Heavyweight World Championship Fights & Title Claims
Full heavyweight fight details from 1877 to September 2016 (plus cruiser, light heavy and super middle) are available in this definitive companion book:
Full Fight Details from 2000 Onwards
22 September 2018. Anthony Joshua w rsc 7 Alexander Povetkin.
Venue: The Stadium, Wembley, London, England. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBO. Referee: Steve Gray.
31 March 2018. Anthony Joshua w pts 12 Joseph Parker.
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBO. Referee: Giuseppe Quartarone..
Scorecards: 118-110, 118-110, 119-109.
On 11 August, Trevor Bryan stopped BJ Flores inside four rounds at the Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, Arizona, USA to win the vacant WBA ‘interim’ title.
3 March 2018. Deontay Wilder w rsc 10 Luis Ortiz.
Venue: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: David Fields.
4 November 2017. Deontay Wilder w rsc 1 Bermane Stiverne.
Venue: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Arthur Mercante Jnr.
28 October 2017. Anthony Joshua w rsc 10 Carlos Takam.
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Recognition: IBF/WBA. Referee: Phil Edwards.
Manuel Charr won the vacant WBA ‘second tier’ title when outpointing Alexander Ustinov over 12 rounds at the Koenig Pilsener Arena, Oberhausen, Germany on 25 November.
23 September 2017. Joseph Parker w pts 12 Hughie Fury.
Venue: The Arena, Manchester, England. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Marcus McDonnell.
Scorecards: 118-110, 118-110, 114-114.
6 May 2017. Joseph Parker w pts 12 Razvan Cojanu.
Venue: Vodafone Events Centre, Manukau City, New Zealand. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Mike Ortega.
Scorecards: 117-110, 117-110, 119-108.
29 April 2017. Anthony Joshua w rsc 11 Wladimir Klitschko.
Venue: The Stadium, Wembley, London, England. Recognition: IBF/WBA. Referee: David Fields.
25 February 2017. Deontay Wilder w rsc 5 Gerald Washington.
Venue: Legacy Arena, Birmingham, Alabama, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Michael Griffin.
10 December 2016. Joseph Parker w pts 12 Andy Ruiz.
Venue: Vector Arena, Auckland, New Zealand. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Tony Weeks.
Scorecards: 115-113, 115-113, 114-114.
10 December 2016. Anthony Joshua w rsc 3 Eric Molina.
Venue: The Arena, Manchester, England. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Steve Gray.
16 July 2016. Deontay Wilder w rtd 8 Chris Arreola.
Venue: Legacy Arena, Birmingham, Alabama, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jack Reiss.
Fight Summary: Winning every round contested, Wilder (226¼) maintained his undefeated record when forcing the challenger's corner to retire their man at the end of the eighth round despite damaging his right hand in the fourth. There was no doubting that Arreola (246¼) was always dangerous, but in the fourth he was rescued by the bell after being battered to the floor by a volley of solid shots from both hands. Although Arreola continued it was obvious that he was taking too much punishment from Wilder's thudding fists and it was no surprise when the end came.
25 June 2016. Anthony Joshua w rsc 7 Dominic Breazeale.
Venue: O2 Arena, Greenwich, London, England. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Howard Foster.
Fight Summary: Boxing patiently against a determined challenger who mainly resided behind a high guard, Joshua (243¼) showed that he could box as well as punch when gradually walking his man down. Winning every round against the slightly taller Breazeale (255), using jabs, hooks and an occasional solid right, Joshua was ready to get going by the seventh. Finally catching up with Breazeale after a hard left had shaken him, Joshua took his man to the ropes where he proceeded to thump him down with punches from both hands. On getting up there was no respite for Breazeale, and following vicious blows from both hands he fell to the floor where he was immediately rescued by the referee on the 1.01 mark.
9 April 2016. Anthony Joshua w co 2 Charles Martin.
Venue: O2 Arena, Greenwich, London, England. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Jean-Pierre Van Imschoot.
Fight Summary: After just 15 pro contests the 2012 Olympic champion, Joshua (244), was clearly ready to be unleashed in the eyes of his management. With Joshua moving in on the southpaw champion from the opening bell there was an air of expectancy as he started to unload solid shots. Having hurt Martin (245) towards the end of the first Joshua was soon at work in the second, and after being belted to the body the American moved straight into a cracking right hand that left him on the floor. At first it looked as though Martin would not make it, but when he did he was there for the taking as far as Joshua was concerned. Getting up, wide open defensively, Martin again walked into a smashing right that deposited him on the floor. This time it was curtains for Martin as the referee continued counting him out, the finish being timed at 1.32.
16 January 2016. Deontay Wilder w rsc 9 Artur Szpilka.
Venue: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Michael Griffin.
Fight Summary: Remaining elusive right up until the end, the southpaw challenger gave Wilder (228¾) a run for his money as he moved in and out with the jab to frustrate his man before getting away. There was never much between them but by the fifth Wilder was beginning to have some success with the right hand, Szpilka (239) being forced to take a cracking uppercut in that session. Gradually Wilder was cutting the ring down and several times he went close before eventually catching Szpilka in the ninth with a cracking short right to the jaw. With the count being a formality, the referee called it off at 'five' when it became apparent that Szpilka required immediate treatment.
16 January 2016. Charles Martin w rsc 3 Vyacheslav Glazkov.
Venue: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Albert Earl Brown.
Fight Summary: Fighting for the vacant IBF title forfeited by Tyson Fury, it was Martin (249½), a southpaw, who came out the winner at 1.50 of the third after the unfortunate Glazkov (218) tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and was unable to fight on. Up until then it had not been much of a contest, with little action forthcoming. The injury came about in the third after Glazkov went down without being hit and although getting up when he went over again the referee brought matters to a halt.
28 November 2015. Tyson Fury w pts 12 Wladimir Klitschko.
Venue: ESPRIT Arena, Dusseldorf, Germany. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBO/The Ring. Referee: Tony Weeks.
Scorecards: 115-112, 115-112, 116-111.
Fight Summary: There was no doubt that it was a massive shock to many fight fans when the 6'9" Fury (247) outpointed Klitschko (245¾), thus picking up four championship belts and achieving what he said he would do beforehand. Switching from orthodox to southpaw and back again, standing sideways on to Klitschko with his hands down created problems in the latter's mind, and with Fury's movement making it hard for the champion to throw left-rights the fight was turned on its head. The sheer size and strength of Fury, allied to his excellent movement, also bothered Klitschko. Although many of the rounds were close it was Fury's punch stats of 86 from 371 as opposed Klitschko's 52 of 231 and his better work-rate that ultimately counted, even though so few punches landing was said to be unheard of in a distance fight of such magnitude. By the seventh Klitschko was cut under the left eye, and in the tenth he was cut over the right eye following a clash of heads before Fury was docked a point in the 11th for punching behind the head. The final session saw Fury out of the blocks fast just to make sure that there were no doubts in the judges' minds, holding his arms aloft at the bell.
Just a week or so later, on 8 December, after agreeing to a contractual return against Klitschko the IBF stripped Fury for not meeting their mandatory challenger, Vyacheslav Glazkov, instead.
On 19 December, Luis Ortiz retained his WBA 'interim' title when stopping Bryant Jennings inside seven rounds at the Turning Stone Casino Resort, Verona, New York, USA. Having taken on Tony Thompson (w co 6 at The Armoury, Washington DC, USA on 5 March 2016), Ortiz failed to be given WBA approval as an 'interim' defence as his opponent was not rated in the top 15.
Ruslan Chagaev lost his WBA 'second tier' title on 5 March 2016 when he was stopped in ten rounds by Lucas Browne at the Coliseum Sports Hall, Drozd, Russia. When Browne forfeited the title on 15 May 2016 after testing positive for Clenbuterol, a banned drug, Chagaev was reinstated. Stripped on 25 July 2016 for not paying his sanctioning fee, Chagaev announced his retirement from boxing due to ongoing eye problems.
Fury relinquished his WBA and WBO titles on 12 October 2016 in order to give himself time to recover from depression away from the public eye. This was followed by the BBBoC suspending his licence pending further investigation into anti-doping and medical matters.
Luis Ortiz was stripped of the WBA ‘interim’ belt on 30 October 2016 after failing to agree to a defence against Alexander Ustinov.
Fury was stripped of The Ring championship belt on 1 February 2018 after failing to sign up for his long-awaited comeback fight by 31 January 2018.
26 September 2015. Deontay Wilder w rsc 11 Johann Duhaupas.
Venue: Legacy Arena, Birmingham, Alabama, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jack Reiss.
Fight Summary: This was a contest that was supposed to have an early ending as far as the bookies were concerned, but it did not work out that way as the tough challenger held up Wilder (228½) for more than ten rounds. Wilder, who was badly swollen under the left eye by third, was always in control but could not find the punches to floor the tough Duhaupas (236) who carried a cut left eye into the latter rounds. With both men tiring Wilder stunned Duhaupas with some heavy hooks to the head in the tenth, but was unable to extricate himself from the ensuing clinch. The fight was halted by the referee after 55 seconds of the 11th when Duhaupas was badly hurt by solid head shots, much to the disgust of the latter.
13 June 2015. Deontay Wilder w rsc 9 Eric Molina.
Venue: Bartow Arena, Birmingham, Alabama, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jack Reiss
Fight Summary: Defending his title for the first time the champion was expected to have little difficulty turning back Molina (239¼), but although he ultimately retained his belt he was forced to overcome some difficult moments en route. Having skated through the opening two sessions Wilder (229) was badly hurt in the third when Molina connected with a three-punch combination, but the latter was unable to follow up. Wilder's response came in the following session when he dropped Molina with a cracking left hook, and in the fifth he had his man down twice before the bell came to his rescue. In the sixth through to the eighth Molina found another gear to have Wilder gasping at times from assaults to the body, but at 1.03 of the ninth it was all over when the referee pulled the challenger out of the contest after a crunching right to the jaw had left him spread-eagled on the deck.
25 April 2015. Wladimir Klitschko w pts 12 Bryant Jennings.
Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBO/The Ring. Referee: Michael Griffin.
Scorecards: 118-109, 116-111, 116-111.
Fight Summary: With his four championship belts on the line, Klitschko (241½) was back in America to fight Jennings (226¾), a man on 19 straight but lacking the vast amateur experience of the champion. Despite Klitschko doing well with his commanding left jab to rack up the points it was noticeable that he had less luck with his normally potent right, which had to be down to Jennings' good movement and defence. Although Klitschko cruised through many of the rounds, he was not at his best in the third, sixth and ninth when Jennings got several punches off, and being continuously forced to hold on the inside in the later rounds he was docked a point in the tenth.
Ruslan Chagaev knocked out Francesco Pianeta inside a round to retain his WBO 'second tier' title at the GETEC Arena, Magdeburg, Germany on 11 July.
The vacant WBA 'interim' title was won by Luis Ortiz when he knocked out Matias Ariel Vidondo inside three rounds at Madison Square Garden on 17 October.
17 January 2015. Deontay Wilder w pts 12 Bermane Stiverne.
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Tony Weeks.
Scorecards: 118-109, 119-108, 120-107.
Fight Summary: Defending the title he won in May 2014, Stiverne (239) lost it by a wide points margin at the first time of asking when outpointed by Wilder (219). Getting away well Wilder hurt Stiverne badly in the second, and having been hammered non-stop throughout the session the latter went down dragging the challenger with him. There was no count from the referee, who stated that both men were on the floor after the bell had ended the round. With Wilder capturing the rounds, Stiverne was again hurt by a hard right in the fifth before coming under fire in the seventh. Although there were no knockdowns it was such an emphatic round for Wilder that all three judges marked it as 10-8. From thereon in, with Stiverne unable to cut the ring down, Wilder cruised to victory.
15 November 2014. Wladimir Klitschko w rsc 5 Kubrat Pulev.
Venue: 02 World Arena, Hamburg, Germany. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBO/The Ring. Referee: Tony Weeks.
Fight Summary: Being the IBF's mandatory contender allowed the unbeaten Pulev (246¾) to challenge Klitschko (245¾) for that title, but like many others before him he was found wanting. Strangely, Pulev's management team only paid the IBF sanctioning fee, so had he won the WBA and WBO titles would have become vacant. As far as Klitschko was concerned all four belts were on the line and he made a very fast start to drop Pulev twice in the opening session, the first time from a left hook, the second appearing to be more of a push than a punch. Despite somehow finding his way back into the fight, Pulev was smashed to the canvas via the ropes in the third following another left hook. Although Pulev bothered Klitschko in the fifth with a few blows of his own he was rescued by the referee, who abandoned the count at ‘six’, on the 2.11 mark, having taken a tremendous left hook to the jaw that left him prostrate on the floor. Klitschko’s Ring Championship Belt was also up for grabs in this one.
10 May 2014. Bermane Stiverne w rsc 6 Chris Arreola.
Venue: USC Galen Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jack Reiss.
Fight Summary: Contesting the vacant title following the abdication of Vitali Klitschko, it was Stiverne (239½) who took over the latter's mantle when stopping Arreola (239), a former victim, at 2.02 of the sixth round. For five rounds the contest was fairly even, both men having their success, but in the sixth it all changed when Arreola was dropped by a bunch of shots that followed a heavy right to the temple. Although Arreola made it up he was quickly sent down again from another bombardment, and after being allowed to continue the referee called it off when he was immediately put under fire.
26 April 2014. Wladimir Klitschko w rsc 5 Alex Leapai.
Venue: Konig Pilsener Arena, Oberhausen, Germany. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBO/The Ring. Referee: Eddie Cotton.
Fight Summary: Challenging Klitschko (247½) for the latter's four championship belts Leapai (248) made a poor start when being dropped by a left jab in the opening session. From there onwards it was never much of a contest as Leapai took punch after punch without any lateral movement while only throwing wild shots in the hope of catching his man. Having been floored by a left-right in the fifth after taking some hard rights to the head, on getting to his feet Leapai was quickly hammered to the deck again by another one-two. At that point the referee called it off at 2.05 of the session without taking up the count.
Ruslan Chagaev won the vacant WBA 'second tier' title when outpointing Fres Oquendo over 12 rounds at the Akhmat Arena, Grozny, Russia on 6 July.
In a battle for the vacant WBA 'interim' title, Luis Ortiz stopped Lateef Kayode in the opening session of their contest at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on 11 September. Ortiz was stripped of his title in January 2015 when testing positive for Nandrolone.
5 October 2013. Wladimir Klitschko w pts 12 Alexander Povetkin.
Venue: Olympic Stadium, Moscow, Russia. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBO/The Ring. Referee: Luis Pabon.
Scorecards: 119-104, 119-104, 119-104.
Fight Summary: Once again putting his four championship belts on the line, Klitschko (241¾) had to defend himself from swarming, swinging attacks in the opening session as Povetkin (225¾) tried to confuse him before being pushed down almost in anger. From the second round onwards Klitschko, who put Povetkin down in this session from a left hook, took over with hard lefts and rights making their mark. By the seventh, it already seemed mission impossible for Povetkin, and that was before he was counted over three times, all three judges marking it as a 10-6 round. When Povetkin was pushed to the floor heavily in the ninth and finished the session with a cut right eye one might have thought he'd had enough, but he was still there in the tenth. Continuing to take stiff lefts and rights in the tenth, Povetkin was again thrown to the floor in the 11th, a transgression that saw Klitschko deducted a point. After being wrestled to the canvas once again, this time in the 12th, Povetkin tore into Klitschko immediately prior to receiving a rousing ovation for his brave stand at the final bell. On the result, Povetkin lost his WBA 'second tier' title.
4 May 2013. Wladimir Klitschko w rsc 6 Francesco Pianeta.
Venue: SAP Arena, Mannheim, Germany. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBO/The Ring. Referee: Ernie Sharif.
Fight Summary: With his four championship belts once again on the line, Klitschko (249) powered to victory over the outgunned Pianeta (240), an Italian southpaw. Dropped in the fourth by a left-right, having been pushed down earlier, although Pianeta tried hard enough it was all downhill. Another punch-push from Klitschko in the fifth saw Pianeta counted over, but two of the judges decided that it was not a knockdown. However, in the sixth after a left-right-left had Pianeta on the floor again, the last two blows doing the damage, the referee called the fight off at 2.52 of the session despite the challenger being on his feet at 'nine'.
On 17 May, Alexander Povetkin made a successful defence of the WBA ‘second tier’ title when stopping Andrzej Wawrzyk inside three rounds at the Crocus City Hall, Moscow, Russia.
11 November 2012. Wladimir Klitschko w pts 12 Mariusz Wach.
Venue: 02 World Arena, Hamburg, Germany. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBO/The Ring. Referee: Eddie Cotton.
Scorecards: 120-107, 120-107, 119-109.
Fight Summary: Defending his four championship belts for the first time since the death of his trainer, Emanuel Steward, Klitschko (247) was up against a man who was even taller and heavier than him in Wach (251). Boxing well within himself Klitschko took every round, bar the fifth on one of the judges' cards when he was rocked by a cracking right hand. Apart from that Klitschko handed Wach quite a beating, his left-rights finding their mark on a regular basis, and in the eighth two of the judges made it a 10-8 round after he had badly battered the latter. Although Wach tired in the later rounds he was still there at the final bell, having proved his toughness.
8 September 2012. Vitali Klitschko w rsc 4 Manuel Charr.
Venue: Olympic Sports Complex, Moscow, Russia. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Guido Cavalleri.
Fight Summary: Although an undefeated fighter, Charr (241½) was up against it right from the opening bell as the champion jabbed him off with ease. In the second round things got worse for Charr when he was hurt by a body shot before being sent crashing following a heavy right to the head. Saved by the bell, Charr, outjabbed in the third, was badly cut over the right eye in the fourth, an injury that saw him being rescued by the referee at 2.04 of the session following advice from the ringside doctor.
Inactive for 15 months, Klitschko relinquished the WBC title on 16 December 2013 in order to concentrate on his political career in Ukraine and the coming elections in 2015. Following the announcement, the WBC appointed him an ‘emeritus champion'.
At the end of December 2013, the WBC ordered a match between Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola to decide the vacant title. This followed a contest for the WBC 'silver' title on 27 April 2013 at the Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, California, in which Stiverne had received a unanimous 12-round points win. The WBC went on to say that if the pair had failed to agree a match by 17 January 2014 the fight would go to purse bids.
7 July 2012. Wladimir Klitschko w rsc 6 Tony Thompson.
Venue: National Stadium, Bern, Switzerland. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBO/The Ring. Referee: Sam Williams.
Fight Summary: Getting another crack at Klitschko (246¼), whose four championship belts were up for grabs, Thompson (244¾) had hoped to do better this time around but was again found wanting. Down twice in the second from hard rights and pushes the southpaw challenger was right up against, and in the fifth he was again on the floor after taking another heavy right to the head. Although Thompson beat the count and was able to make it to the end of the session, he was stopped at 2.56 of the sixth having being battered to the floor and showing no interest in continuing when back on his feet.
Alexander Povetkin successfully defended the WBA ‘second tier’ title when stopping Hasim Rahman in the second round at the Sports Hall, Alsterdorf, Germany on 29 September.
3 March 2012. Wladimir Klitschko w rsc 4 Jean-Marc Mormeck.
Venue: Esprit Arena, Düsseldorf, Germany. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBO/The Ring. Referee: Luis Pabon.
Fight Summary: Putting all four championship belts on the line against Mormeck (217½) after the original date was cancelled due to Klitschko (246¾) having a kidney stone problem, the latter saw his opponent off quickly. Unable to find his range in the opener due to Mormeck's ducking and diving, Klitschko got to his man in the second when a right-left floored him. Having battered Mormeck for the remainder of the session, Klitschko again had difficulty getting to Mormeck in the third before dropping him with a three-punch combination in the fourth. Although Mormeck was up at 'nine' the referee considered that he was in no fit state to continue and stopped the fight on 1.12 mark.
18 February 2012. Vitali Klitschko w pts 12 Dereck Chisora.
Venue: Olympic Hall, Munich, Germany. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Guido Cavalleri.
Scorecards: 118-110, 118-110, 119-111.
Fight Summary: Even though the champion was in control for the majority of the fight, Chisora (241¼) gamely stuck to the task at hand and was never floored or embarrassed. Showing a good mentality regardless of all that had gone on prior to the bout, and despite lacking the power to finish Klitschko (243¾) off, Chicora’s work-rate kept him in the fight for the full 12 rounds. At best Chisora won two rounds, but he never let Klitschko relax even after he tired in the latter stages. Following the fight Klitschko claimed that a torn ligament in his left shoulder had made it difficult for him to use the left jab.
10 September 2011. Vitali Klitschko w rsc 10 Tomasz Adamek.
Venue: Miejski Stadium, Wroclaw, Poland. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Massimo Barrovecchio.
Fight Summary: By successfully defending his title against Adamek (216¼), a former champion at light heavy and cruiser, the 40-year-old Klitschko (243) once again proved that he and his brother could control the heavyweight division for as long as they were fit enough, such was their dominance. Adamek came into the contest knowing that he had to keep away from Klitschko's big punches, but he was systematically battered throughout and failed to win a round. In the sixth after a heavy right to the head forced Adamek against the ropes the referee gave him an 'eight' count having decided that the strands had saved him from going down. By the tenth Adamek had nothing left to offer, and following three heavy blows to the head the referee called the fight off at 2.20 of the session.
2 July 2011. Wladimir Klitschko w pts 12 David Haye.
Venue: Imtech Arena, Hamburg, Germany. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBO/The Ring. Referee: Genaro Rodriguez.
Scorecards: 118-108, 117-109, 116-110.
Fight Summary: A disappointing fight after all the hype, Haye (212¾), the WBA champion, went down widely on points, claiming that a broken toe suffered three weeks earlier was the reason for his poor performance. Even though Klitschko (242½), who came into the contest with three championship belts of his own, was deducted a point in the seventh round for pushing Haye down it barely mattered, such was his margin of victory. The real problem for Haye was that he could not get through Klitschko's guard, and even though the latter transgressed several times when pushing down on his challenger without warnings he was simply too big and strong. An example of this came in the 11th when Haye was counted over after being pushed down. Even when Haye got through with heavy punches to the head Klitschko remained unmoved, his solid left hands keeping the former at bay throughout.
On 27 August, at the Fair Hall, Erfurt, Germany, Alexander Povetkin outpointed Ruslan Chagaev over 12 rounds to win the vacant WBA ‘second tier’ title. Povetkin went on to retain the belt when knocking out Cedric Boswell in the eighth round of their contest at the Hartwall Arena, Helsinki, Finland, on 3 December. Another successful defence of the WBA ‘second tier’ title for Povetkin came on 25 February 2012 at the Porsche Arena, Stuttgart, Germany, when he outpointed Marco Huck over 12 rounds.
17 March 2011. Vitali Klitschko w rsc 1 Odlanier Solis.
Venue: Lanxess Arena, Cologne, Germany. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Lupe Garcia.
Fight Summary: Expected to give the champion a run for his money, Solis (247) was stopped at 2.59 of the opening session when a ruptured cruciate ligament in his right knee saw his title opportunity come to a grinding halt. The fight had started well enough with Solis, showing good speed, sending in scoring blows and beating Klitschko (249½) to the punch before it all changed. With both men still sizing each other up, the final piece of action came when Solis, having missed with a left hook and being pushed back by a Klitschko left jab, lost his balance and toppled over. Afterwards, Klitschko claimed that despite his speed Solis did not have the power to go with it and he had expected to win in the second half of the contest.
13 November 2010. David Haye w rsc 3 Audley Harrison.
Venue: MEN Arena, Manchester, England. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Luis Pabon.
Fight Summary: In what was a bad mismatch, the 39-year-old Harrison (253½), a former Olympic champion, was rescued by the referee after 1.53 of the third. With very little happening in the opening two sessions as both men sized each other up, it was the champion who made the running in the third when moving forward with solid rights, hooks and uppercuts. Caught in the headlights Harrison appeared unable to defend himself before toppling over and taking a count of 'nine', and after Haye (120½) jumped on him with some venom the referee called it off.
16 October 2010. Vitali Klitschko w pts 12 Shannon Briggs.
Venue: O2 World Arena, Hamburg, Germany. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Ian John-Lewis.
Scorecards: 120-107, 120-105, 120-106.
Fight Summary: Showing tremendous spirit to last the distance against a dominant champion, Briggs (262½) suffered a broken nose, a broken left orbital bone and torn left biceps in his vain pursuit of the title. He had been widely outscored and hurt by solid lefts and rights in virtually every session, and in the tenth all three judges made it a 10-8 round, such was the punishment he took without being decked. Klitschko (251½) paid Briggs the ultimate compliment when stating that he had never seen anything like his courage before, while the latter felt that he would have done a lot better had his left arm not been damaged so early in the contest.
11 September 2010. Wladimir Klitschko w rsc 10 Samuel Peter.
Venue: Commercial Bank Arena, Frankfurt, Germany. Recognition: IBF/WBO/The Ring. Referee: Robert Byrd.
Fight Summary: Having lost his WBC title to Vitali Klitschko and been outpointed by Wladimir five years earlier, this was a big ask for Peter (241½). Although the holder of three championship belts was staggered by a left hook in the opening session he soon had Peter eating the left jab, and by the end of the fourth the latter's left eye was swelling fast. For round after round Peter was forced to suffer hard one-twos that broke through his porous guard before the tenth saw him come apart as Klitschko (247) unloaded. At 2.55 of the session the referee rescued Peter after he had been sent crashing on to his back by a murderous left uppercut. Immediately prior to that, Peter had been unhinged by left and right hooks.
29 May 2010. Vitali Klitschko w rsc 10 Albert Sosnowski.
Venue: Veltins Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Nady.
Fight Summary: After winning the opening nine rounds the champion finally found what he was looking for when a hard right to the body followed by a left-right saw Sosnowski (224½) out of the fight at 2.30 of the tenth after the referee called it off. Having been outboxed in the opening two sessions Sosnowski came back well in the third, but failing to unsettle Klitschko (247) he slipped further and further behind as the fight progressed. His best punch was a hard right to Klitschko's jaw in the eighth, but when that had little effect it was clear that his chances of winning the contest were limited, especially when the scores showing him not to have won a single round were announced at the end of the session. From there it was all downhill.
3 April 2010. David Haye w rsc 9 John Ruiz.
Venue: MEN Arena, Manchester, England. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Guillermo Perez Pineda.
Fight Summary: Making an electric start the champion had Ruiz (231) on the floor within 30 seconds from a cracking left-right to the head before dropping him again and being docked two points for hitting behind the head. Having sustained a battering in the next two sessions as Haye (222) unloaded, Ruiz came back well to win the fourth. It did not last, however, and in the fifth and sixth Ruiz took two more counts after being battered by hard shots from both hands. Although Ruiz managed to get through the seventh and eighth rounds, his days were numbered. With the third man close to stopping the fight on several occasions his mind was finally made up for him at 2.01 of the ninth when Ruiz's corner tossed in the towel, the official decision being announced as a referee's stoppage.
20 March 2010. Wladimir Klitschko w co 12 Eddie Chambers.
Venue: Esprit Arena, Dusseldorf, Germany. Recognition: IBF/WBO/The Ring. Referee: Genaro Rodriguez.
Fight Summary: With his three championship belts on the line, Klitschko (244¾) began as normal with solid left jabs that were followed by right crosses, and twice in the opening two sessions Chambers (209½), six inches the shorter man, ducked down and lifted the champion on to his shoulders. The second time he did this he threw Klitschko to the floor before the latter almost fell when hurt by a countering right. Even at this stage it was clear that Chambers did not have an answer. Still proving elusive, more so when cut over the left eye in the fifth, Chambers continued to avoid Klitschko right up until the final session when a wide left smashed him to the floor where he was counted out with five seconds of the fight remaining.
12 December 2009. Vitali Klitschko w pts 12 Kevin Johnson.
Venue: Post Finance Arena, Bern, Switzerland. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Kenny Bayless.
Scorecards: 119-109, 120-108, 120-108.
Fight Summary: Spending most of the contest ducking out of the way as the champion loaded up was hardly the right tactic for someone who wanted to pick up a title, and although Johnson (242½) lasted the full course it was a shut-out win for Klitschko (247) as far as two judges were concerned, with the other judge giving him the fourth. In that session Johnson scored well with the jab, but once Klitschko began to counter him with the right that was as far as it went. In the aftermath, Boxing News reported Klitschko as saying "I prepared to knock Johnson out, but it was not easy to hit him. He was always defensive."
7 November 2009. David Haye w pts 12 Nikolay Valuev.
Venue: Insurance Arena, Nuremberg, Germany. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Luis Pabon.
Scorecards: 116-112, 116-112, 114-114
Fight Summary: Massively outweighed by close on 100lbs, the challenger stuck to his game plan when using his advantage of speed and movement to outscore Valuev (314¾), who found it difficult get any serious punches off against a man that just was not there for much of the time. Having damaged his right hand in the second when trying for an early night, Haye (216¾) settled down to hand out a boxing lesson. Despite tiring as the fight wore on the former undefeated WBA/WBC/WBO cruiserweight title holder still finished the rounds strongly, and in the final session he went for Valuev in pursuit of a stoppage, hurting the latter with left hook to the head before the bell. Although one of the judges made that a 10-8 round, the scores were much closer than it seemed with one of the officials even giving it as a draw.
26 September 2009. Vitali Klitschko w rtd 10 Chris Arreola.
Venue: Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jon Schorle.
Fight Summary: Winning one round at most, the challenger, as game as they come, took the fight to Klitschko (252) for the opening five rounds despite being pounded by jabs and follow-up rights. It seemed that Klitschko could not miss Arreola (251), who was far too pedestrian and unable to cut the ring down. As the sessions progressed Arreola's features became more swollen and, rapidly tiring having tried everything within his compass, he was pulled out of the contest by his corner at the end of the tenth.
20 June 2009. Wladimir Klitschko w rtd 9 Ruslan Chagaev.
Venue: Veltins Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Recognition: IBF/WBO/The Ring. Referee: Eddie Cotton.
Fight Summary: As well as successfully defending his IBF and WBO titles, Klitschko (240½) also won the vacant Ring Championship Belt when forcing Chagaev (225) out of the contest at the end of the ninth round. Replacing the injured David Haye at just two weeks' notice, Chagaev was soon being held up by the left jab before being dropped by a left-right in the second. Back in the fight the unbeaten southpaw, who was recognised by the WBA as a 'champion in recess', had no answer to the Klitschko jab, and after he was cut on the left eye in the seventh his spirit diminished further. Having taken some heavy rights in the ninth when not fighting back, his eye damage worsening, Chagaev was retired on his stool at the end of the session.
21 March 2009. Vitali Klitschko w rsc 9 Juan Carlos Gomez.
Venue: Hanns Martin Schleyer Hall, Stuttgart, Germany. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Daniel Van de Wiele.
Fight Summary: Despite taking the fight to the champion from the opening bell, Gomez (230½), a southpaw, was soon under pressure when being speared by left jabs and solid rights, punches that would produce a swelling on his right eye by the fourth. Although Gomez, now cut on the right eye, tried to pick it up in the fifth when landing some good shots he was still being held up by the jab, and in the seventh he was forced to take a knee after a three-punch combination badly hurt him. With both men on the floor in the same round after Gomez, who was again hurt, pulled Klitschko (249¼) down with him, the challenger looked a spent force. Allowed to continue, a clash of heads in the ninth, for which Klitschko was deducted a point, saw Gomez in further trouble, and following 'time out' he took another count before being battered into a corner and rescued by the referee at 1.49 of the session.
20 December 2008. Nikolay Valuev w pts 12 Evander Holyfield.
Venue: Stadium Hall, Zurich, Switzerland. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Luis Pabon.
Scorecards: 116-112, 115-114, 114-114.
Fight Summary: In what was a very close fight that many thought the 46-year-old Holyfield (214¼) deserved to draw at the very least, it was the champion who came out on top according to two of the judges. With Holyfield's plan of campaign based on countering the ponderous Valuev (310¾) his work-rate suffered as the latter kept him on the end of left jabs in many rounds. However, by the ninth Holyfield was making progress inside, and in the 11th he was the more dominant with solid hooks to head and body. Whether it was tiredness or not, Holyfield was unable to push on in the 12th and was outworked as Valuev let go with both hands to make sure of the verdict.
13 December 2008. Wladimir Klitschko w rsc 7 Hasim Rahman.
Venue: SAP Arena, Mannheim, Germany. Recognition: IBF/WBO. Referee: Tony Weeks.
Fight Summary: With both of his titles on the line, Klitschko (244¾) was quickly down to business with the left jab pounding into the challenger's face. Within no time at all it was realised that Rahman (253½) was not the fighter of old. With the fight continuing at Klitschko's pace, in the sixth Rahman was battered down following left hooks that landed solidly and took an 'eight' count before being forced to take more heavy shots. Having asked Rahman if he wanted to continue, the referee eventually halted the action after 44 seconds of the seventh when the latter was in trouble as Klitschko opened up with both hands.
11 October 2008. Vitali Klitschko w rtd 8 Samuel Peter.
Venue: O2 World Arena, Berlin, Germany. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Massimo Barrovecchio.
Fight Summary: Coming back after almost four years away from the ring following a serious knee injury, Klitschko (247) started strongly and soon had a grip on the fight as the champion was pushed back, seemingly unable to take up the attack. Although Peter (253½) picked it up somewhat in the seventh when he began throw more punches, in the eighth he was in dire straits as Klitschko ripped in cracking right hooks and followed up with more solid blows from either hand. Having realised that this was a fight that Peter, his right eye badly swollen, was not going to win, his corner pulled him out at the end of the session.
30 August 2008. Nikolay Valuev w pts 12 John Ruiz.
Venue: Max Schmeling Hall, Berlin, Germany. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Derek Milham.
Scorecards: 114-113, 116-113, 116-111.
Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant title after Ruslan Chagaev had been classified as a 'champion in recess' due to injury, Valuev (317¾) came back to regain his old title when outpointing the much smaller Ruiz (239). Starting well with the left jab, Valuev soon began to have difficulty with Ruiz's speed that gave him problems for several rounds before his strength began to wear the latter down. By the seventh Ruiz was holding on without throwing enough punches, and in the eighth he was forced to take a heavy right to the head which did not help his cause. Despite both men tiring it was Valuev who produced the better work in the last few sessions.
12 July 2008. Wladimir Klitschko w co 11 Tony Thompson.
Venue: Color Line Arena, Hamburg, Germany. Recognition: IBF/WBO. Referee: Joe Cortez.
Fight Summary: Putting his two titles on the line against an awkward southpaw challenger, Klitschko (241) was forced to go 11 rounds before finding a tremendous right that landed flush on the jaw and dropped Thompson (247½) heavily to be counted out at 1.38 of the session. Winning all rounds bar the fifth, Klitschko gradually wore Thompson down. Both men were cut following an accidental headbutt in the second and in the tenth, after Klitschko pushed Thompson to the floor, the latter was given time to recover by the referee. Boxing News summed it up as a vintage Klitschko performance with no exchanges, rather ugly pushing and much holding.
8 March 2008. Samuel Peter w rsc 6 Oleg Maskaev.
Venue: The Bullring, Cancun, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Lupe Garcia.
Fight Summary: Starting fast, Peter (250) quickly showed that he was a man to be reckoned with, and in the third he stepped inside the champion's southpaw stance to land two cracking right hands prior to following up with a battery of blows. Coming back hard, Maskaev (243) laid into Peter with no great damage being done right through to the sixth before being caught heavily by a solid right towards the end of the session. Stepping it up, Peter piled on the pressure when winging in blows from both hands until the referee jumped in between them on the 2.56 mark to rescue Maskaev after he had been trapped in a corner.
23 February 2008. Wladimir Klitschko w pts 12 Sultan Ibragimov.
Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBO. Referee: Wayne Kelly.
Scorecards: 119-110, 117-111, 118-110.
Fight Summary: In a unification battle, Klitschko (238), the IBF champion, outpointed by some margin the WBO title holder, Ibragimov (219). Many felt that Klitschko should have opened up more instead of relying on a solid left jab that was occasionally followed by hooks and straight rights, but the Ukranian had a battle plan and stuck to it. Always in control, Klitschko was content to outbox his dangerous unbeaten southpaw opponent, who had decided early on to fight out of a crouch. Although there were no official knockdowns recorded, when Klitschko sent Ibragimov on to the lower ropes in the ninth from a right-left-right combination the referee was possibly lenient when not calling one, especially as the latter would have been floored had the support not been there. Both fell down together in the tenth, and while Klitschko felt the effects more than Ibragimov it did not stop him continuing his march.
19 January 2008. Ruslan Chagaev w pts 12 Matt Skelton.
Venue: Castello Castle-Keeper Arena, Dusseldorf, Germany. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Guillermo Pineda Perez.
Scorecards: 117-110, 117-112, 117-111.
Fight Summary: Defending his title after nine months out of the ring, Chagaev (229¼) came back to face the 40-year-old Skelton (254¾), a man who only took to boxing in 2002, and was forced to travel the full route. Skelton certainly made the southpaw champion work when giving him little room to manoeuvre, but lacked the finesse and power required to take the title. Deducted a point for excessive holding in the eighth, Skelton was falling behind on the cards as Chagaev picked up the pace. Having taken Chagaev's big punches without flinching, Skelton came back well in the 11th before being forced to hang on in the 12th after a body shot took all the wind out of his sails and was followed up with a non-stop battering.
Whilst preparing for a defence against Nikolay Valuev on 5 July, the fight was cancelled when Chagaev suffered a complete tear of an Achilles tendon on 27 June in the final week of training. With Chagaev given the title of ‘champion in recess’, the two leading contenders, Valuev and John Ruiz, were selected to meet for the vacant title.
After returning from injury with a sixth-round technical decision win over Carl Davis Drumond at the Stadium Hall, Rostock, Germany on 7 February 2009, Chagaev was lined up to meet Valuev in Finland on 30 May 2009. Although Chagaev failed the Finnish medical tests, allegedly due to hepatitis, it did not stop him from stepping in at short notice to take on Wladimir Klitschko for the IBF/WBO versions of the title on 20 June after David Haye had picked up a late injury. Thus it was no surprise that he lost his 'champion in recess' status with the WBA on losing to Klitschko.
13 October 2007. Sultan Ibragimov w pts 12 Evander Holyfield.
Venue: Khodynka Ice Palace, Moscow, Russia. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Raul Caiz.
Scorecards: 117-111, 117-111, 118-110.
Fight Summary: Still fighting at 44 years of age, the former champion was unable to draw Ibragimov (219) into a fight where he could work at close quarters. Instead, Ibragimov was happy to box at long range where he picked his man off with southpaw jabs before moving on. Occasionally, he dug in blows to the body, and in the tenth such a punch almost doubled Holyfield (211½) up. In sheer desperation Holyfield charged at Ibragimov in the 11th, only to miss with a right hand and go crashing to the floor. Ruled a slip by the referee, Holyfield came back hard to hurt the champion at the end of the session with a cracking right to the jaw prior to giving it a real go in the 12th. Having taken a couple of heavy rights, Ibragimov held on before cantering through the rest of the session with Holyfield, on tired legs, unable to chase him down.
7 July 2007. Wladimir Klitschko w rtd 6 Lamon Brewster.
Venue: The Arena, Cologne, Germany. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Sam Williams.
Fight Summary: Having beaten the champion previously inside the distance Brewster (228¼) must have been confident he could do it for the second time. Unfortunately for him, however, the Klitschko (243½) who turned up this time handed him a steady beating before he was retired by his corner at the end of the sixth round, his eyes badly swollen. Having got his left jab going from the start Klitschko dominated throughout as he looked to set Brewster up for the right hand, and in the fifth and sixth it was clear to the latter's corner that it was just a matter of time when their man kept getting caught in the headlights.
2 June 2007. Sultan Ibragimov w pts 12 Shannon Briggs.
Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Eddie Cotton.
Scorecards: 117-111, 119-109, 115-113.
Fight Summary: Although Briggs (273) took the opening session Ibragimov (221) soon got on top, moving around his man while sending in solid southpaw jabs. Unfortunately for Briggs he did not have an answer to the challenger's hand-speed and movement, being unable to fire off heavy right hands that had gained him 42 quick wins in the past. Following the fight, Briggs, who lost the title in his first defence, claimed that he had wanted to call the fight off due to suffering asthma attacks.
14 April 2007. Ruslan Chagaev w pts 12 Nikolay Valuev.
Venue: Porsche Arena, Stuttgart, Germany. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Luis Pabon.
Scorecards: 117-111, 115-113, 114-114.
Fight Summary: Despite the champion, who was on 46 straight wins, pressing continuously it was Chagaev (228¼) who picked up the majority of the points that his cleaner work merited. By keeping on the move Chagaev not only made for a difficult target, but gave himself the room to get hard southpaw lefts off as Valuev (319) came on to him, especially in the sixth when two exploded on the latter's chin. However, by the eighth Valuev was back in the fight as uppercuts to the body began to slow Chagaev down, his extra strength also noticeable at this stage of the fight. It was still close, and had Valuev won the last two sessions he would have retained his title.
10 March 2007. Wladimir Klitschko w rsc 2 Ray Austin.
Venue: SAP Arena, Mannheim, Germany. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Eddie Cotton.
Fight Summary: Predicted to be an early night for the champion, that is how it turned out. Following a slow opening session with Austin (247) carrying a low guard and looking far too casual, Klitschko (246½) opened up in the second. After Klitschko caught Austin with a long left hook and backed that up with several more solid blows the latter crashed to the floor before being rescued by the referee at 1.23 of the session. Austin had looked likely to continue until realising the third man had deemed his challenge was over.
20 January 2007. Nikolay Valuev w rtd 3 Jameel McCline.
Venue: St Jacob Hall, Basel, Switzerland. Recognition: WBA. Referee: John Coyle.
Fight Summary: Full of energy, McCline (268½) made a good start against the lumbering champion, banging in lefts and rights before moving on. While Valuev (322½) picked it up in the second when getting his left-right working, McCline was still going well when winning the third before suffering an injury to his left knee after missing with a left-right and crashing to the floor at the end of the session. Unable to get off the floor without assistance, McCline was dragged back to his stool before being retired by his corner.
10 December 2006. Oleg Maskaev w pts 12 Okello Peter.
Venue: Olympic Sports Arena, Moscow, Russia. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Lupe Garcia.
Scorecards: 120-107, 118-109, 120-107.
Fight Summary: Always in control, the champion took virtually every round on his way to a straightforward points win. Right from the start the ambling Peter (254½) was on the back foot as he looked to survive, Maskaev (240) pressuring him with solid jabs but unable to find a finisher. Eventually, in the tenth, Maskaev dropped Peter with a right uppercut having set him up with short jabs to the head. Although Maskaev moved in on his man following the knockdown he failed to find a similar punch and was forced to go the distance.
With Maskaev pulling out of an October 2007 defence against Samuel Peter after suffering a multiple disc herniation, the latter was named as the WBC ‘interim’ champion on 24 September 2007, and later held on to his honours against Jameel McCline (w pts 12 on 6 October 2007 at Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA) despite being floored three times in the bout. Maskaev v Peter was eventually scheduled for Cancun, Mexico on 8 March 2008.
11 November 2006. Wladimir Klitschko w rsc 7 Calvin Brock.
Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Wayne Kelly.
Fight Summary: Defending the IBF title for the first time, Klitschko (241), with a six-inch reach advantage, failed to find the range and held too much in the opening four rounds as Brock (224½) took the fight to him. In the fifth both men were cut on their left eyes, Brock from a left jab and Klitschko from an accidental head butt. Although Brock was having some success it could be seen by the sixth that Klitschko was finding the range for straight rights, and after the challenger was stunned by solid lefts and rights in the seventh he was dropped heavily by a crashing right to the jaw. Up at 'seven' looking extremely dazed, Brock was stopped on the 2.10 mark when the referee recognised that it would be foolhardy to let him continue.
4 November 2006. Shannon Briggs w rsc 12 Siarhei Liakhovich.
Venue: Chase Field Baseball Stadium, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Bobby Ferrara.
Fight Summary: In what was described as a terrible contest to watch by most of the scribes present, Liakhovich (238) lost his title at the first time of asking when Briggs (268), behind on all three scorecards, forced the referee to intervene in his favour with just one second of the fight remaining. Although he made a reasonable start Briggs failed to sustain it, allowing Liakhovich to box him off with the jab for round after round before coming to life in the 11th. Both men let the punches go in the final session, but despite being tired Briggs found the strength to drop Liakhovich twice, the last knockdown enforcing the stoppage. Had Liakhovich lasted out the round he would have retained his title by a majority draw.
7 October 2006. Nikolay Valuev w rsc 11 Monte Barrett.
Venue: Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: John O’Brien.
Fight Summary: At seven foot and almost 100lbs the heavier of the pair the champion was giant-like compared to Barrett (222½), the shorter man by seven inches, in what was a messy affair. The pattern of the fight was similar throughout as Barrett slung in wild rights while Valuev (328) laid on his man whether he landed or missed. Several times Barrett was down in what were ruled as slips, although one in the eighth counted, but in the 11th after another stumble he was clearly groggy. Further to that two more heavy knockdowns saw the referee halt the contest at 2.12 of the session on the advice of the 35-year-old Barrett's corner.
12 August 2006. Oleg Maskaev w rsc 12 Hasim Rahman.
Venue: Thomas & Mack Centre, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Nady.
Fight Summary: Having survived a scare against James Toney this time round the champion came unstuck against the 37-year-old Maskaev (238), a man who had already knocked him out almost seven years earlier. Fairly even throughout, Rahman (235) jabbing well on occasion while Maskaev tried to work inside, in the eighth it looked as though the latter was flagging before coming back strongly in the ninth. In the tenth through to the 11th Maskaev made his run for home, landing heavy rights as Rahman looked to hold and in the 12th, following two knockdowns, the referee rescued the American at 2.17 of the session as he lay defenceless on the ropes.
3 June 2006. Nikolay Valuev w rsc 3 Owen Beck.
Venue: TUI Arena, Hannover, Germany. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Luis Pabon.
Fight Summary: Making his first defence, although the 78lbs heavier Valuev (320¾) took his time, by the second round he was up and running before sending in a hard right to the jaw that sent the challenger down. Up after the mandatory count, Beck (242½) was saved by the bell when in a dazed condition. Having come out for the third Beck was soon floored by a right uppercut, and despite making it to his feet the referee stopped the contest on the 1.44 mark when he was badly hurt by a three-punch combination.
22 April 2006. Wladimir Klitschko w rsc 7 Chris Byrd.
Venue: SAP Arena, Mannheim, Germany. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Wayne Kelly.
Fight Summary: Almost three years after losing his WBO title, Klitschko (241) came back to win another version of the championship when beating the southpaw Byrd (213½), a former victim and the current IBF champion. Following a slow start, Klitschko dominated every round, his left paving the way for solid right hands to the head, and in the fifth Byrd was sent crashing by a left-right that almost saw him counted out. It was now just a matter of time. In the seventh, with Klitschko totally on top, Byrd was floored heavily again from a hard right to the head. With Byrd's left eye pouring blood, the referee stepped in immediately to stop the fight after just 41 seconds had elapsed.
1 April 2006. Siarhei Liakhovich w pts 12 Lamon Brewster.
Venue: Wolstein Centre, Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Ernie Sharif.
Scorecards: 115-112, 115-113, 117-110.
Fight Summary: Despite being floored in the seventh, having been forced to take several solid blows to the body, Liakhovich (238½) did enough to convince all three judges that he was a worthy new champion. The taller man, Liakhovich made a positive start when winning the opening three rounds before being hurt in the fifth as Brewster (232) loaded up. He then came back well to batter Brewster against the ropes before the bell rang six seconds early to save the latter. Both men had put a lot into the fight, but following the knockdown Liakhovich picked up the pace to win the last five sessions, Brewster finishing the contest with a badly swollen left eye and bereft of his title.
18 March 2006. Hasim Rahman drew 12 James Toney.
Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Eddie Cotton.
Scorecards: 117-111, 114-114, 114-114.
Fight Summary: After being handed the title following Vitali Klitschko's decision to retire, this was Rahman's first defence. With height advantage over the 37-year-old Toney (237) it was Rahman (238) who made the better start, a heavy right to the jaw early on concentrating the challenger's mind. By the fourth Toney was having success with short lefts to the body and overarm rights to the head, while Rahman, who was cut over the left eye in the fourth, was happy to throw single shots. First one man would have a good session and then the other, and at the end of the 11th two of the judges had Toney a round up. Although Toney began the 12th well Rahman finished the stronger, sending his man to the ropes with solid punches to win the round and earn a majority draw.
17 December 2005. Nikolay Valuev w pts 12 John Ruiz.
Venue: Max Schmeling Arena, Berlin, Germany. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Stan Christodoulou.
Scorecards: 116-114, 116-113, 114-114.
Fight Summary: Using his huge reach to good advantage with the jab, Valuev (324¼) made life tough for the champion, who found it difficult to get his punches off. Occasionally Ruiz (237¾) got inside, but unable to do any damage it was only in the latter stages when there was a hint of desperation that he did his best work. Ruiz, who finished with a swollen right eye, failed to work hard enough in the middle rounds while the Russian did just enough to make sure of the decision. On winning, Valuev, at seven foot plus, became the tallest champion of all time.
1 October 2005. Chris Byrd w pts 12 DaVarryl Williamson.
Venue: The Events Centre, Reno, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Vic Drakulich.
Scorecards: 115-113, 116-112, 116-112.
Fight Summary: Defending his title for the fourth time Byrd (213) was up against a former sparring partner in Williamson (225), the pair being constantly booed for providing so little action. There were few good points, the southpaw champion prepared to go along with the pace of the fight while Williamson, who possessed a good left jab, was only interested in using it occasionally. Never properly challenged, with Byrd always having points in the bank he did as little as possible in order to preserve his title.
28 September 2005. Lamon Brewster w rsc 9 Luan Krasniqi.
Venue: Color Line Arena, Hamburg, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Jose Rivera.
Fight Summary: Having won virtually every round by the end of the seventh, using the left-right effectively, Krasniqi (224¾) came unstuck in the eighth when the champion dropped him with a battery of solid hooks. To catch up with his rival Brewster (228¼) had been forced to take plenty of leather on the way in, but it proved to be worth it. Amazingly, despite failing to beat the count immediately prior to the bell, Krasniqi was allowed to return to his corner to continue the fight. Although the challenger came out for the ninth defiantly, even landing a solid right uppercut, Brewster now had him in his sights. Nothing was going to stop Brewster now, and having decked Krasniqi with a crashing right to the head the fight was over on the 2.48 mark after the referee reacted to the towel being thrown in by the latter’s corner.
21 May 2005. Lamon Brewster w rsc 1 Andrew Golota.
Venue: United Centre, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Genaro Rodriguez.
Fight Summary: The champion came out fast, throwing big punches, and within ten seconds he had Golota (248) down with a cracking left hook. And although the Pole got up at ‘five’, moments later he was dropped again by a similar punch. Again, Golota was up at ‘five’, but looking in poor condition another solid left hook to the temple from Brewster (224) sent him crashing to the floor. Getting up groggily, when it was obvious that Golota could not continue the referee stopped the fight with just 53 seconds on the clock.
30 April 2005. James Toney w pts 12 John Ruiz.
Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Steve Smoger.
Scorecards: 115-112, 116-111, 116-111.
Fight Summary: Controlling the pace of the fight for the opening six rounds, despite being rocked by a left hook in the fifth, the champion came under more pressure from Toney (231) in the seventh when dropped by a similar blow. Complaining, to no avail, that he had been tripped, Ruiz (244) was edged out in most of the remaining rounds as Toney, having conserved his energy, scored nearly all the punches that mattered from then on. In the ninth Ruiz was forced to take several heavy rights to the jaw before suffering the same again in the 11th, and although trying to pull the coals out of the fire in the 12th it was clear that Toney had done more than enough.
When the result was accorded no contest status by the NYSAC on 11 May after Toney failed the post-fight drugs test, Ruiz was reinstated as champion on 17 May in line with WBA rules.
11 December 2004. Vitali Klitschko w rsc 8 Danny Williams.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Jay Nady.
Fight Summary: Although he showed great bravery in the face of a one-way thrashing the challenger had no answers to the hard-punching Klitschko (250), being put down four times before the referee had seen enough and brought matters to a halt at 1.26 of the eighth round. If nothing else, Williams (270), who strangely came in at a weight that hindered his speed, certainly disproved the British ‘horizontal’ heavyweight theory prevalent in America over the years. However, courage itself does not win contests and the man famous for beating Mike Tyson a few months earlier had to be rescued, almost from himself. Both of Klitschko’s championship belts were on the line in this one.
Due to defend The Ring Championship Belt and WBC titles on 12 November 2005 against Hasim Rahman, who had outpointed Monte Barrett over 12 rounds at the United Centre, Chicago, Illinois on 13 August 2005 to win the vacant WBC ‘interim’ title, Klitschko announced his retirement on 8 November 2005, having pulled out of the fight on suffering an injury to his right knee. Just days later it was announced that Rahman was the new WBC champion.
13 November 2004. John Ruiz w pts 12 Andrew Golota.
Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Randy Neumann.
Scorecards: 114-111, 113-112, 114-111.
Fight Summary: Following a scrappy opening round, when the champion walked into Golota (238) in the second he was promptly floored by a countering right. Quickly on his feet, moments later Ruiz (239) was pulled down by Golota, being punched while he was still on the floor, and adding insult to injury it counted as a knockdown. Coming back well when taking the third Ruiz was then docked a point in the fourth for rabbit punching prior to picking up the pace to take the next four sessions in what had become a boring spectacle. By the ninth, still landing the better blows, even though Ruiz was exhausted Golota was unable to take advantage until he dropped the champion after both men had carried on punching following the bell to end the tenth. Obviously not counted as a knockdown, Golota, now cut over the right eye, took the 11th before Ruiz came on strongly in the final session with solid combinations to make sure of retaining his title.
13 November 2004. Chris Byrd w pts 12 Jameel McCline.
Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Wayne Kelly.
Scorecards: 115-112, 114-113, 112-114.
Fight Summary: In a battle between friends, McCline (270) got away the better, dropping the southpaw champion in the second round with a solid right to the head and winning at least four of the opening six rounds. Things began to go better for Byrd (214), who was outweighed by 56 pounds, from the sixth onwards as McCline tired. With Byrd clawing back the deficit, even though McCline had an excellent tenth there was little between them at the final bell.
4 September 2004. Lamon Brewster w pts 12 Kali Meehan.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Jay Nady.
Scorecards: 115-113, 114-113, 113-114.
Fight Summary: Having been the champion’s sparring partner a short while earlier, Meehan (236), not expected to win the title, was rated a 10-1 outsider prior to the fight. Struggling with a damaged nose from the second round, at the start of the eighth Brewster (227) was only marginally ahead, both men having landed with some heavy shots. With Meehan attacking non-stop in that session, Brewster was forced to take a beating, coming close to being stopped. It was clear in the ninth that Meehan had almost punched himself out, but he was still dangerous. However, having conserved some energy Brewster rallied to win three of the last four sessions, a late surge that allowed him to squeeze in front of the tough Australian.
24 April 2004. Vitali Klitschko w rsc 8 Corrie Sanders.
Venue: Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Jon Schorle.
Fight Summary: With the vacant WBC title and The Ring Championship Belt up for grabs, and aiming to beat the man who defeated his brother, Klitschko (245) made a sloppy start when caught by some good punches as Sanders (235) looked to end early. From there onwards though Klitschko took control, and although he had a few shaky moments along the way he was gradually wearing his southpaw opponent down, so much so in the fifth round that the South African seemed lucky to remain on his feet. In the sixth and seventh Sanders barely showed as Klitschko continued to grind him down. And in the eighth with just four seconds of the session remaining the referee stopped the fight. At that point, Sanders, cut over the left eye, was on the ropes taking a pounding and unable to fight back.
17 April 2004. John Ruiz w rsc 11 Fres Oquendo.
Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Wayne Kelly.
Fight Summary: Ruiz (240) failed to impress when making his first defence after being appointed champion, and although he was just about ahead at the time of the stoppage there was not much in it. Just when it looked as though Ruiz might get the job done in the ninth when he hurt his challenger with a cracking left hook to the body, Oquendo (222½) came back well in the tenth, picking up points with single jabs. Carrying on where he left off Oquendo threatened to take the last two sessions and the decision in the 11th, but after Ruiz had unleashed a sustained attack of blows to the head that were unanswered the referee stopped the fight on the 2.33 mark.
17 April 2004. Chris Byrd drew 12 Andrew Golota.
Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Randy Neumann.
Scorecards: 113-115, 115-113, 114-114.
Fight Summary: Weighing in at his lightest for quite a while the southpaw champion scored well at times with the jab, but spent too much time allowing Golota (237½) to back him up on the ropes in an effort to tire him out. As there was never much between them at any stage a draw appeared to be a fair reflection. Only in the last two rounds did the action warm up, with punches going back and forth, and with Byrd (210½) taking a few hefty wallops he ended the contest nursing a badly swollen left eye.
10 April 2004. Lamon Brewster w rsc 5 Wladimir Klitschko.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Robert Byrd.
Fight Summary: Contesting the vacant title, Brewster (226) came back from the brink of defeat to beat the former champion. For the opening four rounds Klitschko (243) found Brewster an easy target for the left jab and straight rights, and in the fourth he had the latter over from a solid right to the head. Although the referee saw it as a slip, moments later when Klitschko hammered in another terrific right to the head Brewster was counted upon. Up at ‘seven’ Brewster came right back at Klitschko in the fifth. And with the big man now running out of wind he was given a standing count after taking a left hook that knocked him into the ropes. When Klitschko, who could barely stand up at this stage of the fight, fell to his knees virtually drained of energy, the referee stopped the contest just after the bell rang to end the session.
20 September 2003. Chris Byrd w pts 12 Fres Oquendo.
Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Eddie Cotton.
Scorecards: 115-113, 116-112, 117-111.
Fight Summary: Making his first defence Byrd (211¾) looked extremely lucky to have retained the title after Oquendo (224) had worked out how to deal with his slippery southpaw style as early as the fourth round. There was never a great deal between them, but by the seventh HBO’s unofficial judge, Harold Lederman, had Oquendo four points ahead. Although Byrd improved a bit from thereon in he continued to get caught far too often by the right hand and fast combinations, and Oquendo had him over with a left-right at the start of the 12th only for the referee to call it a trip. With this being the fourth time in the contest that Byrd had been down without a count administered, it merely added to the general anger of the crowd when the decision was announced.
21 June 2003. Lennox Lewis w rsc 6 Vitali Klitschko.
Venue: Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Lou Moret.
Fight Summary: Looking overweight and sluggish, Lewis (256½), turning in one of his worst championship performances, would surely have lost his two championship belts had it not been for Klitschko (248) suffering from an horrendous cut around his left eye from the third round, an injury which eventually necessitated 60 stitches. At the end of the sixth the ringside doctor failed to let the challenger continue, the fight being called off without going to the scorecards because the initial punch that did the damage was deemed to be legal.
When Lewis announced his retirement on 6 February 2004, Corrie Sanders was nominated to meet Klitschko for the vacant WBC title and The Ring Championship Belt.
8 March 2003. Corrie Sanders w rsc 2 Wladimir Klitschko.
Venue: Preussag Arena, Hannover, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Genaro Rodriguez.
Fight Summary: At the age of 37 no one saw Sanders (225) as a future champion, but after knocking Klitschko (242½) down twice in the opening round and twice more in the second for a stoppage win inside three minutes and 20 seconds the WBO title was his. Klitschko never really recovered from the first knockdown, a thudding southpaw left to the jaw, and after he had been floored for the fourth time, with blood pouring from a cut over his left eye, the referee called a halt without bothering to pick up the count.
Sanders was next due to make a defence against Lamon Brewster on 18 October but instead handed his belt back on 9 October unhappy with the demands the WBO placed on him. As a consequence, Brewster was matched to meet Klitschko in a fight for the vacant title.
1 March 2003. Roy Jones w pts 12 John Ruiz.
Venue: Thomas & Mack Centre, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Jay Nady.
Scorecards: 117-111, 116-112, 118-110.
Fight Summary: Moving up from the light heavyweight division, where he was still the WBA/WBC champion, Jones (193) was looking to add the WBA heavyweight title to his collection of world titles at different weights when taking on the champion, Ruiz (226). There were no knockdowns, but the much lighter Jones simply outclassed Ruiz in at least eight of the rounds, snapping in left jabs and left-rights to head and body before moving away. It was only when he took a breather that Ruiz did his best work but never able to pin Jones down to do any damage he finished the fight minus his title, his pride dented and carrying a broken nose. On the result Jones became a four-weight world champion, having been undefeated at middleweight (IBF), super middleweight (IBF) and light heavyweight (IBF/WBA/WBC). He relinquished the WBA/WBC light heavyweight titles in early April.
Following this, after Ruiz won the WBA ‘interim’ title when beating Hasim Rahman on points over 12 rounds at the Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey on 13 December, he was appointed champion on 20 February 2004 on Jones deciding to fight at light heavyweight once again.
14 December 2002. Chris Byrd w pts 12 Evander Holyfield.
Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Randy Neumann.
Scorecards: 116-112, 117-111, 117-111.
Fight Summary: Fighting for the title that Lennox Lewis gave up, the southpaw Byrd (214) was the first into action when stabbing in right jabs. Although Holyfield (220) was never really hurt he admitted to being constantly kept off balance by the punch and struggled to get close. Occasionally Holyfield got past the right hand to bang in punches of his own, notably in the fourth and fifth, but with it being a rarity Byrd was soon back to flicking in jabs and following up with solid rights to head and body. Stepping up the pace in the tenth Byrd seemed to be punching harder, while the 40-year-old Holyfield was finding it difficult to close his rival down. Even when he did it had no effect. The punch stats told the story of the fight, Byrd landing 154 jabs to Holyfield’s three.
7 December 2002. Wladimir Klitschko w rtd 10 Jameel McCline.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Jay Nady.
Fight Summary: With Klitschko (240) dictating the fight from the third round onwards, his left jab landing at will, the champion had started to take McCline (263) apart by the seventh before finally stepping up the pace in the tenth. Wobbling McCline with several lefts and rights Klitschko put him down with a big left, and although the challenger made it to his feet and was saved by the bell his corner retired him at the end of the session. McCline had given it his best shot, but had been outclassed.
27 July 2002. John Ruiz w disq 10 Kirk Johnson.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Joe Cortez.
Fight Summary: A poor fight with far too much holding and lack of control, when Johnson (238) was docked a point for going low as early as the opening round the pattern was set. Both men went with the left jab, but by the end of the third it seemed that Ruiz (233) was getting on top. When Johnson had Ruiz over in the fourth from another low blow and was allowed to get away with it, the latter, on being told to get on with it butted the Canadian. In the seventh Johnson again went low with the left hook, dropping Ruiz for the third time before being deducted another point. Taking a four-minute break to recover, much against the referee’s better judgement, Ruiz got going again, almost having Johnson over in the ninth only to be pulled down himself. Then, at the end of the session the challenger was chopped down by a rabbit punch, but no count was taken up. The tenth started with Ruiz well on top before coming to an end on the 2.17 mark when Johnson was disqualified after going low again with another left hook.
29 June 2002. Wladimir Klitschko w rsc 6 Ray Mercer.
Venue: Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Randy Neumann.
Fight Summary: At 41 years of age Mercer (228) had obviously seen better days, and after testing the champion’s jabs, hooks and right hands in the opening session a double left hook put him down for just the second time in his career. Although he got up Mercer was in real trouble as Klitschko (243) hit him with all manner of blows, including a supposed 81 scoring shots in the second round. In the third Mercer began to get his own jab going, but he was soon under pressure again. With his eyes beginning to swell up, Mercer was badly wobbled by left-rights in both the fourth and fifth before a bad cut opened up over his right eye. Having sensed that the end might not be far away, Klitschko ripped into Mercer in the sixth, and after sending the latter crashing into the ropes from a big right to the head the referee stopped the fight in his favour on the 1.08 mark.
8 June 2002. Lennox Lewis w co 8 Mike Tyson.
Venue: The Pyramid, Memphis, Tennessee, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBC/The Ring. Referee: Eddie Cotton.
Fight Summary: This was the one everybody had been waiting for; the defining fight in Lewis’ career and the one that would tell us whether Tyson (234½) was a spent force. Once the fight was underway it was clear that all the questions were going to be answered, Tyson being unable to respond to the Lewis (249¼) left jab. Then, with his right eye cut in the third Tyson was beginning to be gradually taken apart. Pushed over in the fourth the former ‘great’ was becoming desperate as he was being completely outboxed with no idea of how to handle it. Nearly taken out in the seventh, with the bell coming to his rescue, a left uppercut smashed all remaining resistance out of him in the eighth. After taking a count of 'eight' a tremendous right hand from Lewis landed on Tyson's jaw, smashing him to the canvas where he was counted out at the 2.25 mark. Lewis was also defending The Ring Championship Belt he had been awarded at the end of 2001.
Lewis gave up the IBF title on 5 September rather than defend against Chris Byrd, who was then selected to meet Evander Holyfield to decide the vacancy. On 1 June, at the Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, Holyfield had won a WBA eliminating contest when beating Hasim Rahman, thanks to an eighth-round technical decision.
16 March 2002. Wladimir Klitschko w rsc 8 Frans Botha.
Venue: Hanns Martin Schleyer Hall or Hall, Stuttgart, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Genaro Rodriguez.
Fight Summary: Although Botha (241½) tried hard to get through the defences of the 6’6” champion he was up against it right from the opening bell as jabs rained in on him. By the fifth both of Botha’s eyes were beginning to close, and prior to the end of the seventh he had been staggered several times by heavy blows from both hands. The end was in sight. After Botha had been smashed to the floor by a Klitschko (242) left hook, which came on the back of a cracking right that had sent him stumbling around the ring, the referee concluded the contest after just 48 seconds of the eighth despite the South African being back on his feet.
15 December 2001. John Ruiz drew 12 Evander Holyfield.
Venue: Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Steve Smoger.
Scorecards: 115-113, 112-116, 114-114.
Fight Summary: In what was the third meeting between the pair, because they knew each other so well it rarely hit the heights. Still, it was the 39-year-old Holyfield (219) who appeared to do the better work, landing more quality blows at least, while the champion plodded along as if there was no championship belt at stake. How one of the judges had Ruiz (232) ahead by seven rounds to five beggared belief, but it allowed him to retain his title if nothing else.
17 November 2001. Lennox Lewis w co 4 Hasim Rahman.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBC. Referee: Joe Cortez.
Fight Summary: After blasting his man to defeat in South Africa to win the title Rahman (238) was expected to do more of the same, but with Lewis (253½) well prepared this time he was unable to exact any kind of superiority, being completely outboxed while the fight lasted. The master of cutting down the distance and getting his punches off Lewis was content to outbox Hasim (or ‘Has-Been’ as Lewis continually referred to him as), and when the opportunity presented itself he took it. Having landed a solid right hand in the third, that had a marked effect on the champion, it was merely a matter of time before Lewis caught up with Rahman. Sure enough, early in the fourth after the left had done its job, when another long right landed flush on the jaw Rahman crashed to the floor to be counted out at 1.29 of the round.
4 August 2001. Wladimir Klitschko w rsc 6 Charles Shufford.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Kenny Bayless.
Fight Summary: Having knocked Shufford (234) down in the second and third rounds with solid rights to the head after setting him up with left jabs, the champion was in total control at the start of the fourth. From then on it ceased to be a fight as Shufford went on the back foot while Klitschko (241) followed him around. The contest followed the same pattern in the sixth before coming to life when Klitschko caught Shufford, trapped in a corner, with a big left hook that sent him down, his back against the ring post. Surprisingly, Shufford was up at ‘eight’, but on closer inspection the referee stopped the fight with five seconds of the session remaining.
22 April 2001. Hasim Rahman w co 5 Lennox Lewis.
Venue: Big Top Arena, Carnival City, Brakpan, South Africa. Recognition: IBF/WBC. Referee: Daniel Van de Wiele.
Fight Summary: Despite Lewis (253½) scoring well with the left hand, the warning signs were there for him early on as Rahman (238) kept low to avoid right hands and jabbed well to the body. When Lewis crashed in a terrific body shot at the end of the third it seemed as though all was well, but in the fourth Rahman picked up the pace to win the round, and at times ominously backed up the champion with rights through the middle. In the fifth, when Lewis came out firing after Rahman appeared to be having difficulty with his left eye, which was now swollen and cut, it looked as though the latter was in real trouble. However, Lewis seemed to switch off, his left held low. Inexplicably, Lewis allowed the 20-1 underdog to jab him across the ring, and with his back to the ropes, a tremendous right to the jaw sent him down to be counted out on the 2.32 mark. In suffering a loss of credibility it was clear that Lewis had not been in the best of condition, either mentally or physically, and had taken Rahman far too lightly.
24 March 2001. Wladimir Klitschko w rsc 2 Derrick Jefferson.
Venue: Rudi Sedlmayer Hall, Munich, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Genaro Rodriguez.
Fight Summary: Showing impressive hand-speed and control, the champion soon had Jefferson (260) in trouble and on the floor from a left-right to the head. The American might have made it to the bell to end the opening round but it was clear even at that stage he would not last much longer. Down for the second time from a crashing right to the jaw in the second, Jefferson got up only to be bludgeoned to the floor again by Klitschko (246), whereupon the referee called a halt, timed at 2.09.
3 March 2001. John Ruiz w pts 12 Evander Holyfield.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Joe Cortez.
Scorecards: 116-110, 115-111, 114-111.
Fight Summary: Ruiz (227) made a better start than the champion, scoring well with the jab, and he appeared to be clear at the end of the fifth despite having a bad cut over the left eye that was caused by an accidental butt in the fourth. With Holyfield (217) not yet out of it, by the end of the ninth he had begun to close the gap. The fight effectively ended for Holyfield, though, in the tenth when he had a point deducted for going low, which allowed Ruiz to take time out. Refreshed, Ruiz came on strongly in the 11th, a left-right putting Holyfield down for ‘five’, and although the champion, now cut on the left eye, somehow lasted the round out and made it to the final bell the victory would not be his.
11 November 2000. Lennox Lewis w pts 12 David Tua.
Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBC. Referee: Joe Cortez.
Scorecards: 117-111, 119-109, 118-110.
Fight Summary: Towering above Tua (245), who had boasted that he would take the title, Lewis (249) spent all night smacking his left hand into the challenger’s face to make it one of the easiest wins of his career. Although the crowd called for more action, Lewis just got on with the job of retaining his title while taking no risks. There were no knockdowns, and Tua, having hardly laid a glove on Lewis, finished the contest with his left eye badly swollen and bleeding.
14 October 2000. Wladimir Klitschko w pts 12 Chris Byrd.
Venue: The Arena, Cologne, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Lou Moret.
Scorecards: 120-106, 118-108, 119-107.
Fight Summary: Up against the man who beat his brother to take the title, Klitschko (238) gained revenge for the family when dethroning Byrd (213½) by a wide margin. Following a nervous start Klitschko began to use his height and reach advantage to good effect, keeping his southpaw opponent at bay with long left jabs while occasionally sending over heavy right hands. For most of the fight Byrd seemed at a loss as how to deal with Klitschko, and the contest could easily have been halted after he was dropped in the ninth and 11th, his father wanting the fight to be stopped. However, Klitschko missed the opportunity of a stoppage win by not forcing the action in the last two rounds, Byrd, cut over the right eye, keeping out of danger to make it to the final bell.
12 August 2000. Evander Holyfield w pts 12 John Ruiz.
Venue: Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Richard Steele.
Scorecards: 116-112, 114-113, 114-113.
Fight Summary: Contesting the vacant title Holyfield (221) appeared to be lucky to get the decision despite hurting Ruiz (224) several times, especially when the latter was left-hooked to the floor in the 12th round without a count being administered. After Ruiz went to the floor in the tenth, complaining that he had been hit low he was allowed a few seconds rest, but when the video was revisited it seemed that the punch had been perfectly legal. According to the scorecards, two judges gave Holyfield a 10-8 round in the third when he had Ruiz in trouble from a big right to the head, and if they had each correctly scored it 10-9 the result would have been a draw. It came as no surprise when the WBA ordered a rematch.
15 July 2000. Lennox Lewis w rsc 2 Frans Botha.
Venue: London Arena, Millwall, London, England. Recognition: IBF/WBC. Referee: Larry O'Connell.
Fight Summary: The champion immediately went on the attack at the start of the fight, using the jab to set Botha (236) up for right hands, and before the session was over the latter had somehow survived a couple of terrific shots that threatened to take him out. Still working with a spearing left jab Lewis (250) picked up the pace in the second, having Botha down and through the ropes after two or three heavy punches got home. The finishing blows were not long in coming. When they did arrive the final right almost lifted Botha off the ground, and at 2.39 of the session the referee stopped the fight without taking up the count.
29 April 2000. Lennox Lewis w co 2 Michael Grant.
Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBC. Referee: Arthur Mercante Jnr.
Fight Summary: In what was reckoned to be the heaviest fight in the history of the sport, Lewis (247) dropped Grant (260) with a crunching right uppercut to the jaw inside the first couple of minutes. Back on his feet but in a daze, the challenger was given a standing count after he had been smashed into the ropes by four more solid blows. And before the round ended he was flattened by another terrific right. Saved by the bell, Grant should have been pulled out of the fight there and then, but having come out for the second round and been swamped by one uppercut after another he was finally put down for the full count with 21 seconds of the session remaining.
1 April 2000. Chris Byrd w rtd 9 Vitali Klitschko.
Venue: Estrel Convention Centre, Berlin, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Genaro Rodriguez.
Fight Summary: While Byrd (210¾) was a difficult target to hit and made Klitschko (244¼) miss repeatedly, the crowd were amazed when the champion was retired on his stool with the tenth almost ready to get underway. Although Klitschko had not been at his best he was well ahead at that stage of the fight, having won seven of the nine rounds contested, but had failed to shift his southpaw opponent with the occasional heavy right. Afterwards, the reason given for Klitschko’s retirement was that he had suffered a rotator cuff injury to his left shoulder, something that probably occurred in the third round.