On Saturday night, September 26, Vitali Klitschko will defend his heavyweight championship belt against top contender Chris Arreola. For Arreola, it’s a chance to make history and follow in the footsteps of Jack Johnson. For Klitschko, it’s his third time headlining at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, a record for all fighters, and it’s another step in the journey towards being a long reigning champion.
Klitschko held a media conference call on Tuesday, September 15 to discuss his preparations for the fight. He’s eager to make a splash in his third appearance in Los Angeles, where has a home and a strong following. He said that, “I promise everybody will be surprised, because my performance will be much better than before.”
While Klitschko says that he, “Doubt[s] anybody can beat me,” he is also taking the challenge from Arreola very seriously. “He knocks his opponents around, he’s an aggressive fighter. He’s strong, and I don’t want to underestimate him,” Klitschko said. Klitschko also noted Arreola’s amateur experience, his good combination punching and his explosive power.
Klitschko says of Arreola that he has, “Everything he needs to be world champion.” So what will stop him from becoming one at your expense Vitali? The difference in Klitschko’s eyes is his experience.
He notes that in the beginning of his career different styles gave him problems, but now he says that, “I am ready to fight anyone, with any style. If I study Chris Arreola, I know how I can fight this guy and I know how I can beat him, because I have experience fighting fighters with the same size and the same skills.”
Comments on strategy and predictions were scarce from Team Klitschko, however Vitali is confident that he will be ready for anything else that gets thrown in his direction. He said that he never enters a fight with just one plan, but rather a handful of them to break out as needed.
At 38 years old and coming off a four year layoff, some have questioned how long Klitschko will be actively fighting. However, he says that the layoff actually has helped renew his passion for the sport. Prior to the time off he was dealing with chronic injuries and twice had to cancel fights. He says that he had, “Time to fix my problems and time to be really hungry about boxing again. It has helped me a lot.”
Klitschko joked that he wouldn’t be trying to break George Foreman’s record as the oldest heavyweight champion (Foreman was a champion at age 46), but he does have plans on sticking around, and he wants to keep his title for a long time to come. The first step will be taking care of Arreola on the 26th.
Photo Credit: K2 Promotions