On November 10 Wladimir Klitschko will make the 14th consecutive defence of his world heavyweight titles against the unknown Mariusz Wach in Hamburg, Germany.
What is significant about this bout is that it will be the first time that Klitschko will be without legendary trainer Manny Steward in his corner since a 2004 loss to Lamon Brewster, which was coincidentally the first time Steward worked with the Ukrainian.
Steward, 68, passed away on October 25 after suffering from stomach cancer and the 36-year-old Klitschko – who will be defending his IBF, WBA and WBO titles - will instead be trained by fellow heavyweight Johnathon Banks, who was also trained by Steward.
Considering that Banks is six years younger than Klitschko, the decision to select the Michigan native is an odd one at first glance.
Under the guise of Steward, Klitschko has dominated the heavyweight division with ease alongside his brother Vitali. Wladimir’s loss to Brewster was the last defeat either sibling has suffered and it could be a long night for Wach.
The undefeated American-based Polish fighter has an unblemished record of 27 wins (15 K.Os) and zero losses and his most significant career wins are over giant heavyweights Julius Long and Tye Fields as well as former Mike Tyson conqueror Kevin McBride respectively.
At 6’, 7” with a reach of 82 inches, the 32-year-old Wach will have a slight height advantage over Klitschko.
But the calibre of Wach’s victories pale in comparison to Klitschko’s especially considering that Klitschko has stopped 50 heavyweights in his 61-fight career.
While Steward may be gone and will be a huge miss in Klitschko’s corner and to boxing in general, expect yet another decisive stoppage from ‘Dr Steelhammer’.