'Viking' Wach abstains in his bid to shock Klitschko
BERLIN (AFP) –
Poland’s Mariusz Wach may be nicknamed ‘The Viking’, but he has subjected himself to abstinence and a spartan regime in his bid to beat world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday.
With an impressive unbeaten record of 15 knock-outs in 27 wins, the Polish challenger takes on Klitschko with the world champions’ IBF, WBO and WBA belts on the line in Hamburg.
For the first time in his 61 professional fights, Klitschko will have to look up at his opponent as he gives away four centimetres to the 2.02m tall Wach, who has a reach of 2.08m from fingertip to fingertip, across his shoulders.
Despite Wach’s record, his only significant victory is a fourth-round knockout win last year against Kevin McBride, who beat an ageing Mike Tyson back in 2005, but he has trained three times a day for five months for this fight.
“I am prepared 100 percent and will provide a fight that will remain long in the memory,” says the 32-year-old Wach, who lives in New Jersey.
Having banned himself from sex, alchohol or any sweets and subjected himself to a fierce training regime, Wach has taken every measure to ensure success.
Since entering his US training camp on June 11, Wach has been accompanied everywhere by a cardboard cut-out of Klitschko to remind him of the challenge he faces.
The Klitschko cut-out watched over his shoulder at dinner, during training and even when he sleeps.
“Because I have always seen him, it’s a kind of psychological conflict and he has become my friend,” explained Wach and having seen Klitschko’s face everyday for months, there will be no fear factor when they meet in the ring.
With 50 knock-outs and 58 victories in 61 professional fights, this will be Klitschko’s third defence since unifying all three belts by beating Britain’s David Haye in July 2011, also in Hamburg.
“I am a real heavyweight,” said Krakow-born Wach. “I will not let Wladimir come into the fight, but will put him under pressure from the start.
“We will take a lot of hard hits, until I finally knock him out.
“I’ll be the first heavyweight champion from Poland.”
But Klitschko will present a tough challenge.
“Welcome to big time boxing!” Klitschko, 36, boomed at his opponent at Monday’s press conference.
“He can hit pretty good,” added the champion. “But it depends on how you use the size.
“If the opportunity arises, I will finish the fight early.”
This will be Klitschko’s first fight since his trainer Emanuel Steward died of cancer on October 24 in his home town of Detroit.
“I will be without Emanuel, but his presence will be with me when I step into the ring and I will defend the titles we have won together,” said Klitschko, who will have sparring partner Johnathon Banks in his corner in place of Steward.
“I know what I have to do and I will do it for him.”