Going, Austria (4E Sports) – A torn left biceps injury has forced heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko to postpone his mandatory title defense against Kubrat Pulev.
The fight, scheduled for Sept. 6 at the O2 World Arena in Hamburg, Germany, will be rescheduled for November probably at the same venue which was already sold out.
“We hope to reschedule the bout in the same arena in mid-November, probably Nov. 15,” Bernd Boente, Klitschko’s manager, said. “But that is something we have to discuss with the arena and RTL [the German television network that has a contract to carry Klitschko's fights]. We also have to talk to the IBF because this fight is a mandatory.”
“Of course, we are all disappointed, but these things can happen during the preparation,” Boente said.
Boente said Klitschko’s injury was discovered when he visited a hospital near the camp in Austria, where they detected the torn muscle.
Dr. Robert Siorpaes diagnosed the injury and recommended that Klitschko suspend training for about four weeks.
“He was in top shape and he had perfect sparring partners. He did a long preparation and is sorry to have to postpone the fight,” he said.
“I am very disappointed that the fight cannot take place as planned. I am in absolute top form and had a great training camp. Of course, I’m sorry for the fans, but also for my opponent Kubrat Pulev, who was certainly training as intensely as I do,” Klitschko said in a statement.
Klitschko (62-3, 53 KOs) is bidding for a 17th title defense. His 16 successful defenses during his second title reign are the third-most in heavyweight history behind those of only Joe Louis (25) and Larry Holmes (20), and his eight-year-plus reign is second all time to Louis’ record 11 years, 8 months, 8 days.
Klitschko, a 1996 Olympic gold medalist, moved to 23-2 overall in world title fights with a one-sided, fifth-round knockout of Australia’s Alex Leapai, a mandatory challenger, on April 26 in Oberhausen, Germany.
Pulev (20-0, 11 KOs), 33, of Bulgaria, a former European champion, earned his mandatory challenger status in August 2013 with a unanimous decision against American Tony Thompson.