Fighting for the first time in seven years in the United States, Wladimir Klitschko successfully defended his IBF, WBA, WBO, IBO, and RING titles on Saturday by outpointing Bryant Jennings at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Klitschko put in a somewhat lackluster performance, jabbing and clinching his way to a unanimous decision with final scores reading 118-109, 116-111, 116-111.
The challenger, Bryant Jennings showed extraordinary resilience, walking through several square shots from the mighty Klitschko; and disrupted and frustrated the champ with bull-rushes and charges that often ended up in clinches and bogged down the fight. But despite closely scored rounds, the game Philadelphian couldn’t overcome Klitschko’s telephone pole jab and timing, and walked away with his first career-loss.
Watch Jennings take a huge right from the champ:
Klitschko stalked Jennings effectively throughout the fight– cutting off the ring, maneuvering Jennings into the ropes and corners, and landing just enough to win the on cards.
“[Jennings was one of the most] competitive opponents that I’ve faced in the recent years,absolutely,” Klitschko told HBO’s Max Kellerman after the fight. “Great handspeed, great footwork, very athletic, great desire to win the fight and be champion.”
Wlad lands a nice right, and stalks the challenger:
Asked if his reliance on the jab was due to an injury to his right hand, Klitshcko told Kellerman: “My right hand is ok. Bryant didn’t give me a chance to throw my right hand as much as I wanted to.”
Final CompuBox numbers had Klitschko landing 144 punches out of 545, and Jennings landing 110 of 376.
“Did he hurt me?,” Jennings said. “Maybe. But I went in there and did what I was supposed to do, and I think that scorecards were way off. I think maybe it was a bit closer, the fight. Probably could’ve gone either way. I felt I didn’t hurt, I was throwing punches as well. I thought it should’ve been a little closer.”
With the win, Wladimir Klitschko (64-3, 53 KOs) extends his unbeaten streak to 22 fights since his last defeat, at the hands of Lamon Brewster in 2004, and Klitschko’s eight-year reign as a titleholder is second only to Joe Louis’s record of 11 years. 39-years-old Klitschko entered Saturday’s fight having flattened an undefeated Kubrat Pulev with a fifth-round knockout in November 2014.
Despite suffering his first professional defeat, Bryant “By-By” Jennings (19-1,10 KOs), regardless of lack of experience, showed that he can hang with the elite and will be looking to continue to land high-profile bouts. Jennings had been last in action in July 2014, outpointing rugged Cuban Mike Perez. Going into the Perez fight, Jennings, 30 years old, had stopped Artur Szpilka in January of 2014 at Madison Square Gardens.
And so, the mighty Wladimir Klitschko remains unchallenged and the most dominant champion the heavyweight division has seen in recent history. Having made his 18th consecutive world title defence, the Ukrainian giant has got to have his eye on the WBC World heavyweight title, recently acquired by Tuscaloosa native Deontay Wilder. But until Wilder agrees to face Dr. Steelhammer, fans should expect to see Klitschko facing off against 7-foot Brit Tyson Fury— possibly September, in the UK.
On the co-feature event: Brooklyn’s own Sadam Ali remains unbeaten by out-boxing and out-pointing a game Francisco Santana in an entertaining 10-rounder.
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Bryant Jennings (scores are unofficial)
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Round 1: Ok! It’s the big boys! Jennings wears black, Klitschko in red trunks. They meet in the center of the ring, Jennings charging. Both measuring. Jennings showing goo upper body movement, misses with over the head right hand. Klitschko observing. Jennings in the perimeter. They clinch one minute in. Klitschko pressuring, throws a right. Jennings moving, Klitschko stalking. Klitschko pawing, looking. Jennings keeps his distance. Jennings hits Klitschko’s shoulder with right. Klitschko stalking. Klitschko pumping the jab. Klitschko with combination. 10-9 Klitschko
Round 2: Klitschko working the jab, Jennings pushing forward. Klitschko measuring with the jab, Jennings charges. The paw at each other, and clinch. Minute into the round, Klitschko has Jennings on the ropes, pawing with jab. Klitschko misses with right, and they clinch. Klitschko stuffing his jab into Jennings guard. Jennings moving, keeping his distance. Klitschko hunts with the jab. Minute left in the round, the clinch and break. Combination from Klitschko. Klitschko back to the jab. Jennings can’t close distance. Jennings charges, but misses. They clinch. 20-18 Klitschko
Round 3: Back to the center. Klitschko dodges a charging Jennings. They clinch. Into the corner, clinch, and break. Klitschko pressuring Jennings with jab, Jennings moving around perimeter, avoiding the Ukrainian giant. They clinch and Klitschko pushes Jennings across the ring. Klitschko with a right hand. Klitschko’s jab picking up power. Jennings charges and gets a piece of Klitschko with his right. Klitschko stalks. They clinch with 30 seconds left. Klitschko misses with hook. 30-27 Klitschko
Round 4: Jennings comes out punching with right, they clinch. Jennings misses with bug over the top right hand. They clinch. Jennings, to the body. Another Jennings left to the body. Jennings charges, and they clinch. Klitschko left hook lands. Jennings lands right in a clinch. Klitschko misses with right, they clinch. Klitschko jabs land, they clinch on the ropes. Jennings charges, gets nothing. Klitschko jabs through the guard, drives Jennings back. And they clinch. Klitschko jabs more. Wlad jab keeps piercing the guard. Left from Klitschko, followed by right by Jennings. 40-36 Klitschko
Round 5: They clinch immediately. Klitschko stalking. Jennings not moving as much now. Relying on rushing Klitschko. Left from Jennings to the body. They clinch. Right from Jennings in the clinch. More clinching after missed rushes from Jennings. Jennings winged by Klitschko right. Half way through the round. 1-2 from Klitschko. Clinch. Klitschko jabbing. Upper cut from Klitschko. Jennings keeping away. Klitschko right. Jennings lands three short shots to the body. 50-45 Klitschko
Round 6: Klitschko comes out jabbing, Jennings pressuring. Jennings rushes. They clinch. Jennings now working from the center of the ring with Klitschko in the perimeter. Klitschko lands good jab. Jennings rushes. They clinch. Jennings pushes against the ropes and lands to the body. Jennings misses with right. But lands with left hook. They tie up. Jennings lands a left as Klitschko backs away. Right from Klitschko lands. Klitschko right to the back of the head. Jennings rushes and lands a right. They clinch. 60-54 Klitschko
Round 7: Middle of the ring, and Klitschko lands left and they clinch. Klitschko stalks Jennings into the corner. Now the other corner, jabs to the body, then the head. Right from Jennings lands. Klitschko looking, they clinch and Jennings lands to the body. Right Klitschko. Klitschko trying to the land a big right. Klitschko jabs, looks. Jennings moving around the ring. In the corner, Jennings rushes out. Klitschko right wings Jennings. Klitschko stalking. Close round, but 70-63 Klitschko
Round 8: Klitschko stalks with the jab. Jennings with a left hook. 1-2 from Klitschko. Right hand from Jennings. Big left from Jennings lands. They clinch. Two Klitschko rights. 1-2-3 from Klitschko lands well. And a right from Klitschko. Center of the ring. Klitschko jabs, hooks. They clinch. 1-2 from Klitschko lands. The clinch and break. Klitschko tries to clinch, Jennings doesn’t accept and unloads on the body. 1-2 Klitschko lands, partially blocked. Jennings charges and lands to the body. 80-72 Klitschko
Round 9: Right from Jennings and pushes Klitschko back. Klitschko Stalking on the ropes with the jab. More jabbing, Klitschko. More rushing, Jennings. Klitschko pawing with left, keeping Jennings back. They clinch and Jennings goes to the body. Klitschko warned sternly by the ref about holding. Klitschko jabs, Jennings clinches. Klitschko with a short left hook. Right hand from Klitschko lands well. Right hand from Jennings wings Wlad. 1-2 from Klitschko hurts Jennings. Jennings has a good chin. He lunges at Wlad and misses. Klitschko with right, they clinch. Left hook Jennings to the body. 90-81 Klitschko
Round 10: Jennings charging. Klitschko pawing with the jab, Jennings charges. They clinch, Klitschko pushes across the ring. Klitschko jabs, Jennings disrupts his rhythm with the charge. Klitschko is being deducted a point for holding. Klitschko jabs, Jennings spins around. Left from Jennings to the body. Jennings to the perimeter, Klitschko follows, unloads on Jennings against the ropes with a combination. Jennings keeps at it. They clinch and break. 1-2-1 from Klitschko. He misses a left, but grabs a left hook. Jennings landing to the body. Jab from Jennings. Two fast hooks from Klitschko. Two-point round for Jennings. 98-91 Klitschko
Round 11: They clinch right off. Jennings jabs to the body. Klitschko pumps his jab. More Klitschko jabs. Jennings rushes and gets nothing. Jennings lands to the body in a clinch. Klitschko jabs. Jennings jab to the body. Klitschko jabs, Jennings answers with two right hands. Right from Klitschko. Minute left in the round, Klitschko jabs into the guard. 1-1-2 from Klitschko. Two Wlad rights land. Right from Klitschko with Jennings on the round. They clinch to finish the round. 108-100.
Round 12: Last round! Center of the ring. Klitschko looking. Jennings charges and lands. Klitschko working the jab, but Jennings on the move. Jennings lands w right. Jennings jabs to the body. Klitschko with a combo. Jennings works the body in the clinch. Big right from Klitschko lands square. Minute left in the round. Jennings moving, not letting Klitschko catches him. Big right from Klitschko. 10 secs left. 118-109 Klitschko