(transcription by Tim Dawkins) The heavyweight championship was once the most predominant title to hold in all of sports, and holding the belt had you held in high regard. Now, when you ask the common person who the Heavyweight champion is, they no longer have the answer. Wladimir Klitschko is the reigning RING/IBO/WBA/WBO/IBF champion, and has amassed an outstanding record of 61-3 with 51 KO’s, has been unbeaten for almost 10 years, and has held a portion of the title for over 7 years, defending his belt 15 times.
During the 204th edition of “On The Ropes” I had a chance to speak with Wladimir Klitschko about his 2013 year and get his views on his most recent title defense against Alexander Povetkin. I also got his thoughts on why he believes his victories are under appreciated by boxing fans. In addition I spoke to Wladimir about who he would like to fight next and if he has interest in facing undefeated Tyson Fury in his next fight. Here is what Wladimir Klitschko had to say in part 1 of my 2 part interview.
JENNA J: Wladimir you had a pretty successful year, you had 2 wins in 2013 and your last one being a long waited fight with Alexander Povetkin. How do you rate the year you had?
WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO: I think it was a good year for me as an athlete, I had to defend all my titles twice; against Pianeta and Povetkin, and I am looking forward to next year, there is always a challenge, there is always different fighters that want to achieve more and show more and get the world titles in their hands.
Of course it’s pretty difficult but I’m still managing it pretty well because I love being a professional in something I really understand well, and that’s boxing. I was introduced to boxing when I was 14, I am 37 now, so you could imagine how much experience I’ve gained through the years, and to show this experience in the ring against any opponents and challengers, it’s a great pleasure and satisfaction after wining the fights.
JENNA: Now Wladimir, through the years before Emanuel Steward died, he appeared a lot on this radio show, and he said that the fight with Povetkin would be a very important one for your boxing career, one would that would allow you to shine. You won the fight, you dominated the fight and you knocked him down many times but people were still critical afterwards. Were you disappointed in people’s reaction to your performance?
KLITSCHKO: Well there is a lot of criticism that I have received in the past and that my fights are one sided in a certain way, and I understand that there is not much excitement. For example, when both boxers are getting hit a lot and it’s going back and forth, and during the fight you don’t really understand who is winning but it’s really exciting. I’ve learned this game, and I know exactly what to do in the ring and that’s the art of boxing, to win the fight, to knock the guy out and not get hit once.
I didn’t knock Alexander Povetkin out because you can’t really plan it, you do everything for it, and it didn’t work that way with the knockout, but it was 12 rounds, and I dominated every round. I think that it’s very difficult to run 12 miles and not sweat and it’s the same for fighting 12 rounds and not get hit once. In a certain way it’s hard, but I understand the critiques.
I won’t change my style, I assure you with that, and I will continue with what I’ve learned in the past and what I’ve learned with Emanuel Steward, all the tools in regards to strategy, tactics, and technique that I have, and will continue my success and I will do everything and anything to continue winning my fights.
JENNA: Now Wladimir you’ve beaten all the guys that were up there; you beat Chagaev, you beat David Haye, now you’ve beat Povetkin. You said you’re 37 years old now, what is out there to motivate you? There is Tyson Fury who you’ve sparred in the past and there is Deontay Wilder who’s unproven, what is out there for you in the future?
KLITSCHKO: Well I am still motivated as explained before. I think that in boxing it has always been like that, you had always certain days and times where champions were fighting and were dominant and they always had competitors, always people that challenged them.
You have to be alert and aware of how strong they could be and I am sure that these young fighters as you mentioned previously; Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, I think they have the size, the weight, the punching power, as Deontay with 30 fights with 30 knockout wins, which is fantastic record, and I think the challenge is always going to be there.
I definitely need to stay alert, and I learned in the past and also from my failures that if you’re not 100% focused in the ring, just one second is going to be enough to lose the fight. In other words, you snooze you lose. So, I don’t want to have that anymore, and as long as I am motivated I will continue to defend my titles against any young fighter.
JENNA: Tyson Fury has called you out quite a few times in the past. He called you out through this show. He had two fall out fights with David Haye, now he is looking for an opponent, would you have interest in that fight?
KLITSCHKO: Absolutely, in a certain way it’s interesting, we’ve been asking Tyson Fury about the fight and his team keeps saying he’s not ready yet, I am not done yet. I am not sure if it was from him but definitely from his management team. I think that such fight against Fury that if he will continue to be successful will happen and I feel kind also bad that this fight with Tyson Fury and David Haye didn’t work, because of the injury to David Haye, but I think it would of been an interesting fight.
There are a lot of names that are out there, and even some fighters that are not well known but if you really take a particular look, they are strong, they have the desire and hunger for boxing and keep winning the fights. I think I’ll get enough challenges in the near future. So I have not done my homework yet about choosing who’s gonna to be my next opponent and where it’s going to be, but I hope to announce it in the next couple of weeks.