World heavyweight champion Vladimir Klitschko takes on the undefeated American heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings with his WBA WBO IBF IBO titles all on the line for the fight which will be staged at New York City’s iconic premier boxing venue, Madison Square Garden, on April 25th.
The whole boxing world is expecting it to be just another day at the office for the towering Ukrainian. This is the first time the 39-year old has fought on American soil since way back in 2008 when he comfortably beat Sultan Ibragimov over the distance in a fight that nobody can remember.
By nature he is a focused competitor. You can be sure that he has been thorough and diligent in his preparations for the fight even if he is expected to win with complete ease. There therefore seems little to no chance that he will be underestimating his so far unbeaten opponent.
Although Jennings is only 6ft 3 inches tall he has a very long reach for his height, longer than even Vladimir’s but whether he will be able to use that to his advantage is doubtful as he will still be jabbing upwards towards the bright lights of the Madison Square Garden theatre and therefore losing some power.
Jennings has 10 knockout victories to his name and is not known for being a particularly big puncher although the saying goes that all heavyweights can whack. He was a very late starter in the sport having walked into the boxing gym for the first time as a 24 year old and has since balanced his pro boxing career alongside his job as a maintenance man in a bank.
This fight will incredibly be his first as a ‘full time professional’ so the 30 year old contender has come a long, long way in a relatively short time frame and his achievements in getting a shot at world title glory can only be admired. Unlike Klitschko, a top class amateur who won the super heavyweight Olympic Gold medal in 1996, the Philadelphian native has very little amateur experience clocking up only a handful of fights before making the switch to the professional game.
To his credit Jennings had engineered himself into the mandatory position to challenge for the WBC world title held by Deontay Wilder but passed on the opportunity to dethrone his fellow American for an even harder fight against the seemingly indomitable Vladimir Klitschko, a man who has completely dominated the division for over a decade.
The names that the American has beaten are hardly recognisable to the average boxing fan. Only Cuban heavyweight Mike Perez who he beat via way of a split decision stands out as an opponent of any note. He is currently ranked as America’s 4th best heavyweight behind Deontay Wilder, Tony Thompson and Antonio Tarver.
Fighting in America has never been the most lucrative option for Klitschko who has fought predominantly in Germany in recent years. His mechanical jab is supremely effective but his style has never been one to please or excite a paying American boxing public who are desperate for more action than the Klitschko show provides. However Vladimir’s decision to return to New York may be a signal of intent that he is out to impress the American television audience and follow up his devastating fifth round knockout performance over Kubrat Pulev with another stoppage victory.
However that is not to say he will be straying too far from using his usual tactics and maximising full use of his infamous ramrod jab in methodical style and with expert precision.