe.[265][266][267]

The fight took place on 5 October 2013 at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow.[268] The bout was marred with over 160 clinches, most initiated by Klitschko, followed by several repeated roughhouse tactics throughout the match. This included Klitschko's leaning on his opponent and pushing his head down and throwing Povetkin away to prevent Povetkin from clinching, which resulted in the referee scoring some of Povetkin's fallings as knockdowns, as well as Povetkin's punching after the referee's break command and leaning his head too low.[269] Klitschko won by UD, scoring a knockdown in round two from a quick left hook, and three knockdowns in round seven, including one prompted from a straight right hand. All theee judges scored it 119–104 on the scorecards.[270][271][272] Klitschko landed 139 of 417 punches (33%) and Povetkin connected on 59 of 283 (21%).[273] After the fight, Klitschko told in the interview that he had little desire to go for the knockout as the Russian crowd would be disappointed, which lead to speculations about the alleged agreement between the champion and organisers to let the bout go the distance,[274][275][276] which Klitschko later denied. With 9.2 rating, the fight became the most popular sporting event on Russian television in 2013, as well as the most watched TV programme of the year in Moscow with 13.9 rating, surpassing the Moscow Victory Day Parade.[277][278] Overall, the fight was watched by 23 million people in Russia.[279] The fight also became the most popular TV programme of Ukrainian television in 2013 with 19.5 rating[280] and 23 million total viewers[279] and the most watched programme of RTL Television in 2013, averaging 11 million viewers.[281]

In November 2013, Alex Leapai (30–4–3, 24 KOs) caused a huge upset in defeating then-unbeaten Denis Boytsov to become the WBO mandatory challenger.[282] On 5 January 2014 K2 Promotions announced that a deal was close to being reached for the Klitschko vs. Leapai fight to take place in Germany on 26 April.[283][284] Klitschko signed the contract on 3 February.[285] It was revealed that former world title challenger David Tua declined a 'lucrative offer' to spar with Klitschko ahead of the fight. Tua told Australian newspaper The Courier-Mail he "didn't want to help anyone beat a 'Samoan brother'".[286] On fight night, Klitschko knocked Leapai down three times, and referee Eddie Cotton stopped the fight with 55 seconds remaining in the fifth round.[287][288][289] Despite all the pre-fight trash talk done by Leapai, Klitschko told him, "You have truly a lionheart. You never stopped. You were challenging, you were bold. You had great desire to become a champion. Not many of my opponents have that type of attitude, that type of heart." Klitschko landed 147 of 396 punches thrown (37%), while Leapai landed a dire 10 of his 69 (14%). The 10 punches landed were made up of 6 jabs and 4 power punches.[290][291]

Klitschko vs. Pulev, Jennings[edit]

The IBF finally ordered Klitschko vs. Kubrat Pulev on 8 May 2014 and gave a 30-day negotiation period.[292] Klitschko's manager Bernd Boente stated that a potential fight with WBC champion Bermane Stiverne was their main priority, a fight which would see all of the heavyweight belts at stake. Kalle Sauerland stated that he would request to get Klitschko (62–3, 52 KOs) stripped of the IBF title if he didn't fight Pulev. At the same time Deontay Wilder was named as Stiverne's mandatory and the WBC stated he must fight Wilder next.[293] With the IBF purse bid split being 75–25 in favour of the champion, Klitschko requested the split be 80–20 in his favour. The IBF accepted the request.[294] A purse bid took place on 17 June, which was won by K2 Promotions. The winning bid was $7.25 million. Sauerland Event put in a bid for $5.29 million. As per the bid, K2 had the location set as the O2 World Arena in Hamburg, with a possible date being 6 September 2014.[295] In August, Klitschko suffered a bicep injury, thus postponing the fight by at least two months. A new date of 15 November was set.[296] HBO announced that they would air the fight live in the afternoon, making it the 19th Klitschko fight they would show.[297] Two days before the fight, it was revealed only the IBF title would be at stake for Pulev, however if Klitschko loses, the remaining titles would be vacated.[298][299] The fight's worldwide audience was estimated to be 300 million viewers.[12][13][14]

Despite making a spirited effort, Pulev suffered three knockdowns en route to being knocked out in round five by a devastating left hook. The time of stoppage was recorded as 2:11 of round five. In the post-fight interview, Pulev said, "Wladimir is a really good opponent, but he was lucky. I want a rematch". Klitschko praised Pulev, calling him a tough competitor.[300][301] CompuBox stats showed that Klitschko landed 38 of 89 punches thrown (43%), this included 47% of his power punches. Pulev managed to land only 25 of his 110 thrown (23%). This was made up of 10 jabs and 15 power shots landed.[302] The fight drew 10.5 million viewers in Germany[303] and 1.8 million viewers in Bulgaria (becoming the most watched sports event on Bulgarian TV since 2007).[304][305] The fight also averaged 620,000 viewers on HBO and peaked at 700,000 viewers.[306]

On 20 January 2015 ESPN reported that the potential Klitschko vs. Jennings was confirmed and to take place on 25 April 2015 at Madison Square Garden. Negotiations initially started in November 2014. Klitschko's manager, Bernd Boente finally announced the fight and said all contracts had been signed. The Barclays Center in New York City was originally chosen to stage the fight, but no reason was given for the change of venue.[307]

It would be the fourth time Klitschko would fight at the Garden, his first time at the arena and the United States since 2008, defending his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO and The Ring heavyweight titles. He defeated Jennings by effective use of his jab and nullifying Jennings' offensive game on the inside, especially by holding Jennings, which resulted in the referee deducting a point in the tenth round for excessive holding, although Klitschko did end up winning via UD with scores of 116–111, 116–111, and 118–109. According to Compubox Stats, Klitschko landed 144 of his 545 punches thrown (26%) whilst Jennings landed 110 of 376 (29 percent).[308] According to Nielsen Media Research, the fight averaged 1.637 million viewers on HBO, peaking at 1.742 million viewers.[309] With this win, Klitschko defeated 23rd boxer for the world heavyweight championship, beating a record held by Joe Louis for 66 years.[25][26]

Klitschko vs. Fury[edit]

Klitschko was scheduled to take on undefeated heavyweight contender Tyson Fury, the WBO mandatory challenger, on 24 October 2015. On 25 September 2015, Klitschko postponed the fight, citing a calf injury. It was rescheduled for 28 November 2015.[310] On the night of the fight, there was much controversy, first starting with the gloves, then there was a complaint about the ring canvas. Klitschko reportedly had his hands wrapped without a representative of Fury present, so had to do them again.[311] Klitschko lost the fight by UD, with scores of 115–112, 115–112, and 116–111 all in favour of Fury.[312][313] It was the first defeat Klitschko had suffered in over ten years and marked the end of the so-called 'Klitschko Era', referring to the time period where both Klitschko brothers dominated the division. Klitschko and Fury showed little offence during the twelve rounds, but Fury did enough to take the decision. Klitschko landed 52 of 231 punches thrown (22.5%) and Fury landed 86 of 371 thrown (23.2%).[314]

In the post-fight interview, an emotional Fury said, "This is a dream come true. We worked so hard for this. I've done it. It's hard to come to foreign countries and get decisions. It just means so much to me to come here and get the decision." He then took the microphone to thank Klitschko, "I'd like to say to Wladimir, you're a great champion. And thanks very much for having me. It was all fun and games during the buildup." Klitschko failed to throw his well-known right hand, mostly due to Fury's constant movement and mocking. He said, "Tyson was the faster and better man tonight. I felt quite comfortable in the first six rounds, but I was astonished that Tyson was so fast in the second half as well. I couldn't throw my right hand because the advantage was the longer distance he had." Klitschko had a rematch clause in place.[315][316]

Klitschko was entitled to a rematch with Fury as part of the contract for their first fight. The rematch was eventually announced on 8 April 2016 and set to take place in Fury's home town at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England on 9 July 2016.[317] However, Tyson Fury announced via a YouTube video that the fight would be postponed due to an ankle sprain he had received during training. He apologised to his fans and confirmed the fight would be rescheduled for a later date. On 7 July, Fury announced via his Twitter account that the rescheduled fight would take place on 29 October at the Manchester Arena. On 23 September, Fury again postponed the fight after being declared "medically unfit",[318] before eventually vacating the WBA (Super), WBO, and IBO titles, citing problems with depression after testing positive for cocaine.[319] The rematch with Klitschko was cancelled as a result.

Klitschko vs. Joshua[edit]

Days after the Fury rematch was called off, Klitschko was approached by Eddie Hearn, promoter of IBF champion Anthony Joshua, to fight on the 28 November date they had set for a second defence. Terms seemed to have been agreed for a £30m fight showdown although an initial contract was yet to be signed.[320] After Fury gave up his world titles, it was said that Klitschko wanted the WBA (Super) title up for grabs in the potential match up against Joshua and waiting for approval, which the WBA kept postponing.[321] A reason as to why the WBA was delaying sanctioning the fight was due them having a legal settlement with Lucas Browne so he could fight for the vacant title next. Klitschko then turned his attention to fighting Browne instead on 10 December, a date his team had an arena set for in Germany.[322] On 24 October, Klitschko suffered a minor calf injury which would rule him out until 2017. Talks between the Klitschko camp and Hearn remained active with a fight set for the first part of 2017.[323][324] On 2 November, the WBA finally agreed to sanction a fight for their super title as long as Joshua defeats Eric Molina in December 2016.[325]

On 10 December, immediately after Joshua had defeated Molina at the Manchester Arena, Klitschko was invited into the ring by Hearn. It was announced that Klitschko and Joshua would face each other for the WBA (Super), IBF and vacant IBO titles at Wembley Stadium, London, on 29 April 2017.[326] WBA president Gilberto Jesus Mendoza confirmed that the winner will have to face mandatory challenger Luis Ortiz next, with deadlines due to be set after the unification fight.[327][328][328] A day later the IBF announced the winner must fight their mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev. Because of this clashing with the WBA enforcing their mandatory, it was believed that either Joshua or Klitschko would have to vacate a title.[329] In January 2017, Eddie Hearn announced that over 80,000 tickets had been sold, a new box office record, overtaking Carl Froch vs. George Groves II. He put a request in for 5,000 more tickets to be made available.[330][331] At the weigh in, Klitschko weighed in at 240 and a quarter pounds, the lightest he has weighed since 2009. Joshua came in heavier at 250 pounds.[332]

In front of a post-war record crowd of 90,000 in attendance, Joshua won by TKO in a high-drama contest that saw both men giving their all. They fought a close and cautious first four rounds. In the fifth, Joshua came out and threw a barrage of punches, forcing Klitschko to the canvas. An angry Klitschko rose up and dominated Joshua for the remainder of the round, before landing a clean right hand and scoring his own knockdown in round six. The next few rounds were again cautious, both men wary of each other, until a reinvigorated Joshua attacked Klitschko in round eleven with an upper-cut blow to the right side of Klitschko's face which would be the beginning of the end for the Ukrainian. Joshua then put together a few small but powerful combinations which sent his opponent to the canvas. Klitschko again rose but Joshua knocked him down for a second time in the round by unleashing a seven-punch combination, flooring Klitschko with a left hook. Moments later Joshua tried to end the fight by swinging a few right hooks and managed to back Klitschko into the ropes where he again sent a barrage of punches with no reply. The referee then concluded that Klitschko had taken enough punishment and stopped the fight.[333][334]

At the time of stoppage, Joshua was ahead on two judges' scorecards at 96–93 and 95–93, while the third judge had Klitschko ahead 95–93. CompuBox stats showed that Joshua landed 107 of his 355 punches thrown (30.1%), and Klitschko landed 94 of 256 (36.7%).[335] In the post-fight interviews, Klitschko spoke about the rematch clause, but gave no indication as to whether he would activate it, "Of course we have a rematch in the contract. I need to analyze and see what the heck happened. I wish I could have raised my hands, but congrats to him. He got up, he fought back, and he won the titles."[336] In the press conference after the fight, Joshua said he would have no issues with having another fight with Klitschko, "I don’t mind fighting him again, if he wants the rematch. Big respect to Wladimir for challenging the young lions of the division. It’s up to him, I don’t mind. As long as Rob thinks it’s good I’m good to go." Eddie Hearn said Joshua's next fight would likely take place at the end of the year, possibly at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.[337]

The fight averaged 659,000 viewers on Showtime in the United States. It was shown live and the fight began around 5 p.m. ET and 2 p.m. PT. Nielsen Media Research revealed the fight peaked at 687,000 viewers which was during rounds five and six.[338] The delayed tape-replay on HBO was watched by an average 738,000 viewers and peaked at 890,000.[339][340] In a press release, German TV channel RTL announced the fight was watched by an average 10.43 million viewers. The whole card averaged 9.59 million viewers. This was higher than the 8.91 million that tuned in to watch Klitschko vs. Fury in 2015. The fight did lower numbers than Klitschko's win over Mariusz Wach in 2012, which was watched by 11 million and Klitschko vs. Haye, which was seen by over 16 million.[341]

On 7 June 2017, the IBF granted Joshua an exception for him to rematch Klitschko instead of fighting mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev. At this point, it was not said that the rematch would take place. Klitschko said he needed time to review his situation before agreeing to a rematch. It was only weeks after the fight, when Eddie Hearn filed the paperwork to the IBF to request the exception to the mandatory defence. The IBF explained that the rematch must take place no later than 2 December 2017 and the winner must fight Pulev next with no exceptions.[342]

On 11 July 2017, Eddie Hearn traveled to the US to apply for a Nevada boxing license for promoting and to also scout potential locations in Las Vegas speaking to MGM. He had a tour of the T-Mobile Arena. Although Nigeria, Dubai and China were discussed, Hearn warmed up to the idea of the fight taking place in Las Vegas.[343] Hearn told Sky Sports, "We met with Richard Sturm and the team at MGM in Las Vegas yesterday and had a full tour of the T-Mobile Arena which is very impressive. There is a huge appetite from both sides to hold the rematch there and we will be talking further over the next week or so to see if that can become a reality."[344] Showtime's Stephen Espinoza said a deal could be reached quickly, as he was also eager to get Joshua, who has a contract with Showtime, to fight in US, "It's no secret we've been salivating about getting him over here and certainly that would be a phenomenal fight. It would be the biggest heavyweight Vegas fight in probably a couple of decades, so we would love to host it."[345] On 25 July, Hearn pencilled on 11 November 2017 for the rematch to take place at the T-Mobile Arena.[346] It was reported the fight could be pay-per-view in the US.[347]


On 3 August 2017, Klitschko announced on his official website and social media channels that he was retiring from boxing.[348][349] He ended his professional career with 64 wins in 69 fights, 53 by knockout. He competed in 29 world title fights.[350][351]


Throughout his career, Wladimir defeated 23 boxers for the world heavyweight championship, breaking an all-time record that belonged to Joe Louis.[25][26] Klitschko holds several historical records, including the longest combined world championship reign in heavyweight history at 4,382 days (12 years);[25][26] the most wins in world heavyweight title bouts since the international expansion of heavyweight boxing title, at 25; the most wins in unified title bouts and the longest unified championship reign in professional boxing history at 15 title bouts and 14 consecutive defenses respectively; and has the second most total successful title defenses of any heavyweight boxer with 23 (including his first reign as WBO champion), behind Joe Louis (25) and ahead of Larry Holmes (20) and Muhammad Ali (19). Klitschko fought in 29 world heavyweight title fights, more than any other boxer in history.[352]

As of September 2020, BoxRec ranks Klitschko as the 17th greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all time (the fourth highest rank for a non-American fighter),[353] as well as the second greatest European pound-for-pound fighter of all time.[354] Klitschko also holds the record of having defeated the most boxers with an undefeated record, at 12,[clarification needed] and defeated 9 current or former world champions throughout his career. These nine included heavyweight champions Chris Byrd (twice), Ray Mercer, Lamon Brewster, Samuel Peter, Sultan Ibragimov, Hasim Rahman (twice), Ruslan Chagaev and two-weight world champion David Haye, as well as unified cruiserweight champion Jean-Marc Mormeck.

Other interests[edit]

Klitschko is also a passionate golfer and was seen playing in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland. The tournament was played over three courses in 2008 including St Andrews, Carnoustie, and Kingsbarns in Fife and Angus. Klitschko was named curator of the Ukrainian pavilion at the 2009 Venice Biennale.[355]

As of October 2015, Klitschko was an adjunct professor at Switzerland's University of St. Gallen, where he taught master's students.[43]

Personal life[edit]

The Klitschko brothers on a 2010 Ukrainian stamp

From 2009, Klitschko was in a relationship with American actress Hayden Panettiere. Panettiere has appeared ringside at some of Klitschko's fights, including at Klitschko's 10th-round KO victory over Samuel Peter.[356] The couple had a brief split in 2011, but were together again in 2013.[357] In October 2013, Panettiere confirmed that she and Klitschko were engaged.[358] They have one child together, a daughter, born in December 2014.[359] In August 2018, according to Panettiere's mother, Lesley Vogel, the couple had split for a second time.[360] They were said to be on 'good terms' for the sake of their daughter.[361]

On 6 December 2013, Klitschko and his fiancée Hayden Panettiere visited the Euromaidan-protests in Kyiv.[362] His brother Vitali was one of the leading figures of these protests.[363][364] He and his fiancée addressed the crowds.[365]

Wladimir and his brother Vitali have never fought each other in a professional fight as their mother made them promise to never fight each other.[366]

In 2008, after Wladimir's photo session[367] held for Vanity Fair magazine with Karolína Kurková, she claimed to have had a relationship with the boxer.[368]

Klitschko speaks four languages: English, German, Russian and Ukrainian.[369] He was friends with the late German heavyweight legend Max Schmeling.[370]

On 29 March 2012, during a charitable auction in Kyiv, Ukraine, Klitschko auctioned off his 1996 Olympic gold medal to a buyer who bid $1 million. Klitschko said he would use the money to help the dreams of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian children. After the sale, the buyer immediately returned the medal out of respect for Klitschko and because he wanted it to remain with the Klitschko family.[371][372]

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
69 fights 64 wins 5 losses
By knockout 53 4
By decision 9 1
By disqualification 2 0
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Age Location Notes
69 Loss 64–5 United Kingdom Anthony Joshua TKO 11 (12), 2:25 29 Apr 2017 41 years, 35 days United Kingdom Wembley Stadium, London, England For IBF, vacant WBA (Super) and IBO heavyweight titles
68 Loss 64–4 United Kingdom Tyson Fury UD 12 28 Nov 2015 39 years, 248 days Germany Merkur Spiel-Arena, Düsseldorf, Germany Lost WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight titles
67 Win 64–3 United States Bryant Jennings UD 12 25 Apr 2015 39 years, 31 days United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, US Retained WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight titles
66 Win 63–3 Bulgaria Kubrat Pulev KO 5 (12), 2:11 15 Nov 2014 38 years, 235 days Germany O2 World, Hamburg, Germany Retained WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight titles
65 Win 62–3 Australia Alex Leapai TKO 5 (12), 2:05 26 Apr 2014 38 years, 32 days Germany König Pilsener Arena, Oberhausen, Germany Retained WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight titles
64 Win 61–3 Russia Alexander Povetkin UD 12 5 Oct 2013 37 years, 194 days Russia Olympic Stadium, Moscow, Russia Retained WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight titles
63 Win 60–3 Italy Francesco Pianeta TKO 6 (12), 2:52 4 May 2013 37 years, 40 days Germany SAP Arena, Mannheim, Germany Retained WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight titles
62 Win 59–3 Poland Mariusz Wach UD 12 10 Nov 2012 36 years, 231 days Germany O2 World, Hamburg, Germany Retained WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight titles
61 Win 58–3 United States Tony Thompson TKO 6 (12), 1:12 7 Jul 2012 36 years, 105 days Switzerland Stade de Suisse, Bern, Switzerland Retained WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight titles
60 Win 57–3 France Jean-Marc Mormeck KO 4 (12), 1:12 3 Mar 2012 36 years, 6 days Germany Merkur Spiel-Arena, Düsseldorf, Germany Retained WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight titles
59 Win 56–3 United Kingdom David Haye UD 12 2 Jul 2011 35 years, 99 days Germany Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany Retained IBF, WBO, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight titles;
Won WBA (Super) heavyweight title
58 Win 55–3 Nigeria Samuel Peter KO 10 (12), 1:22 11 Sep 2010 34 years, 170 days Germany Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt, Germany Retained IBF, WBO, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight titles
57 Win 54–3 United States Eddie Chambers KO 12 (12), 2:55 20 Mar 2010 33 years, 360 days Germany Esprit Arena, Düsseldorf, Germany Retained IBF, WBO, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight titles
56 Win 53–3 Uzbekistan Ruslan Chagaev RTD 9 (12), 3:00 20 Jun 2009 33 years, 87 days Germany Veltins-Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany Retained IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles;
Won vacant The Ring heavyweight title
55 Win 52–3 United States Hasim Rahman TKO 7 (12), 0:44 13 Dec 2008 32 years, 264 days Germany SAP Arena, Mannheim, Germany Retained IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles
54 Win 51–3 United States Tony Thompson KO 11 (12), 1:38 12 Jul 2008 32 years, 110 days Germany Color Line Arena, Hamburg, Germany Retained IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles
53 Win 50–3 Russia Sultan Ibragimov UD 12 23 Feb 2008 31 years, 335 days United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, US Retained IBF and IBO heavyweight titles;
Won WBO heavyweight title
52 Win 49–3 United States Lamon Brewster RTD 6 (12), 3:00 7 Jul 2007 31 years, 104 days Germany Kölnarena, Cologne, Germany Retained IBF and IBO heavyweight titles
51 Win 48–3 United States Ray Austin KO 2 (12), 1:23 10 Mar 2007 30 years, 350 days Germany SAP Arena, Mannheim, Germany Retained IBF and IBO heavyweight titles
50 Win 47–3 United States Calvin Brock TKO 7 (12), 2:10 11 Nov 2006 30 years, 232 days United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, US Retained IBF and IBO heavyweight titles
49 Win 46–3 United States Chris Byrd TKO 7 (12), 0:41 22 Apr 2006 30 years, 28 days Germany SAP Arena, Mannheim, Germany Won IBF and vacant IBO heavyweight titles
48 Win 45–3 Nigeria Samuel Peter UD 12 24 Sep 2005 29 years, 183 days United States Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US Won WBC–NABF and vacant WBO–NABO heavyweight titles
47 Win 44–3 Cuba Eliseo Castillo TKO 4 (10), 2:51 23 Apr 2005 29 years, 29 days Germany Westfalenhallen, Dortmund, Germany
46 Win 43–3 United States DaVarryl Williamson TD 5 (10), 3:00 2 Oct 2004 28 years, 192 days United States Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, US Split TD after Klitschko was cut from an accidental head clash
45 Loss 42–3 United States Lamon Brewster TKO 5 (12), 3:00 10 Apr 2004 28 years, 17 days United States Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, US For vacant WBO heavyweight title
44 Win 42–2 United States Danell Nicholson TKO 4 (12), 1:44 20 Dec 2003 27 years, 270 days Germany Ostseehalle, Kiel, Germany Retained WBA Inter-Continental heavyweight title
43 Win 41–2 Argentina Fabio Eduardo Moli KO 1 (12), 1:49 30 Aug 2003 27 years, 158 days Germany Olympiahalle, Munich, Germany Won vacant WBA Inter-Continental heavyweight title
42 Loss 40–2 South Africa Corrie Sanders TKO 2 (12), 0:27 8 Mar 2003 26 years, 348 days Germany Preussag Arena, Hanover, Germany Lost WBO heavyweight title
41 Win 40–1 United States Jameel McCline RTD 10 (12), 3:00 7 Dec 2002 26 years, 257 days United States Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, US Retained WBO heavyweight title
40 Win 39–1 United States Ray Mercer TKO 6 (12), 1:08 29 Jun 2002 26 years, 96 days United States Etess Arena, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US Retained WBO heavyweight title
39 Win 38–1 South Africa Francois Botha TKO 8 (12), 0:47 16 Mar 2002 25 years, 356 days Germany Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle, Stuttgart, Germany Retained WBO heavyweight title
38 Win 37–1 United States Charles Shufford TKO 6 (12), 2:55 4 Aug 2001 25 years, 132 days United States Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, US Retained WBO heavyweight title
37 Win 36–1 United States Derrick Jefferson TKO 2 (12), 2:09 24 Mar 2001 24 years, 364 days Germany Rudi-Sedlmayer-Halle, Munich, Germany Retained WBO heavyweight title
36 Win 35–1 United States Chris Byrd UD 12 14 Oct 2000 24 years, 203 days Germany Kölnarena, Cologne, Germany Won WBO heavyweight title
35 Win 34–1 United States Monte Barrett TKO 7 (10), 2:40 15 Jul 2000 24 years, 112 days United Kingdom London Arena, London, England
34 Win 33–1 United States David Bostice TKO 2 (12), 1:27 29 Apr 2000 24 years, 35 days United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, US Retained WBA Inter-Continental heavyweight title
33 Win 32–1 Tonga Paea Wolfgramm KO 1 (12), 1:30 18 Mar 2000 23 years, 358 days Germany Alsterdorfer Sporthalle, Hamburg, Germany Won vacant WBC International heavyweight title
32 Win 31–1 Hungary Lajos Eros KO 2 (12), 2:35 4 Dec 1999 23 years, 254 days Germany Stadionsporthalle, Hanover, Germany Retained WBA Inter-Continental and European heavyweight titles
31 Win 30–1 United States Phil Jackson KO 2 (10), 1:59 12 Nov 1999 23 years, 232 days United States The Orleans, Paradise, Nevada, US
30 Win 29–1 Germany Axel Schulz TKO 8 (12), 2:42 25 Sep 1999 23 years, 184 days Germany Kölnarena, Cologne, Germany Retained WBA Inter-Continental heavyweight title;
Won vacant European heavyweight title
29 Win 28–1 Zambia Joseph Chingangu RTD 4 (12), 3:00 17 Jul 1999 23 years,114 days Germany Philips Halle, Düsseldorf, Germany Won vacant WBA Inter-Continental heavyweight title
28 Win 27–1 United States Tony LaRosa TKO 1 (10), 2:57 22 May 1999 23 years, 57 days Hungary Sport Palace, Budapest, Hungary
27 Win 26–1 United States Everett Martin TKO 8 (8) 24 Apr 1999 23 years, 30 days Germany Circus Krone Building, Munich, Germany
26 Win 25–1 Montenegro Zoran Vujicic KO 1 (8), 1:02 13 Feb 1999 22 years, 325 days Germany Maritim Hotel, Stuttgart, Germany
25 Loss 24–1 United States Ross Puritty TKO 11 (12), 0:18 5 Dec 1998 22 years, 255 days Ukraine Palace of Sports, Kyiv, Ukraine Lost WBC International heavyweight title
24 Win 24–0 United States Donnell Wingfield KO 1 (8) 14 Nov 1998 22 years, 234 days Germany Circus Krone Building, Munich, Germany
23 Win 23–0 United States Eli Dixon KO 3 (10), 2:26 3 Oct 1998 22 years, 192 days Germany Prinz-Garden Halle, Augsburg, Germany
22 Win 22–0 United States Steve Pannell KO 2 (10) 19 Sep 1998 22 years, 178 days Germany Arena Oberhausen, Oberhausen, Germany
21 Win 21–0 United States Carlos Monroe TKO 6 (10), 2:28 6 Aug 1998 22 years, 134 days United States Grand Casino Avoyelles, Marksville, Louisiana, US
20 Win 20–0 United States Najee Shaheed KO 1 (12) 10 Jul 1998 22 years, 107 days Germany Circus Krone Building, Munich, Germany Retained WBC International heavyweight title
19 Win 19–0 United States Cody Koch KO 4 (12) 23 May 1998 22 years, 59 days Germany Oberrheinhalle, Offenburg, Germany Retained WBC International heavyweight title
18 Win 18–0 United States Everett Martin UD 8 13 Mar 1998 21 years, 353 days Germany Sporthalle Wandsbek, Hamburg, Germany
17 Win 17–0 United States Marcus McIntyre KO 3 (12) 14 Feb 1998 21 years, 326 days Germany Maritim Hotel, Stuttgart, Germany Won vacant WBC International heavyweight title
16 Win 16–0 United States Derrick Lampkins TKO 1 (8) 20 Dec 1997 21 years, 270 days Germany Oberrheinhalle, Offenburg, Germany
15 Win 15–0 Slovakia Ladislav Husarik TKO 3 (8) 13 Dec 1997 21 years, 263 days Germany Alsterdorfer Sporthalle, Hamburg, Germany
14 Win 14–0 United States Jerry Halstead TKO 2 (8) 6 Dec 1997 21 years, 256 days Germany Stadthalle, Offenbach am Main, Germany
13 Win 13–0 Mexico Marcos González KO 2 (8) 11 Oct 1997 21 years, 200 days Germany Stadthalle, Cottbus, Germany
12 Win 12–0 United States James Pritchard TKO 3 (8) 20 Sep 1997 21 years, 179 days Germany Tivoli Eissporthalle, Aachen, Germany
11 Win 11–0 Austria Biko Botowamungu DQ 5 (6), 0:02 23 Aug 1997 21 years, 151 days Germany Maritim Hotel, Stuttgart, Germany Botowamungu disqualified after his cornermen refused to leave the ring
10 Win 10–0 United States Gilberto Williamson TKO 3 (8) 12 Jul 1997 21 years, 109 days Germany Berlet-Halle, Hagen, Germany
9 Win 9–0 Mexico Salvador Maciel KO 1 (8) 27 Jun 1997 21 years, 94 days Germany Oberrheinhalle, Offenburg, Germany
8 Win 8–0 United States Paul Ashley KO 2 (8), 1:25 13 Jun 1997 21 years, 80 days Germany Arena Oberhausen, Oberhausen, Germany
7 Win 7–0 United States Mark Wills KO 1 (8), 2:58 10 May 1997 21 years, 46 days Germany Ballsporthalle, Frankfurt, Germany
6 Win 6–0 United States Mark Young RTD 2 (6), 3:00 12 Apr 1997 21 years, 18 days Germany Eurogress, Aachen, Germany
5 Win 5–0 United States Carlos Monroe DQ 6 (6), 0:34 15 Feb 1997 20 years, 327 days Germany Stadthalle, Cottbus, Germany Monroe disqualified for a headbutt
4 Win 4–0 United States Troy Weida TKO 3 (6), 0:36 25 Jan 1997 20 years, 306 days Germany Maritim Hotel, Stuttgart, Germany
3 Win 3–0 United States Bill Corrigan TKO 1 (4), 1:21 21 Dec 1996 20 years, 272 days Germany Zoological Garden, Frankfurt, Germany
2 Win 2–0 United States Exum Speight TKO 2 (4), 1:54 30 Nov 1996 20 years, 251 days Austria Arena Nova, Wiener Neustadt, Austria
1 Win 1–0 Mexico Fabian Meza KO 1 (4), 1:35 16 Nov 1996 20 years, 237 days Germany Sporthalle Wandsbek, Hamburg, Germany

Television viewership[edit]

A chart that represents the evolution of German TV viewership numbers of Wladimir Klitschko's fights since 1999


Date Fight Billing[49] Region Viewership (est.) Source(s)
2 July 2011
Wladimir Klitschko vs. David Haye
The Talk Ends Now[373]
Total viewership Worldwide 500,000,000


Date Fight Billing[49] Viewership (avg.) Network Source(s)
25 September 1999
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Axel Schulz
Klitschko vs. Schulz
RTL Television [375][376]
4 December 1999
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Lajos Eros
Klitschko vs. Eros
Sat.1 [377]
14 October 2000
Chris Byrd vs. Wladimir Klitschko
Revenge Of The Brother
Sat.1 [378]
8 March 2003
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Corrie Sanders
The Next Big Thing
ZDF [379]
30 August 2003
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Fabio Eduardo Moli
Night Of The Giants
20 December 2003
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Danell Nicholson
Klitschko vs. Nicholson
23 April 2005
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Eliseo Castillo
Klitschko vs. Castillo
Das Erste
24 April 2006
Chris Byrd vs. Wladimir Klitschko II
Revenge Is The Name Of The Game
Das Erste [380]
10 March 2007
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Ray Austin
Danger Zone
RTL Television [381][382]
7 July 2007
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Lamon Brewster II
The Rematch
RTL Television [383][384]
12 July 2008
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Tony Thompson I
Time To Pick On Someone His Own Size
RTL Television [385]
13 December 2008
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Hasim Rahman
RTL Television
20 July 2009
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Ruslan Chagaev
Knockout Auf Schalke
RTL Television [386]
20 March 2010
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Eddie Chambers
Duell Am Rhein[387]
RTL Television [388][389]
11 September 2010
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Samuel Peter II
Showdown In Frankfurt
RTL Television [390]
2 July 2011
Wladimir Klitschko vs. David Haye
The Talk Ends Now[373]
RTL Television [391]
3 March 2012
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Jean-Marc Mormeck
Alle Gürtel. Ein Champion
RTL Television [392]
7 July 2012
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Tony Thompson II
Hard Rocks
RTL Television [393]
10 November 2012
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Mariusz Wach
Battle Of The Giants
RTL Television [394]
4 May 2013
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Francesco Pianeta
Showtime In Mannheim
RTL Television [394]
7 October 2013
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Alexander Povetkin
Klitschko vs. Povetkin
RTL Television [395][396]
26 April 2014
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Alex Leapai
Can't Stop
RTL Television [397]
15 November 2014
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Kubrat Pulev
Showdown In Hamburg
RTL Television [303]
28 November 2015
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Tyson Fury
Collision Course
RTL Television [398]
28 April 2017
Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko
Joshua vs. Klitschko
RTL Television [399]
Total viewership 259,990,000


Date Fight Billing[49] Viewership (est.) Network Source(s)
7 October 2013
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Alexander Povetkin
Klitschko vs. Povetkin
1 Kanal [279]
Total viewership 23,000,000 1 Kanal


Date Fight Billing[49] Viewership (est.) Network Source(s)
2 July 2011
Wladimir Klitschko vs. David Haye
The Talk Ends Now[373]
Inter [279]
7 October 2013
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Alexander Povetkin
Klitschko vs. Povetkin
Inter [279]
Total viewership 44,000,000 Inter

United Kingdom[edit]

Pay-per-view bouts[edit]

Date Fight Billing[49] Pay-per-view buys Network Revenue (est.) Revenue (inflation) (est.) Source(s)
2 July 2011
Wladimir Klitschko vs. David Haye
The Talk Ends Now[373]
Sky Box Office
£50,000,000 ($80,000,000)
£61,000,000 ($91,000,000) [400][401][402][403]
28 November 2015
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Tyson Fury
Collision Course
Sky Box Office
£30,000,000 ($45,000,000)
£34,000,000 ($49,000,000) [404][405][406][407]
28 April 2017
Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko
Joshua vs. Klitschko
Sky Box Office
£50,000,000 ($65,000,000)
£53,000,000 ($68,000,000) [408][409][410][405][411]
Total sales 3,456,000 Sky Box Office £130,000,000 ($190,000,000) £148,000,000 ($208,000,000)


  1. ^ Wladimir Klitschko is a German transliteration of Russian: Владимир Кличко, IPA: [vlɐˈdʲimʲɪr klʲɪˈʂko]; an equivalent English spelling is Vladimir Klichko /ˈklɪk/. His full name in Ukrainian is: Володимир Володимирович Кличко, romanizedVolodymyr Volodymyrovych Klychko, IPA: [woloˈdɪmɪr woloˈdɪmɪrowɪtʃ klɪtʃˈkɔ].


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External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Regional boxing titles
Title last held by
Ike Ibeabuchi
WBC International
heavyweight champion

14 February 1998 – 5 December 1998
Succeeded by
Ross Puritty
Title last held by
Donovan Ruddock
WBA Inter-Continental
heavyweight champion

17 July 1999 – October 2000
Title next held by
Vitali Klitschko
Title last held by
Vitali Klitschko
European heavyweight champion
25 September 1999 – October 2000
Title next held by
Vitali Klitschko
Title last held by
Ross Puritty
WBC International
heavyweight champion

18 March 2000 – April 2000
Title next held by
Henry Akinwande
Title last held by
Vitali Klitschko
WBA Inter-Continental
heavyweight champion

30 August 2003 – April 2004
Title next held by
Nikolay Valuev
Preceded by
Samuel Peter
NABF heavyweight champion
24 September 2005 – April 2006
Title next held by
Samuel Peter
Title last held by
DaVarryl Williamson
NABO heavyweight champion
24 September 2005 – April 2006
Title next held by
Shannon Briggs
Minor world boxing titles
Title last held by
Lennox Lewis
IBO heavyweight champion
22 April 200628 November 2015
Succeeded by
Tyson Fury
Major world boxing titles
Preceded by
Chris Byrd
WBO heavyweight champion
14 October 20008 March 2003
Succeeded by
Corrie Sanders
IBF heavyweight champion
22 April 2006 – 28 November 2015
Succeeded by
Tyson Fury
Preceded by
Sultan Ibragimov
WBO heavyweight champion
23 February 2008 – 28 November 2015
Title last held by
Vitali Klitschko
The Ring heavyweight champion
20 June 2009 – 28 November 2015
New title WBA heavyweight champion
Super title

2 July 2011 – 28 November 2015
Adonis Stevenson
TKO1 Chad Dawson
ESPN Knockout of the Year
KO5 Kubrat Pulev

Canelo Álvarez
KO3 James Kirkland
Francisco Vargas vs.
Orlando Salido
The Ring Fight of the Year
vs. Anthony Joshua

BWAA Fight of the Year
vs. Anthony Joshua

Dillian Whyte vs.
Dereck Chisora
Round 5
ESPN Round of the Year
vs. Anthony Joshua
Round 5

Preceded by
Joe Louis
Most opponents beaten
for the world heavyweight championship

25 April 2015–present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Joe Louis
4 270 days
Longest cumulative world heavyweight
championship reign
4 382 days (12 years, 0 months, 0 days)
4 271 days on 14 August 2015

28 November 2015–present
Succeeded by