- Wladimir Klitschko v Mariusz Wach, heavyweight
Dominant Klitschko mauls brave Wach
Wladimir Klitschko produced a supreme tribute to his former trainer Emanuel Steward to beat Mariusz Wach on points and defend his WBA, IBF, WBO & Ring Magazine titles.
Klitschko entered the ring for the first time since the death of legendary trainer Steward and he secured the 59th win of his career on points, but there was a brief threat of a shock as he was rocked by a big punch by Wach in the fifth.
But either side of those brief seconds in the fifth, Klitschko was his dominant best, breaking Wach down with his jab and slipping his opponent with his expert footwork - attributes drilled into him by Steward. Wach was simply broken down by a superior fighter and it was only his heart that got him through to the final bell.
For the first time in his career, Klitschko stepped into the ring to face a rival taller than him. It mattered little as his superb footwork and powerful right hand proved too classy for Wach.
There was razzmatazz and a Hollywood feel in Hamburg, as Sylvester Stallone gave a speech in the ring prior to the action getting underway.
When the action did start, it was Klitschko who got through with a snapping right inside 30 seconds and it handed him the confidence to walk forward against his bigger opponent. On at least four occasions in the first round Klitschko caught the challenger with crisp rights - which saw Wach's nose redden.
Wach made a play at the start of the second, as the pair exchanged shots and Klitschko was briefly off balance. But he quickly regained his composure to take the second round.
Klitschko, who came in with 58 wins from his 61 fights, last tasted defeat to Lamont Brewster in 2004. Steward transformed Klitschko from an ungainly brawler to a slick operator and those skills were all on show as he gradually broke down his opponent.
Klitschko and his brother Vitali are huge stars in Germany and he was roared on by a capacity crowd in Hamburg.
Despite having a height, weight and reach advantage, Wach seemed reluctant to come forward and engage with Klitschko. But towards the end of the fifth the Pole got through the Klitschko defences.
A big right hand rocked the champion, sending him back onto the ropes and forcing him to hold on for the final few seconds.
Wach did not attempt to follow up in the sixth and Klitschko regained control, unleashing a string of punishing jabs to tire his opponent. Wach proved his durability by taking some serious shots, but Klitschko stepped it up in the seventh and he caught his opponent - threatening a stoppage only for the bell to intervene with his opponent backed up on the ropes.
Wach was a spent force in the eighth round, but to his credit he kept coming. He was proving nothing more than target practice and some serious shots were landed, but the referee allowed the contest to continue.
Klitschko took the foot off the pedal in ninth and 10th but it proved only brief respite for Wach as the punishment started again in the 11th. Wach had nothing left as an attacking force, but he kept Klitschko at bay to take the fight to the judges.
The totting up of the scores was a mere formality, but for the record the judges went in Klitschko's favour 120-107, 120-107, 119-109.