by Johnny Walker
World heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko continued his domination of the heavyweight division tonight by pummeling game Polish challenger Mariusz Wach over twelve rounds in Hamburg, Germany.
Klitschko (59-3, 50 KOs) came out aggressive, and Wach’s face was already reddened by the end of the first round. Wach steadied himself in round two, but Klitschko kept up the tempo and continued the assault in round three, bouncing his powerful left jab off of Wach’s face at will.
Wach’s (27-1, 15 KOs) only moment of joy came near the end of round five, when he stunned Klitschko with a right hand. Klitschko was hanging on as the round ended; had Wach delivered the shot earlier in the round, the fight may have taken another path.
As it was, Klitschko trainer Johnathon Banks, taking over for the recently deceased Emanuel Steward, calmed the champion between rounds and from then on, it was a one-man show, with Wach demonstrating an iron chin and great willpower but not enough boxing skill to mix it with the champion. Klitschko’s footwork was better than ever in this fight; he continues to elevate his game at age 36.
In round eight, Klitschko pushed hard to close the show, but Wach stayed on his feet during a barrage of punches and survived.
Rounds nine and ten were quiet, as Klitschko was careful to avoid punching himself out. In round eleven, Wach cut Klitschko’s left eye with a right hand, and there was also visible bruising beneath the eye as well. But the champion remained in control.
In the final round, Klitschko tried once again to stop the giant Polish challenger, but Wach proved that not only does he have a lantern jaw, but an iron jaw as well. Wach absorbed some huge punches and made it to the final bell, still trying to land another big shot of his own.
The judges scored the fight 120-107 (twice) and 119-109 for the champion.
“I have a lot of respect for Mariusz Wach,” said Klitschko after the fight.
“I didn’t know a man could take so much punishment. There was no shot that could put him down.”