World heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko is aiming to improve his knockout rate when he defends his WBC belt in Poland on Saturday, while his coach Fritz Sdunek says he expects him to retire soon.
The 40-year-old can expect to have few friends among the 42,000 fans expected at the Miejski Stadium in Wroclaw when he takes on home favourite and mandatory challenger Tomasz Adamek for the World Boxing Council belt.
With 39 knockouts in 42 victories and two defeats, Klitschko has one of the highest knockout rates in boxing at 88 percent and says he will do all he can to stop the fight going the 12 rounds.
“I will give my best to improve my knockout rate,” he told German TV channel RTL. “The only thing I can promise is that there will be no questions after the fight about who won the battle.”
Alongside younger brother Wladimir, who holds the IBF, WBO and WBA titles, the Klitschko brothers dominate the division and the Ukrainian will have a 15kg weight and 11-inch height advantage over Adamek, who is six years younger.
This will be the elder Klitschko’s first fight since he turned 40 in July and he admits references to his age now feel like “verbal low blows” as he prepares for the seventh defence of the title he won against Samuel Peter in Berlin in 2008.
His coach Sdunek says he expects Klitschko to box on for only two or three more fights with a possible future opponent likely to be David Haye.
The British fighter was beaten by Wladimir in July for the WBA title and has annoyed Vitali in the past.
“He will have two or three fights more fights, I do not think he will have more,” Sdunek told German daily Die Welt.
“Certainly he is not getting any younger and his political work costs him plenty of time and energy.
“Anyway, he has never been so fit and strong and the way he makes younger boxers look silly is crazy.”
Klitschko has yet to say when he will hang up his gloves for the second time, after coming out of retirement in 2008, but is expected to dominate Adamek, a former world champion at both cruiserweight and light-heavyweight.
“I want to say one thing — you have to be born as a heavyweight,” said Klitschko. “Tomasz Adamek has only grown into the division by eating like a heavyweight.”
But Adamek, whose 44 victories, 28 knockouts and just one defeat have mostly come at lighter weights, believes that his small stature will bring some benefits.
“My pace is going to kill him, it’s as simple as that,” said Adamek.
“If you are slow, he is going to hit you, but if you are fast, then afterwards he won’t know where he is.”
Having been taken the distance in two of his last four fights, Klitschko has said he wants to make it a short bout.
“This is my title and I will never lose it inside the ring,” he said.
“I am in very good shape and I cannot wait to show once again that I am the best.”