Unified heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko will put his WBA ‘Super’, WBO, IBF and IBO titles on the line against Bulgarian contender Kubrat Pulev in Germany on September 6.
The bout is an official mandatory fight for the IBF title and will take place at the o2 World Hamburg, which holds up to 16,000 people. Klitschko is undefeated in 10 years and won a one-sided contest against Alex Leapai last time out, while the Bulgarian is unbeaten throughout his 20-fight career.
“Pulev has an impressive record as an amateur as well as professional. He has very good skills and I will definitely not underestimate him,” said 38-year-old Klitschko.
However, Pulev is confident of breaking the streak. He said : “I will get the titles. I will show the fans worldwide that Klitschko is no invincible machine and fulfil my dream. I have worked hard for this chance.”
Since losing to Lamon Brewster in April 2004, Klitschko has gone on to defeat 20 opponents without reply, including a revenge win over Brewster 2007. It will be a 17th consecutive defence of his IBF and IBO crowns, with 16 successful consecutive defences putting him third in the all-time heavyweight list of title defences behind Joe Louis and Larry Holmes.
He first added the WBO strap to his resumé with a near-shutout win over previously unbeaten Sultan Ibragimov in 2008, adding the WBA ‘Super’ crown after a heavily one-sided victory over David Haye.
It will be his third fight in the o2 World, having defeated Marius Wach and Tony Thompson in the past.
“I am looking forward boxing in Hamburg. Everybody knows I have a special relationship to this city and the atmosphere in the O2 World has always been unbelievable,” Klitschko said.
Pulev, affectionately known as ‘The Cobra’ by his fans, won mandatory status with a unanimous decision victory over American Tony Thompson, who has twice been beaten by the unified champion. Both of the 33-year-old’s last two contests have been warm up bouts while he waited on Klitschko to accept the mandatory challenge, but faced a brief scare when American journeyman Joey Abell dropped him during their fight in December. Pulev climbed off the canvas to retire him after round four.
K2 promotions, who represent the champion, will promote the fight after outbidding Sauerland Promotions, Pulev’s promoters, in the purse bid process. Their bid of $5,290,144 was largely inferior to the winning purse of $7,250,131.
Under the rules of the IBF, Klitschko is entitled to 80% of that figure ($5,800,105) and Pulev 20% ($1,450,026), which will be a career-high.
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