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Rediff.com  » Sports » Vitali Klitschko aims to restore family honor

Vitali Klitschko aims to restore family honor

March 20, 2004 11:40 IST
Ukranian boxer Vitali Klitschko will be seeking to restore his family's honor and avenge a crushing defeat inflicted on his brother Wladimir when he enters the ring against South African Corrie Sanders in a world heavyweight title fight in Los Angeles next month.

Klitschko jumped into the ring and confronted Sanders after his younger brother was stopped inside two rounds by the South African in Hanover, Germany last year but insisted on Friday he would keep his emotions under control when he himself fights Sanders for the vacant World Boxing Council title.

"It is very difficult to explain my feelings. I was crazy (after his brother's defeat)," Klitschko told a small group of reporters after a press conference to promote the fight.

The giant 32-year-old Ukranian and Sanders are to fight for the WBC heavyweight title at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on April 24, two weeks after Klitschko's younger brother takes on Lamon Brewster for the rival World Boxing Organization's heavyweight championship in Las Vegas.

Both titles are currently vacant.

"Emotion don't help in the fight. I go to the fight without emotion. I will be ready," Klitschko said.

Sanders, now 38, was the underdog when he fought Wladimir Klitschko, super-heavyweight gold medalist at the Olympic games in Atlanta in 1996 and expected by many to succeed recently retired Lennox Lewis of Britain as the world's top fighter.

"I respect very much Corrie Sanders because in my personal opinion the strongest heavyweight in the world is my brother. He beat my brother and therefore I need to respect him," Klitschko told reporters.

Sanders was upset by Klitschko's antics after last year's fight and said that he hopes the Ukrainian fighter lets his emotions overcome him on April 24 because he agrees that emotions make a fighter vulnerable.

"I know what I've got to do. I'm on a mission. If he wants to make it personal in the ring he is going to be down on the floor and the ref is going to count him out," Sanders said.

Sanders, at 6 feet 4 inches (193 cm) is four inches (10 cm) shorter than the Ukrainian and his greatest asset will be his speed.

"I believe speed outperforms power," Harold Volbrecht, Sanders' trainer, told reporters.

If both Klitschkos win, fight fans hoping for a bout between the two brothers will be disappointed.

"I never will fight against my brother," Klitschko said.

Klitschko has lost just twice, last year in a heavyweight title bout in Los Angeles against Lennox Lewis and in 2000 when he was defending the WBO Heavyweight title against Chris Byrd.

His brother Wladimir avenged the Byrd defeat six months later. Now it is Vitali's turn to see if he can return the favor and avenge his younger brother.

Source:
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