As far as reigning champions go Wladimir Klitschko is the daddy. As well as having more knockout wins than many in the division have fights, the man is the longest unified heavyweight champion in the history of the sport in both the number of defences and calendar months at the helm.
Throw in his ability to speak five languages, play chess at an advanced level and his possession of a PhD in Sports Science, and not only are you dealing with one very tough cookie but one very smart ring master as well.
Along with his older brother Vitali he has ruled boxing’s most popular division since the turn of the millennium, albeit a couple of minor discrepancies where he lost to supposedly ‘lesser’ fighters.
A knockout loss at the hands of Corrie Sanders in 2003 and a stoppage to Lamon Brewster in 2004 have raised questions about his chin. But having recruited tall-fighter specialist Emmanuel Steward to train him, Wladimir has answered by becoming a pound-for-pound list resident with the stiffest jab and right cross in the business.
Gold medal winner at the 1996 Olympic Games for his native Ukraine, Wladimir and the rest of the Klitschko contingent now fight out of Germany where they pack football stadiums and come through title fights unscathed.
One by one Wladimir has disposed of every big man that’s come from far and wide to challenge him, from Brit bomber David Haye to hot US prospects like ‘Fast’ Eddie Chambers, to the hardest African warriors like Samuel ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ Peter, to fellow old Soviet block combatants like Ruslan Chagaev, all have tried and come up considerably short.