By: Michael Gerard Seiler
Wladimir Klitschko (61-3, 51 KO's) retained his Ring Magazine, WBA Super World, IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight titles by unanimous decision over previously unbeaten, Alexander Povetkin (26-1, 18 KO's). Official ringside judges Ted Gimza, Glenn Feldman and Philipe Verbeke scored the bout 119-104 for the Ukrainian bruiser.
A former 1996 Olympic Gold medalist, the 37-year old Klitschko landed enough sharp, effective punches to preserve his throne atop boxing's lackluster heavyweight division. Despite scoring four knockdowns in the fight, Klitschko did not turn out his usual stellar performance. Povetkin, a 2004 Olympic Gold medalist, provided Klitschko with his stiffest test since he lost in 2004 via TKO 5 to Lamon Brewster. Klitschko's record since that loss to Brewster has been a domineering 19-0, 14 KO's, although to mostly inferior opposition.
During the opening round on Saturday at the Olimpiyskiy in Moscow, Russia, Povetkin weaved in and out, lunging with wild punches to keep Klitschko off-balanced. Then, Klitschko fired and connected with a short left hook, stinging the aggressive challenger. Povetkin's pressure threw Klitschko's routine timing off.
Nonetheless, Klitschko began to find his range behind a hard left jab in round two, flooring Povetkin with a sudden left hook at 2:42.
Povetkin, 34, was wild with his punch output in the third round, enabling the seasoned Klitschko to nail him with a crisp, right-hand shot.
In rounds four and five, it seemed as if the pressure Povetkin applied started to tire the slightly older Klitschko, forcing him out of rhythm yet again.
In round six, Povetkin sustained a cut under his right eye. Both fighters clinched a great deal, as Klitschko used his weight to lean on Povetkin after he unleashed his combinations. Regardless, Povetkin scored with a solid overhand right in the last minute of the round.
Klitschko totally controlled round seven, dropping Povetkin three times. Klitschko scored the first knockdown behind a quick left jab-right cross-left hook combination. Moments later after a clinch, Klitschko let go a devastating right uppercut, followed by a destructive left hook, dropping an unyielding Povetkin again. Then, another powerful left hook put Povetkin on the canvas once more. Povetkin rose to his feet determined to close the distance and hurt Klitschko.
As round eight began, Povetkin connected with a glancing overhand right. Nevertheless, Klitschko wobbled Povetkin with consecutive, heavy left jabs in the last minute. Afterward, Povetkin displayed immense swelling underneath his right eye.
In round nine, Klitschko shoved Povetkin to the canvas with his left hand.
Undeterred by Klitschko's six-inch reach advantage, Povetkin kept pressuring Klitschko with a series of wild shots in the eleventh round. When Povetkin got careless, Klitschko tellingly connected with his patented left jab-right cross-left hook combination. Klitschko received a one-point deduction from referee Luis Pabon for once again shoving Povetkin down. Klitschko exhibited a minor abrasion below his right eye when the round concluded.
Klitschko definitively fought off an assailing Povetkin in the twelfth and final round with a consistent and punishing left jab. Povetkin continued to slip some of Klitschko's jabs, relentlessly charging forward until the final bell.
Currently, Wladimir Klitschko is the 4th longest reigning heavyweight champion of all-time, behind only Joe Louis, Larry Holmes and Jack Dempsey. The victory marked Klitschko's 15th consecutive title defense. Joe Louis holds the all-time record with 25 successful defenses. Klitschko now sports an impressive (22-2, 17 KO's) professional record in world title fights.