Wladimir Klitschko will match legendary champion Joe Louis in boxings record books with his 27th heavyweight title fight on Saturday against unbeaten American Bryant Jennings at Madison Square Garden.
Dr. Steelhammer Klitschko, 39, has put a stranglehold on the heavyweight division as king of the hill stretching back nine years and 17 successful defences in a row since winning the crown for the second time in 2006.
The two fighters held their last press conference on 21 April before the April 25th showdown at Madison Square Garden, and Klitschko sounded confident.
Im definitely excited about this fight. Im definitely excited to fight at Madison Square Garden. Seven years break, back in the states. Fantastic. Right time, right venue and right opponent.
The 62 Ukraine carries a 63-3-0 record into the bout against 30-year-old Bryant Jennings of Philadelphia, who is 19-0 since taking up boxing six years ago.
Jennings said history will be made when he faces off against his Ukrainian opponent.
April 25th is history. Its history for me, its history for Philadelphia, its history for all of my supporters, its history for my team, its history for everybody thats involved with Bryant Jennings. And lets begin this by saying I make mistakes too. I aint perfect, but guess what? Im going to be perfect Saturday night, said Jennings.
Youthful exuberance may go only so far against Klitschko, who has shown himself a master technician during his long run.
I am positive that this fight in this small ring, which is the smallest ring in boxing, 18ft, is going to be really entertaining and really exciting and Im aware of the capabilities of my opponent and his athleticism and know that he can last for 12 rounds and I know that hes going to challenge and be challenged at every second, said Klitschko.
Despite a three-inch height advantage in Klitschkos favour, Jennings enjoys the same sized edge in reach which could help him keep the champion at bay with jabs.
Jennings trainer, Fred Jenkins, said his fighter will be able to exploit weaknesses he has found in the champions style.
Everybodys been watching Klitschko, theyve been seeing all the greatness. But nobody every looked at the negative of Klitschko. Now Ive been watching fights over the last month and Ive seen so many things that Klitschko did wrong that it was embarrassing to even mention, said Jenkins.
Klitschko, who would move within one of Larry Holmess 19 consecutive title defenses with a victory over Jennings – still a long way from the mark of 25 held by Joe Louis – said he was allergic to comparisons with other boxing greats.
Should Klitschko conquer Jennings, other up-and-comers await including Englishman Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, who holds the WBC belt, the only one to elude the Ukrainian.