Wed, Nov 15, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Klitschko wants to be the ring king

AFP , NEW YORK

Wladimir Klitschko, right, hits Calvin Brock during their IBF/IBO heavyweight championship boxing match at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday. Klitschko defeated Brock with a technical knockout in the seventh round.

PHOTO: EPA

Wladimir Klitschko has his eyes on unifying the heavyweight boxing throne and his next target is one he can hardly miss -- undefeated Russian giant Nikolay Valuev.

Ukraine's Klitschko stopped unbeaten US fighter Calvin Brock in the seventh round here on Saturday to keep the International Boxing Federation title and said his main goal was to become an undisputed heavyweight ring king.

"Only the guy who will unify the heavyweight title will get public respect," Klitschko said.

"I don't consider myself a real champion. I'm interested in unifying the titles and I think the heavyweight division needs a real champion. I want to see one champion," he said.

Klitschko, 47-3 with 42 knockouts, wants to fight World Boxing Council champion Valuev or Kazak-born Oleg Maskaev, the World Boxing Association champion.

He declared Valuev, 33, the more attractive target because the massive Russian, at 2.13m, is the hugest champion in heavyweight history and has a typical weight edge on rivals of 40kg to 50kg.

"Valuev is really something special because of his size," Klitschko said. "This guy is the biggest, the tallest heavyweight champion in history. I wish to fight him. If it's possible, I'd love to take him next."

Valuev is 45-0 with 33 knockouts and could rival the late Rocky Marciano's 49-0 undefeated career mark. Marciano, killed in a 1969 plane crash, was the only heavyweight champion in history to retire undefeated.

Klitschko, 30, joked he might need a sparring partner from the National Basketball Association to challenge the Shaquille O'Neal-sized Valuev.

A hopeful trying to talk his way into Klitschko's path is the US' Shannon Briggs, who won the World Boxing Organization crown earlier this month and challenged Klitschko after his victory.

"I only want a unification fight," Briggs said. "I'll fight anybody who has a title belt."

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