Wladimir Klitschko banks on heavyweight support

AFP, BERLIN

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 - Page 19

World champion Wladimir Klitschko will have US heavyweight boxer Johnathon Banks in his corner for his Nov. 10 bout against Poland’s Mariusz Wach, it was revealed on Tuesday.

Banks, who has a fight himself on Nov. 17 in New Jersey, will replace Klitschko’s coach, Emanuel “Manny” Steward, who is recovering after a bowel operation, the world champion’s manager, Bernd Boente, told SID, an Agence France-Presse subsidiary.

“Wladimir is very impressed by Johnathon. He says Banks can read a fight and know what tactics should be applied. He’ll be a very good coach one day,” Boente said.

Banks, 30, is one of Klitschko’s sparring partners, and will be ringside when the Ukrainian champion defends his WBA, WBO and IBF belts in Hamburg next month.

It is unclear how long the 68-year-old Steward will be unable to coach the world champion after surgery last month, but Boente was optimistic.

“We hope that Emanuel will be in Wladimir’s corner again next year,” he said, with Steward having trained former world champions Evander Holyfield of the US and Britain’s Lennox Lewis in the past.

At 2.02m tall and with a reach of 2.08m, Wach will present Klitschko with a sizable challenge in Hamburg, having yet to lose a professional fight with 15 KOs and 27 victories.

Klitschko suffered the last of his three defeats back in 2004 and enjoyed the 50th knock-out of his career against Tony Thompson in July to leave him with a record of 58 wins from his 61 professional bouts.