Wladimir Klitschko defends title for 18th time with points win over Bryant Jennings
Ukrainian fends off American with powerful jab to win unanimous decision
Wladimir Klitschko celebrates his title defence. Photo: EPA
Wladimir Klitschko of Ukraine successfully defended his world heavyweight boxing title for the 18th time in a row with a unanimous points decision over American Bryant Jennings at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
The 39-year-old Klitschko, who tied heavyweight legend Joe Louis in contesting the 27th heavyweight title fight of his career, improved to 64-3. Jennings, 30, fell to 19-1.
Two judges scored it 116-111, and the third judge made it 118-109 for Klitschko, who had one point deducted in the 10th round for excessive holding.
Klitschko relied on his heavy jab to pile up points against Jennings, 30, who scored with digging rights into the ribs of the Ukrainian when the champion clinched, and caught him a few times with leaping left-hand leads.
Jennings fought defensively for the first third of the bout with his gloves held high over his face, only occasionally springing into offensive action.
In the middle third of the 12-rounder, the American turned more aggressive and by the ninth round had caused a cut under Klitschko’s left eye.
Klitschko responded by throwing more combinations, following up his stiff jab with a dangerous right.
Klitschko’s film star wife Hayden Panetierre celebrates. Photo: USA Today
Jennings was unmarked and neither fighter appeared in trouble at any point, though Klitschko finished strong, landing a big right hand in the final seconds.
“He didn’t give me a chance to throw the right as much as I wanted to,” Klitschko said about the challenger. “He’s very confident, very athletic.”
Jennings thought the fight was much closer than the scoring.
“Every time I started working he held me,” Jennings said. “When he was holding I was hitting him to the body. I must have hit him with about a hundred body shots, but not much to the head.
“I think the margin should have been much closer.”
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 April, 2015, 3:01pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 April, 2015, 3:01pm