NEW YORK: Wladimir Klitschko, the world heavyweight boxing champion who has not lost a fight in 11 years, said Wednesday he is excited to fight in New York for the first time since 2008.
The 38-year-old German-based Ukranian fighter seeks his 22nd victory in a row when he fights unbeaten American Bryant Jennings on April 25 at Madison Square Garden.
The famed arena was the site of his most recent American bout, a unanimous decision over Russian southpaw Sultan Ibragimov in 2008.
“I’m extremely happy to fight in New York City again,” Klitschko said. “I had my first unification fight there and a lot of great heavyweight matches have taken place at Madison Square Garden. It will definitely be a great fight night and I will do everything for it from my side.”
Klitschko, who also stopped Calvin Brock in the seventh round at the Garden in 2006, has not lost since being stopped in the fifth round by American Lamon Brewster in 2004 at Las Vegas — a defeat Klitschko avenged in Germany in 2007.
Jennings, 19-0 with 10 knockouts, comes off a split-decision victory in the Garden last July over previously unbeaten Puerto Rican southpaw Mike Perez.
“I do have great respect for Bryant Jennings and his achievements,” Klitschko said. “He has good movement in the ring and good technique. I know this will be a tough challenge.”
Klitschko, 63-3 with 53 knockouts, owns the World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Organization crowns. His most recent bout was a fifth-round knockout win over previously unbeaten Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev last November in Hamburg.
Jennings was the mandatory challenger for World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, 33-0 with 32 knockouts after a 12-round unanimous decision victory over Bermane Stiverne last month to take the crown.
But Jennings takes a bigger payday and a potentially much larger payoff against Klitschko.
“This is the moment I have been waiting for,” Jennings said. “Now it’s time to bring the belts home.”