Wladimir Klitschko on Deontay Wilder: ‘I’m glad that he won’
Although RING heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko did not watch former sparring partner Deontay Wilder’s WBC title-winning unanimous decision over Bermane Stiverne on Saturday, the former Olympic gold medalist said, “I’m glad that he won.”
Also holder of the IBF, WBA and WBO belts, Klitschko made his comments to boxing writer Gordon Marino of the Wall Street Journal within hours of the victory by Wilder (33-0, 32 knockouts), a 29-year-old resident of Tuscaloosa, Ala., who became America’s first beltholder since Shannon Briggs in 2007.
“I didn’t see the fight but know the results,” said Klitschko, 38. “Good for DW. I’m glad that he won. I think it’s better for the sport that he did it.”
Klitschko (63-3, 53 KOs) is headed for an April 25 defense of his title opposite Bryant Jennings (19-0, 10 KOs) at New York’s Madison Square Garden on HBO. THE RING’s No. 5-rated heavyweight, Jennings will try to end Klitschko’s reign that will have reached nine years on April 22.
THE RING’S No. 2-rated heavyweight behind No. 1-rated former title challenger Alexander Povetkin, Wilder said there is “no way” Jennings defeats Klitschko.
Klitschko is coming off a fifth-round stoppage of previously undefeated Kubrat Pulev in November in the first of a three-fight deal Klitschko made with HBO. Klitschko made his 17th straight defense with the stoppage of Pulev, representing Klitschko’s 26th title bout. His record in title bouts is 24-2 including 22 defenses (over two reigns) that ranks second only to that of the 25 (all consecutive) by the legendary Joe Louis.