Wladimir Klitschko will defend the world heavyweight championship against the undefeated Philadelphia native Bryant Jennings on 25 April at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The fight will mark Klitschko’s first bout on American soil in seven years, which he won via unanimous decision over Russian Sultan Ibragimov, in 2008.
After Deontay Wilder’s successful fight against former WBC titleholder Bermane Stiverne, it is another opportunity for an American heavyweight to win a heavyweight championship. With Klitschko in possession of the rest of the titles, a victory in this bout would almost certainly guarantee calls for a unification bout between Klitschko and Wilder.
On one hand, you have Klitschko, who has dominated the division for the past 12 years and Wilder- an undefeated, flashy fighter who possesses deleterious punching power.
Jennings (19-0, 10 KO) will have the chance to unseat Klitschko (63-3, 53 KO), but does he have a chance? For most of the boxing community, Bryant Jennings is a name that people have never heard until the past few months. Jennings, 30, had an ephemeral amateur career.
In addition, his most notable victory to date was against the long-faded heavyweight titlist Siarhei Liakhovich, in 2012. A fighter that Deontay Wilder knocked out so badly in their bout, in 2013, Liakhovich twitched unquenchably until medical personnel attended to him. When it comes to experience, it is Klitschko that has the conspicuous advantage.
Since losing to Lamon Brewster in 2004, Klitschko is 21-0 with 15 knockouts. Klitschko has been criticized for not fighting enough in the United States, which some believe has had a negative impact on his marketability in this day and age. Klitschko named ‘The Greatest’ Muhammad Ali as an example of a fighter who lived and breathed by the name of ‘world champion.’
“Well, I have been fighting in the states and fighting in Europe, world champion means you have to go around the world, like Muhammad Ali,” he explained. “I remember Max Schmeling when he was alive, my brother and I were mad at him, and he said if you really want to make it, you have to make it in the states.”
For the record, Muhammad Ali fought in 8 different countries while being world champion while Max Schmeling only fought inside the United States for his major belts, and Klitschko, has fought in four countries. Klitschko will continue to follow the examples set by Ali and Schmeling as he attempts to make his 19th consecutive title defense on 25 April.
“It is exciting to be back at the Garden,” said Klitschko. “If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.” “This event is going to be live on TV in over 150 countries, which makes it all happen. The rest I will clarify in the ring with my competitors as I have done in previous years,” he added.
The topic of retirement for Wladimir Klitschko pops in his head all the time, but Klitschko asserted himself that it is his true professionalism that has been displayed throughout his illustrious career that drives him to continue to box.
“It is challenging,” he added.