Klitschko Coasts To Victory Over Chagaev

June 21, 2009

Wladimir Klitschko successfully defended his IBF and WBO heavyweight championship belts Saturday night, defeating challenger Ruslan Chagaev by TKO prior to the start of Round 10. The blowout victory occurred in Germany before 61,000 fans, and earned Klitschko a Ring Magazine belt as well. The win improved Klitschko's record to 53-3-0 (47 KO's), while Chagaev dropped to 25-1-1.

Klitschko set the tone quite early, scoring a knockdown of Chagaev with a crisp straight right hand at the end of a lopsided Round 2.

Klitschko continued to dominate the remaining rounds, and finally opened a nasty cut over the left eye of Chagaev in Round 8.

In Round 9, Klitschko increased the intensity of his attack, repeatedly pounding his opponent on the ropes. Chagaev would not make it to Round 10, as referee Eddie Cotton wisely elected to stop the fight.

Klitschko's formula for success was relatively straightforward, as he took advantage of his superior size and reach by methodically bombarding Chagaev from distance with accurate left jabs and straight right hands, often in 1-2 combinations.

In fact, Klitschko's attack was so overwhelming that he rarely tried to vary his approach with a hook or uppercut. Quite simply, Chagaev had no answer for Klitschko's onslaught of 1-2's.

Meanwhile, Chagaev dealt with several obstacles in this fight, all of which undermined his attempt to win a title.

First, Chagaev took the fight on relatively short notice after Klitshcko's original opponent, David Haye, pulled out of the June 20 fight date due to injury. Second, Chagaev's lack of size and reach prevented him from getting inside and generating any significant offense against Klitschko.

But perhaps Chagaev's biggest obstacle was his own flawed gameplan.

Throughout the fight, the southpaw Chagaev inexplicably circled to his left, directly into Klitschko's powerful right hand. This tactic caused Chagaev to eat straight rights all night from a sharp, on-top-of-his-game Klitschko. Klitschko also exacerbated Chagaev's error and controlled the geography of the fight by wisely keeping his lead left foot on the outside Chagaev's right foot.

Although this loss proved that Chagaev is miles from ever seriously challenging Klitschko, he now has much bigger career worries. Chagaev apparently is a carrier of Hepatitis B, which could preclude him from boxing in some countries.

As for Klitschko, not much has changed. His one-sided victory proved that he still is a cut above the rest of the heavyweight division, save for his brother Vitali. Because the two brothers have vowed never to fight each other, Klitschko's most interesting opponent remains the charismatic David Haye.

For the sake of breathing new life into the division, let's hope that fight gets rescheduled.

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for TheDailySportsHerald.com

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