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Klitschko vows to beat Wach in Steward’s honor

Fighters Network


Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel “Manny” Steward will be ever-present in the mind of RING, IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko as he defends his belts against Polish-born challenger Mariusz Wach in an EPIX-televised clash from the O2 World Arena in Hamburg, Germany, on Saturday.

Before his death on Oct. 25 at the age of 68, Steward instructed Klitschko (58-3-1, 51 knockouts) to replace him with chief sparring partner Johnathon Banks in preparation for Wach (27-0, 15 KOs).

“It took quite a time, and I have put a huge effort in getting these belts,” said Klitschko, 36, during a Monday press conference promoting the clash from the Google Germany HQ in Hamburg.

“I am 100 percent prepared to defend my titles again and I know what I will be facing in the ring on Saturday. I will defend the titles that I won together with Emanuel Steward.”

The 6-foot-6 Klitschko will be after his 17th straight victory and his 13th knockout during that run against the 6-7 1/2 Wach, 32, who represents the first time that Klitschko will face a taller rival.

Wach has won his past seven fights by knockout, and owns a fourth-round stoppage victory in July of last year over Kevin McBride, whose sixth-round knockout in June of 2005 retired Mike Tyson.

“I know it will be a very difficult fight, but I am prepared for anything,” said Wach. “If it’s gonna be 12 rounds, I am prepared, if it’s gonna be a technical fight I am prepared. I will do anything to get Klitschko’s titles. This fight will be very special and will be memorized by the boxing fans.”

Wladimir and his older brother, WBC beltholder Vital Klitschko, will continue to have their fights on German TV station RTL, according to Bernd B├Ânte, managing director of the Klitschko Management Group.

B├Ânte and RTL Sports Chief Manfred Loppe signed a new contract for five further fights, regardless of which brother enters the ring. KMG and RTL have a six-year, 21-fight relationship.

After coaching Klitschko, Banks (28-1-1, 18 KOs) will face unbeaten Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell (25-0-1, 19 KOs) on Nov. 17 as part of a doubleheader featuring undefeated former WBO junior lightweight beltholder Adrien Broner challenging WBC lightweight titleholder Antonio DeMarco at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

The 6-3 Banks is 8-0-1 with four knockouts in his past nine bouts, last falling by eighth-round stoppage as a 200-pounder to Tomasz Adamek in February of 2009 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Being televised on EPIX as the Klitschko-Wach co-feature is the return of heavyweight Robert Helenius (17-0, 11 KOs) opposite Sherman “Tank” Williams (39-11-2, 19 KOs), of Vero Beach, Fla., from The Ice Hall in Helsinki, Finland.

Read more:

Steward inspires Banks, Klitschko against Wach

Klitschko faces tall order in Wach

Q&A Banks: ‘This is for Emanuel Steward’

Guerrero dedicates Berto fight to Steward

HBO to honor Steward

A tribute to Emanuel Steward

Buffer calls Steward ‘an icon’

Q&A Hearns: ‘Steward was like the father I never had’

Remembering Emanuel Steward

Emanuel Steward — 1944-2012

Photos / Getty Images (Ronald C. Modra) and AFP

Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]