The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Wladimir Klitschko looks to defend heavyweight title against Bryant Jennings

Heavyweight boxers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko greet family members during family hour before the memorial services for Emanuel Steward Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, Michigan. (Kirthmon F. Dozier/Detroit Free Press/MCT)

Boxing’s longest reigning champion, Wladimir Klitschko returns to fight on American soil for the first time in over seven years this Saturday against undefeated Philadelphia-native, Bryant “By-by” Jennings on HBO.

The last time viewers caught a glimpse of Klitschko was last fall when he was seen knocking out Kubrat Pulev, a highly touted Bulgarian prospect with a sweeping left hook in the fifth round.

Klitschko, carries a record of 63-3 with 50 knockouts and Jennings (19-0, 10 KOs) will fight at Madison Square Garden. The last time Klitschko was at Madison Square Garden, he fought to a lackluster unanimous decision in 2008 against Sultan Ibragimov, who refused to engage in any sort of fighting over 12 rounds.

Klitschko’s older brother, Vitali Klitschko, who retired in 2013 was also a heavyweight boxing champion until he decided to hang up the gloves to pursue politics in Ukraine, where he is now the mayor of Kiev and played a part in the Euromaidan protest in Ukraine.

Klitschko, 39 hasn’t lost a match since 2004, when he was upset by US fighter Lamon Brewster in the fifth round. Since then he’s managed to collect three of the four major heavyweight title belts, the The International Boxing Federation (IBF), The World Boxing Organization (WBO) and World Boxing Association (WBA) titles and defend his IBF title 17 times.

Jennings, 30, picked up boxing just six years ago and isn’t showing any signs of intimidation before the biggest bout of his life.

“I’ll be the fourth Philly-born heavyweight to ever fight for the title, and just the second Philly-born heavyweight to ever be champion, once I win on April 25,” Jennings told the Philadelphia Daily News.

A Federal Reserve Bank mechanic by day, Jennings learned his craft the non-traditional way in his mid-20’s and after a long day’s work. For this particular training camp, he was forced to leave the distractions at home and have training camp in Houston, Texas.

Regardless, Jennings faces a major uphill battle against Klitschko. Vegas Insider listed Klitschko at -1600 betting odds to defeat Jennings, while Jennings was listed at +800 betting odds to win the Heavyweight crown.

Klitschko’s long jab and powerful right cross has devastated opponents over the years and while his critics claim that he isn’t a crowd pleasing fighter, only four of his opponents have made it to the scorecards in his past 17 defenses.

Those that do make it past the first stanza of the fight grow fatigued by Klitschko’s tactics, such as pulling down the fighters head and leaning his body on them.

“If someone dives at my knees or under the belt line what am I supposed to do?,” Klitschko told spectators at Tuesday’s final press conference at Madison Square Garden.

Jennings isn’t particularly known as a hard puncher, but in a heavyweight title fight, any hard punch can change the fight.

The one advantage Jennings holds over the six-foot-six Klitschko, is his 84-inch reach, compared to Klitschko’s 81-inch reach. Still, Jennings faces an uphill battle, he doesn’t jab as well as Klitschko and Klitschko is the bigger fighter, compared to Jennings listed at 6’3.

Jennings hopes to join WBC Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder as the United States’ second heavyweight champion in recent years.

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