Vital-i Signs Look Good

Vitali "Dr. Ironfirst"This Saturday 40-year-old WBC Heavyweight World Champion Vitali Klitschko will take on highly rated Polishman Tomasz Adamek in defense of his WBC belt. This fight will be the first event to be held in the newly built Stadion Miejski in Wroclaw, Poland and for 34-year-old Adamek, a former cruiserweight world champion, it's a chance at the world title in front of 40,000 fans in his home country.

For Dr. Ironfist (the nickname for Klitschko because of his powerful punch and for having attained a PH.D. in Sports Science) it's a chance to show the world that he still has what it takes to continue to be one of the most successful heavyweight champions in history.  For Adamek it's a title shot in the most lucrative and glamorous boxing division and should he win, he will be elevated to World Champion status.

The Klitschko name has been dominating the headlines in heavyweight boxing for the past 10 years and between Vitali and his younger sibling Vladimir, the brothers now hold all the heavyweight titles.

Less well known is the challenger to the Klitschko dominance. Adamek has registered a very impressive 44 wins and just one defeat across the light heavyweight, cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions as a professional.  His only loss was on points 4 years ago when defending the light heavyweight belt.  He is considered a formidable cruiserweight and like David Haye, Adamek has stepped up a weight class to fight in the big money category.

Klitschko hasn't had to step up to be a heavyweight. The powerful Ukrainian won his first world title 12 years ago when he knocked out British WBO world champion Herbie Hide.  Since then he has suffered 2 defeats and both were due to injury (injured shoulder whilst ahead on points against Chris Byrd and a cut eye stopped him in the 6th round of his clash with Lennox Lewis, also while the judges had him ahead on points).

Most armchair boxing fans will believe Vitali only has to turn up, extend his arms for a few rounds and collect his purse.  Those that follow the sport a bit closer will know that it isn't going to be that easy. In Adamek the Klitschko camp have picked a real fighter, a very hard puncher and a more than capable boxer with speed and good movement. So make no mistake, this match-up will be no easy contest for either fighter and that is what makes this a highly anticipated fight for all boxing fans.

TMT Sports' Tony Mayger (left) is ready to step in if Vitali's opponent does not show up.

When asked during the pre-fight press conference about the changes to his mental and physical shape since the Hide fight in 1999 and whether he has lost any speed or power, he replied, "It's a good question for Fritz" (Vitali's trainer is Fritz Sdunek).  Fritz responded by saying that his condition is "better this time" and that he "has more experience".  Vitali continued,  "I look at the past and I read that I am 40 years old, but you know what, I don't feel 40.  All my sparing partners are younger than me but the main point is experience."

Certainly Vitali is the more experienced of the two fighters, he is also 6 inches taller and physically more imposing than his challenger.  This of course means nothing when we remember the Mike Tyson days and how he demolished much bigger opponents with raw power.

During the press conference Vitali was keen to talk not only about the fight but about politics as well.  He formed a political party in Ukraine in April 2010 called "Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform" and it's clear he is very passionate about making a change in his homeland which celebrated 20 years of independence last month.  One might wonder about his motivation now that he is nearing the twilight years of his boxing career and devoting more and more time to his political career.

With age creeping up on him, as it does to all of us, it may not be long before Vitali hangs up the gloves and begins to square up to political opponents for 12 rounds on the parliamentary canvas.  Whether he would find that prospect any easier than being in the ring waits to be seen.

So as the excitement builds don't forget to tune into RTL on Saturday night to see whether the bookies' favourite Klitschko can add a seventh successful title defense to his current record, or whether the underdog Adamek will surprise everyone and become the new world champion and begin a new chapter in heavyweight boxing history.


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