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Wladimir Klitschko Heavy Favorite To Retain Heavyweight Title

November 8, 2014

The heavyweight champion of the world used to be the most recognized athlete in the world. But since the downfall of probably Mike Tyson that has changed. Partly because boxing has so many alphabet organizations and also the rise of mixed martial arts, which has overtaken boxing in overall betting action at WagerWeb.

However, there is one heavyweight boxer known the world over and that’s Wladimir Klitschko. He will put his lineal IFB/WBO/WBA heavyweight belt on the line on Saturday, November 15, at the O2 World Arena in Hamburg, Germany, against Kubrat Pulev. WagerWeb oddsmakers expect another one-sided win for the champion as he is a heavy -700 favorite with Pulev at +450.

This fight was originally slated for Sept. 6, also at the O2 World, but Klitschko was forced to postpone the bout after suffering a torn left biceps during a sparring session in late August. He took about four weeks off before resuming training. The 38-year-old Klitschko (62-3, 53 KOs), a 1996 Olympic gold medalist from Ukraine, will be making his 17th title defense. His 16 successful defenses during his second title reign are the third most in heavyweight history behind only Joe Louis (25) and Larry Holmes (20), and his eight-year-plus reign is second all-time to Louis’ record 11 years, 8 months, 8 days.

Klitschko knocked Australia’s Alex Leapai, a mandatory challenger, out in the fifth round in Klitschko’s last bout on April 26, also in Germany.  Leapai went down when he was hit with a left-right combination. He got up but Klitschko put him away for good with 58 seconds left in the fifth. In his 25th world championship fight, Klitschko retained his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight belts, as well as the lineal title. Klitschko’s last loss was a big upset to Lamon Brewster in April 2004 but Klitschko then beat Brewster a few years later.

The 33-year-old Pulev (20-0, 11 KOs) is a former European champion from Bulgaria. He assumed the role of mandatory challenger to Klitschko with a unanimous decision over Tony Thompson in an IBF International heavyweight title fight in August 2013. Pulev has fought twice since then while waiting for this title fight to be ordered by the IBF, last beating Ivica Perkovic on April 5 by third-round knockout. The IBF finally ordered the Klitschko-Pulev bout in May.

Incidentally, Thompson is a common opponent between these two. Klitschko beat Thompson by sixth-round TKO in July 2012 and by 11th-round knockout in July 2008.