IBF/WBA/WBO/IBO and „The Ring Magazine“ World Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko will defend his titles against Francesco Pianeta at the SAP arena Mannheim, Germany on May 4.
Francesco Pianeta was born in Cosenza (Italy) and moved with his parents to Gelsenkirchen, Germany at the age of 6. He is 28 years old, undefeated and 6´3”. Southpaw Pianeta was WBC Junior World Champion and EBU Champion. In his eight-year-career he beat former WBC Heavyweight Champion Oliver McCall and four-time world title challenger Francois Botha. However, his most difficult fight Pianeta had outside the ring: When cancer was diagnosed in 2009 he was forced to stop his sports. After overcoming the illness he had a tremendous comeback in the ring in 2010. Pianeta is ranked # 9 in the WBO and # 12 in the WBA and IBO. He has a fight record of 28-0 wins with 15 KOs and one draw.
Francesco Pianeta: „As a sparring partner I was in Wladimir’s camp last year. I saw his weaknesses and will use them for me. I know many experts see me as the underdog but I like this role and will shock the boxing world when I knock out Klitschko!“
For 36-year-old Wladimir Klitschko it is his first appearance in the boxing ring in 2013. Last year he defended his titles three times successfully. The professional record of the 1996 Olympic Gold medalist is 59 wins (51 KOs) with only 3 losses. It will be Klitschko’s 23rd World Championship fight.
Wladimir Klitschko: „I have a lot of respect for Francesco Pianeta. He is young, a southpaw and has an immense fighting spirit. He will do anything to reach his goal. I am warned and will prepare myself very intensively. Mannheim is a special place: I started my second career there with my victory against Chris Byrd in 2006. It is my fourth fight in the arena and the atmosphere has always been great.”
Bernd Bönte, Managing Director Klitschko Management Group (KMG): „The SAP arena is one of the nicest arenas in Germany and with MD Daniel Hopp and his entire team we have a very experienced and professional partner on our side with whom we have had several successful co-operations in the last years already.”
In Germany, Klitschko vs. Pianeta will be broadcasted on RTL, EPIX will show the fight in the U.S.