IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion, Vladimir Klitschko (57-3, 50 KO’s) will be defending his title against a 40-year boxing gladiator, Tony Thompson (36-2, 24 KO’s) on July 7th at the Stade de Suisse, in Berne, Switzerland. Klitschko, a brother of Vitali Klitschko, has been reigning as the unified heavyweight champion for long and is being reputed as one of the best boxers of all time.
Tony Thompson, on the other hand, is another redoubtable boxing titan, who had in the past; put some of his opponents to a sword, which makes this July clash a top boxing fight this year. Klitschko-Thompson fight is expected to be a great fight that will stand the test of time. Thompson actually isn’t a bad fighter when compared to the other opponents Klitschko has beaten in the last four years.
Some boxing analysts have opined that no matter how good or well prepared Thompson is for this fight, Klitschko has a better chance and will still induct him in the hall of pain and defeat. They further maintained that Klitschko is much too quick and powerful for Thompson to have any chance of winning the fight.
Four years ago, Thompson gave Klitschko a lot of problems in their fight and lost by an 11th round TKO. Thompson, however, had a bad right knee, and Klitschko seemed to be well aware of this because he kept leaning on Thompson in the late rounds, making Thompson hold up Klitschko’s weight.
Eventually, Thompson hurt his knee which led to Thompson getting stopped in the 11th. Thompson no longer has knee problems, so Klitschko is going to have to find another way of beating him this time instead of clinching him into submission.
Thompson won’t be able to avoid Klitschko’s constant clinching. When fighting Klitschko, it’s a given that he’s clinches 8 to 12 times per round. Experts say what Thompson needs to do is either hook Klitschko with right hands or nail him with straight lefts just as is shooting forward with his arms outstretched for yet another clinch.
Meanwhile, since 2005, Klitschko has been the dominant force in the heavyweight division, defeating a majority of the top heavyweights in the rankings. When Klitschko won the IBF title against Chris Byrd, there were four separate heavyweight champions.
Since then, he has unified the IBF, IBO, WBO & WBA belts and defeated the WBA Champion in recess. Following his win over Ruslan Chagaev, Klitschko was awarded the vacant Ring Magazine Heavyweight title.
Klitschko was born in Semipalatinsk (now Semey, Kazakhstan). Though a celebrity in his former adopted home of Germany, he moved with his older brother Vitali to Beverly Hills, California, USA, in 2004.
Their father, Vladimir Rodionovich 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. Their mother is Nadezhda Ulyanovna.
In the summer of 1996, Klitschko finished Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky Pedagogical Institute (Ukraine) and was accepted in the postgraduate study program of Kiev University.
On 18 January 2001, in a conference hall of Kiev University of physical science and sports, Klitschko presented his doctoral dissertation and was awarded a PhD in Sports Science. Klitschko speaks four languages: Ukrainian, Russian, German and English.
Apart from Byrd and Chagaev, Klitschko has also defeated the likes of Samuel Peter, Eliseo Castillo, Ray Austin, Sultan Ibragimov, Tony Thompson, Ruslan Chagaev, Eddie Chambers, Eddie Chambers, David Haye etc.
The unified heavyweight champion has been moving strength to strength in his brutality against opponents. Klitschko will be girding his loins to face Thompson again after putting him to a rout in their first clash.
In drawing analogy between Mike Tyson and Wladimir Klitschko, some pundits have argued that Klitschko is better than Tyson whereas, others opt for Tyson as better than Klitschko. Well, both champions faced rivals that could have been qualified as average opposition.
Physically, they are different, Tyson is only 5´11” tall and weighed around 210 pounds while Klitschko is 6´6” tall and weighs around 245 pounds for a title fight; but both are blessed with an outstanding athletic build.
If these champions could have faced each other while still in their prime who would prevail? The methodical effective style of Klitschko, who makes the most out of his size, height and reach; or the mean aggressive style of Tyson, who was blessed with fulminate punching power.
Maybe both will be criticized due to the average opposition that they faced, but is it the first time the heavyweight division presented few talented contenders?
Which are the reasons boxing fans have lost interest in the heavyweight division? Is it due to the lack of talented fighters or the lack of charisma of the champions? Maybe it is because of the lack of talent of the top contenders who do not have impressive boxing skills.
Could it be that the skills of the heavyweight’s boxers have not diminished instead the taste of the boxing fans has changed that they now demand that the big boys should be even better than they historically have been?
Could it be that boxing fans no longer have fun watching big fighters who do not have great mobility or speed, who also look overweight; maybe now the heavyweight contenders need to look like prime Tyson, Holyfield, Vitali or Wladimir instead of looking like Arreola, Chagaev, Solis or Chambers?
Besides the size, the major differences between Mike Tyson and Wladimir Klitschko might be the boxing style, fame and magnetic charisma of Iron Mike. He owned a heavyweight era and was able to draw big ratings worldwide.
Meanwhile, Klitschko simply can’t do the same; he is the most dominant heavyweight champion in the last seven years but still is unable to generate interest in the major weight division.
Prime Iron Mike Tyson had a murderous punching power, great mobility, he was not an easy target because he continuously bob & weaved, he was good slipping power punches, he threw combinations to the head and body with quite ease, great speed and accuracy, great chin and his aggressiveness was legendary.
His major weakness was his height and reach that did not correspond to the average heavyweight fighters. As opinions are divided, the quality of the boxing skills of the majority of Tyson opponents while in his prime is left to those who ollowed him closely. I believe the only two notables are Larry Holmes and Michael Spinks, he defeated both but they might not be in their prime when they fought him.
Klitschko is as strong as an ox. He is determined and disciplined inside the ring, possesses great jab, hard right, good power in both hands, good defensive skills but maybe relies on his size too much. His major weakness is his chin. He has been knocked out by three fighters that won’t be remembered once they retire.
Also, he is not able to recover when he is hurt. Once he is wobbled, he is in high risk of getting knocked out. Maybe that is the main reason of why he has a risk free boxing style.