Wladimir Klitschko defends four belts against Francesco Pianeta
–WORLD heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko has defended his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts, outclassing challenger Francesco Pianeta with a sixth-round knockout to register the 60th win of his career.
Although German-Italian Pianeta, who survived testicular cancer three years ago, came into the bout undefeated from 29 fights, he was outclassed by the 37-year-old champion at Mannheim in south-west Germany.
“I want to thank my opponent. There are a lot of challengers who talk a lot, but he got in the ring and fought bravely,” said Klitschko.
After Pianeta fought on, despite first hitting the canvas in the fourth round, the champion paid further tribute to the challenger’s courage.
“After the battle he has had against cancer, he deserves respect,” said Klitschko.
“He tried everything to hit me. If he had landed one of his big punches, I wouldn’t have got up.”
Pianeta made an ambitious start with one huge right-hand coming over the top of Klitschko’s guard but failing to connect, while the champion responded with two heavy jabs which found their target.
Klitschko relied on his jab in the opening three rounds as the challenger landed several heavy shots, but a big right from the Ukrainian put Pianeta on the floor in the fourth round.
From then on, the challenger was struggling to stay in the fight and, although he showed plenty of heart by fighting on, he was down again in the fifth, but managed to survive the count.
With his coordination compromised, it was only a matter of time before the fight was brought to an end.
With his trainer ready to throw in the towel, Pianeta did not come up again after hitting the canvas after 2mins 52 seconds of the sixth round following a brutal left-right combination which floored him.
“I’m ok, just very disappointed and sad,” added Pianeta after receiving treatment in the ring.
Victory gave Klitschko the 51st knockout of his career, but the last of his three defeats came nearly a decade ago.
For his next fight, Klitschko has been ordered by the World Boxing Association to face Russia’s Alexander Povetkin in Moscow on August 31.