Lennox Lewis and Vitali Klitschko to fight exhibition bout in September/October
By Jim Dower: After many years out of the ring, 52-year-old former heavyweight world champion Lennox Lewis will reportedly be battling 47-year-old former heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko in an exhibition bout in September or October, according to 112.International. The exhibition bout, which is for charity, between the 6’7” Vitali will take place in his home country in Kiev, Ukraine.
Klitschko is the older brother of former heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko, who recently gave British heavyweight Anthony Joshua all he could handle last year in April 2017 at Wembley Stadium in London, England. Joshua was almost knocked out by the 41-year-old Wladimir.
15 years ago, Lewis stopped Klitschko on cuts in the 6th round in June 2003. The referee was forced to step in and halt the fight after Lewis badly cut Klitschko under his left eye. At the time of the stoppage, the fight looked to be pretty even. The three judges had Vitali ahead by the scores 58-56, 58-56 and 58-56. Lewis had connected with some huge uppercuts in the 6th and he appeared to be rallying. However, Vitali’s strong punch resistance kept him on his feet after getting hit with the jarring shots. It’s unclear who would have won the fight had Klitschko not been cut. He was the much busier of the two, and he had Lewis’ outside came completely neutralized.
The only thing Lewis had was his uppercuts on the inside. Given how tired Lewis was at the time of the stoppage, it’s likely that the younger, fresher, better conditioned Klitschko would have eventually stopped him in the later rounds if the fight went that far. Klitschko was highly upset at the stoppage, as he felt that he could continue fighting. Lewis was completely exhausted after the fight ended. It was clear that he wasn’t going to last much longer due to the heavy pressure and face pace Klitschko was forcing upon him. The only thing Lewis had left in his arsenal at the time of the stoppage was his uppercut. His shots from the outside were too slow and were getting picked off by Vitali, and his jabs were also ineffective.
Not long afterwards, Lewis retired from boxing, wrapping up his 14-year pro career. Klitschko wanted a rematch with Lewis, but it never happened. It would have given Klitschko a huge payday if he’s gotten a second fight.
Klitschko hasn’t fought since beating Manuel Charr in September 2012. It’s been six years since Klitschko last fought, but he still looks like he’s in fighting shape. He’s very well-conditioned for a 47-year-old. In contrast, Lewis looks a little puffy and not as trim. This is just an exhibition bout, of course, but it won’t be surprising if the two of them exchange big shots during the fight. If Lewis can still throw his uppercuts with power, he might score a stoppage if Klitschko makes the mistake of trying to clinch like he was doing in their fight in 2003.
After Klitschko’s loss to Lewis, he never lost again, winning his last 13 fights before retiring in 2013. Vitali was out of the ring from 2004 to 2008 due to injury problems. Klitschko came back in 2008 to defeat WBC heavyweight Samuel Peter by an 8th round knockout. Klitschko then successfully defended his World Boxing Council title nine times before retiring in 2013.