V. Klitschko scores points decision over Johnson

BY foxsports • December 15, 2009

Vitali Klitschko retained his WBC heavyweight title with a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Kevin Johnson of the United States on Saturday.

The 38-year-old Klitschko kept Johnson against the ropes for much of the fight but landed few heavy shots to hurt the 30-year-old challenger.
"I would have preferred a knockout but I'm happy because I won all 12 rounds," Klitschko told 17,000 fans ringside at PostFinance Arena. "He's not easy to hit."

Johnson proved a durable opponent and did his best work with counterattacking straight left jabs, though without managing to rock Klitschko who has never taken a standing count in his career.

"When I first met Vitali I told him, 'You won't knock me out.' It wasn't a hard fight," Johnson said. "There are things we need to work on and we're going to go home to the gym and polish them up."

Klitschko (39-2, 37 KOs) was making a third successful defense of the belt he reclaimed in October last year after a four-year break to recover from injuries.

He opted to take the fight just 11 weeks after beating Cris Arreola, another unbeaten American who did not come out for the 11th round of their bout in Los Angeles.

Johnson, the WBC's sixth-ranked contender, experienced his first professional defeat in his 24th fight.

At 6-foot7 and 247 pounds, Klitschko took a size advantage of 3 1/2 inches and 4 pounds into the ring.

Johnson opted for defensive tactics, inviting the champion from Ukraine in the second round to come at him.

Klitschko aimed mostly head shots but a succession of overhand rights found Johnson turning away in defense.

The champion's right cheek was marked in the fourth round, and Johnson connected with a left hook in the sixth.

But Johnson failed to mount many combinations and Klitschko kept winning rounds with steady jabs, more big rights and an occasional straight left.

The fight heated up in the 11th when Klitschko responded to Johnson's taunting hands-spread gesture with a flurry of blows.

In the final round, Johnson pointed at his chin to goad Klitschko into another attack, and the bout ended with the American finally trading punches in the center of the ring.

The two squared up after the bell and Johnson was ushered back to his corner by Klitschko's young brother Wladimir, the IBF and WBO champion who works in Vitali's corner.

Klitschko said the brothers, who will never fight each other, wanted to own all four major titles in 2010 by taking the WBA belt held by Britain's David Haye.

"We have a dream and we will do our best to make our dream come true," Klitschko said. "It will be very interesting in the next year."

Haye next has a mandatory defense against John Ruiz, likely to be in London in the spring.

"I wish him good luck," Klitschko said. "If David Haye will be ready to fight any time, I will be here."

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