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Champ Klitschko faces taller, heavier Wach

HAMBURG, Germany (AP) - Wladimir Klitschko has looked down on all his opponents since turning pro 16 years ago.

On Saturday, the 6-foot-6 Ukrainian will face someone taller for the first time. The 6-7 1/2 Mariusz Wach of Poland is heavier too, weighing in at 251 pounds to Klitschko's 247 on Friday.

Klitschko will defend his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight belts against the formidable two-time Polish champion, who also has a longer reach.

Perhaps only 7-foot-2 Nikolai Valuev could have posed a greater physical challenge for the 36-year-old Klitschko, but the ``Russian Giant'' retired in 2009 after losing his WBA title to British fighter David Haye.

Klitschko defeated former cruiserweight Haye in his previous fight in Hamburg in July 2011, and will be fighting for the fourth time in his adopted hometown of Hamburg.

The 32-year-old Wach has won all 27 of his bouts, 15 by knockout, since turning pro in 2005. He's aiming to become Poland's first world heavyweight champion.

Klitschko is 58-3 (51 KOs) going into his 22nd world championship fight - the first since the death of his longtime coach and friend Emanuel Steward last month.

``I will defend the titles that I won together with Emanuel Steward,'' the 36-year-old said at Monday's press conference. ``He wasn't just a coach. Emanuel Steward was a genius, a genius in the ring.''

It will be Klitschko's third defense this year after knockout wins over Jean-Marc Mormeck of France in March and American challenger Tony Thompson in July.

Sylvester Stallone, famous from his role in the Rocky series of films, will attend the bout. It's part of the promotional campaign for the Rocky musical.

Klitschko and his older brother Vitali, together with Stallone, had a hand in the production of ``Rocky: Fight from the Heart,'' which opens in Hamburg on Nov. 18.

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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