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Fri Apr 25 10:15:49 SAST 2014

Age no barrier for Klitschko

Steve Douglas, Sapa-AP | 09 January, 2012 16:400 Comments
Vitali Klitschko v Dereck Chisora - Press Conference
Ukrainian boxer Vitali Klitschko attends a press conference at Olympic Hall on December 15, 2011 in Munich, Germany. Vitali Klitschko of Ukraine will defend his WBC heavyweight title against Dereck Chisora of Great Britain at Olympic Hall on February 18, 2012 in Munich
Image by: Alexandra Beier / Bongarts/Getty Images

Dismissing concerns about his age, veteran heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko vowed on Monday to use all his experience to snuff out the challenge of Britain’s Dereck Chisora in their WBC title fight next month and maintain his family’s domination of the division.

At 40, Klitschko is the second-oldest boxer to hold a world heavyweight title behind American George Foreman, who was 45 when he knocked out Michael Moorer to reclaim the WBA belt in Las Vegas in 1994.

A big underdog, the 27-year-old Chisora will look to use his agility and quick hands to get inside the Ukrainian’s massive reach in a bid to produce one of the biggest heavyweight shocks of recent times in Munich on Feb. 18.

However, Klitschko has encountered few problems defending his title seven times since winning it back in 2008 and has the experience of 15 world title fights to fall back on.

“I’m going to have to prove not just my boxing skills but my age against Dereck,” Klitschko said at a news conference in London. “I am 40 but I feel 25. I am in great condition, great form and have great experience.

“The main thing in life is experience, in all jobs and also in boxing. I have defended my title against many styles. I don’t want to break the record of George Foreman but 40 isn’t old — I’ll show that.” 

Vitali — a winner of 43 of his 45 fights — and brother Wladimir have held all the heavyweight belts between them since the younger sibling defeated David Haye on points in July last year to add the Briton’s WBA belt to his IBF and WBO straps.

Chisora, who has won 15 of his 17 fights, said the division had became stale and a turn-off to fans during the Klitschkos’ era of dominance.

“Everybody’s tired of you and your brother,” Chisora said.

“There’s no excitement in the ring. It’s time for the new king.

“People want a new relief in boxing. Him and his brother have killed the sport I love.”   

Chisora was scheduled to fight Wladimir last year but the Ukrainian pulled out on two occasions because of injury.

The Briton has earned another shot at a world belt despite losing his last two fights, to compatriot Tyson Fury to lose his Commonwealth and British titles and then to Finland’s Robert Helenius in Helsinki in a European Heavyweight title bout.

Vitali Klitschko added to the throng of observers who claim Chisora was unfortunate to lose against Helenius.

“Many people say the fights of the Klitschko brothers are boring. That’s because we win,” Vitali said. “We need to fight someone who can beat us. I think Dereck can do that.

“He beat Robert Helenius. He beat a future world champion. Can he beat a real world champion? I have studied him very well and I know the fight will be interesting. For the crowd and for me.” 

The criticism of the judges’ scoring of the Helenius-Chisora bout came prior to the recent furor surrounding last month’s light-welterweight fight between Lamont Peterson and Amir Khan in Washington, DC.

Khan lost his IBF and WBA belts to the American on a split decision after being docked two points for pushing but the Briton has raised questions about the legitimacy of Peterson’s victory, launching an appeal with the IBF.

The WBA, meanwhile, is studying images of an unidentified man that Khan has accused of interfering with the judges and leaning over a WBA supervisor during the fight.

Chisora’s promoter, Frank Warren, has called for neutral judges and officials at the Olympiahalle in Munich.

“We’ve seen controversial things happen in these fights,” Warren  told The Associated Press. “I don’t want any German officials, any British officials — everything to be absolutely neutral.” 

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