W. Klitschko to face Mariusz Wach

Updated: August 24, 2012, 11:01 AM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko, virtually untouched during his six-year title reign, will look to add to his increasingly historic run when he makes defense No. 13 against undefeated Mariusz Wach on Nov. 10 at the O2 World arena in Hamburg, Germany.

Klitschko's K2 Promotions announced the long-rumored bout on Friday.

The 32-year-old Wach (27-0, 15 KOs), who is from Poland but lives and trains in New Jersey, has a glittering record but a thin résumé. However, he at least matches up to Klitschko in the size department.

To date, all of Klitschko's opponents have been smaller than he is (6-foot-6, 249 pounds). Wach, at 6-7, 250, will be the first opponent to have even a slight height advantage.

"The big challenge for me is Wach's height," Klitschko said. "It is the first time that I am facing an opponent who is taller than me and has a better reach. He is unbeaten, a big puncher and has an irrepressible will."

Wach, a two-time Polish amateur champion who turned pro in 2005, has not beaten any contenders, although he has knocked out three experienced journeymen in his past three fights: Tye Fields, Jason Gavern and Kevin McBride. McBride is best known for knocking out the faded Mike Tyson in 2005 and sending him into retirement.

Wach is hoping to accomplish against Klitschko what Polish contenders Tomasz Adamek and Albert Sosnowski failed to do in knockout losses to his older brother and fellow heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko.

"My fellow countrymen Adamek and Sosnowski did not have what it takes to beat a Klitschko," Wach said. "I am not a former cruiserweight (like Adamek) but a real heavyweight. Klitschko will take a lot of hard punches before I knock him out. I will be the first Polish world heavyweight champion."

The fight will be Klitschko's third of the year. In March, he blitzed former cruiserweight titlist Jean-Marc Mormeck in a dominant fourth-round knockout and then battered mandatory challenger Tony Thompson into an uncompetitive sixth-round knockout in a rematch on July 7.

Those wins boosted the 36-year-old Klitschko (58-3, 51 KOs) to 19-2 with 16 KOs in world title bouts during two reigns. In his current reign, he has a 12-0 mark with 10 KOs, and none of his challengers has been remotely competitive.

Although Klitschko is not facing a well-known opponent in Wach, he is at least staying busy. Klitschko has not fought three times in a year since 2008, and it will be only the second time he will fight three bouts in one year since 2003.

"I love to stay busy, and I'm happy to perform three times a year," Klitschko said.

Said Bernd Boente, Klitschko's manager, "(Trainer) Manny (Steward) and Wladimir both think that Wladimir shows his best performances when he is active."

Klitschko will be fighting in Hamburg for the first time since his one-sided decision against David Haye in July 2011, when he unified three belts, allowing him and his brother to hold all of the major heavyweight titles simultaneously. Hamburg is also where Klitschko turned professional in 1996 after winning the 1996 Olympic super heavyweight gold medal for Ukraine.

"To fight in Hamburg once again is very special to me," he said. "Here I started my professional career, and last year Vitali's and my dream to unify all heavyweight titles in the Klitschko family became true."

Two news conferences are scheduled to formally announce the bout next week, Tuesday in Hamburg and Wednesday in Warsaw, Poland.

Boente said American television coverage of the fight is not yet set, although Klitschko's past two bouts have been on Epix, which has also aired two of Vitali's past three fights. HBO will cover Vitali's defense against Manuel Charr on Sept. 8 in Moscow.

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