Those heavyweights who are looking forward to the day when the division once dominated by American fighters will no longer have to contend with the Klitschko brothers had better think again. Wladimir, now aged 38 but arguably still at his peak, remains all-conquering, and “Dr. Steel Hammer” has told German publication Die Welt that he plans on fighting for a further ten years.
“I just turned 38, but that’s only a number,” Wladimir said. “I am still extremely hungry and better than ever. A few years ago, I thought I couldn’t improve, but my mission is still a long way from over. I want to box on for ten more years.”
If Wladimir boxes on for just a further four years, by which time he will be 42 (which is only a number, as he has already made clear) and remains unbeaten, he will eclipse the great Joe Louis’ record of dominating for a staggering 12-years. “The Brown Bomber” ruled the heavyweights without a blemish from 1937 to 1949. Wladimir, whose older brother Vitali is now retired and hugely involved in politics, has not lost a fight since April of 2004.
As good as Wladimir is and as comparatively weak as today’s heavyweight division is, there seems to be no fighter around capable of stopping the unified Ring Magazine, IBF, WBA, WBO, IBO ruler from continuing on for as long as he likes. Next up is Alex Leapai, a fighter who, meaning no disrespect to the man who earned his shot by beating Denis Boytsov, appears to have about as much of a chance of ruling the heavyweight kingdom as past challenger Jean Pierre Coopman had way back when.
Then, barring the upset of the century, Wladimir will move on and look to take care of his IBF mandatory obligations and fight the deserving and strong Kubrat Pulev. A good fight, maybe even a tough night in spells for Wladimir, the younger Klitschko brother will also be heavily fancied to win that fight, too. So, at least another year of dominance looks likely for Wladimir.
Next year things might get interesting as far as Wladimir’s challengers go, because by this time next year we should have a reigning WBC champion who has fulfilled all of his tournament obligations. Will Chris Arreola emerge as the true WBC king, the man Wladimir will have to fight if he’s to own all of the major heavyweight belts, or will it be Bermane Stiverne, or Deontay Wilder, or the winner of the upcoming Mike Perez-Bryant Jennings clash? Or will the winner of the WBO eliminator between Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora emerge as the biggest, most dangerous threat to Wladimir’s dominance and his new goal?
Klitschko is shooting for history, and it will take a brave fighter to stop him from achieving it. As for brave, is there anyone out there brave enough to predict Wladimir’s demise at the hands of any of the heavyweights mentioned above – or is there any other unmentioned fighter out there capable of such a stunning result?
No, Wladimir, love him or loathe him and his oft-criticised “safety-first” style, looks set to reign for some time yet.