• Heavyweight

Klitschko to return in May

ESPN staff
March 5, 2013
Wladimir Klitschko was too strong for Mariusz Wach last November © PA Photos

Wladimir Klitschko will put his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles on the line against Francesco Pianeta in May.

Klitschko, the brother of WBC title holder Vitali, has not been in action since an underwhelming points win over Mariusz Wach.

He is being hunted by a string of fighters, including Tyson Fury, but he will face a former sparring partner in Pianeta.

"I have a lot of respect for Pianeta because he is young and has a big fighting spirit," Klitschko said.

The 28-year-old Italian is unbeaten in 29 fights, but has few notably wins on his record. The biggest name he has beaten is arguably Oliver McCall, but the American was well past his best when beaten last year.

Pianeta, whose had 10 of his last 11 fights in the Klitschkos' adopted fighting home of Germany, will enter the ring in Mannheim on May 4 in confident mood.

"I was briefly Klitschko's sparring partner last year and I noted where his weaknesses are and how best to exploit them," he said. "I understand many see me as an outsider and that is fine but I will knock Klitschko out and turn the world of boxing on its head."

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