Boxing: Klitschko takes evasive road to survive knockdowns

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The Independent Online

Peter, 25, lost for the first time in 25 fights and he never looked like beating Klitschko in a bout that followed a crude and predictable pattern throughout the 12 rounds.

It is possible that Peter connected with fewer than 10 clean punches, but he still connected three times to send the towering Klitschko tumbling to the canvas twice in round five and once in round 10.

Klitschko held and ran throughout the 36 minutes of boxing and never looked confident or relaxed until the last 60 seconds when he caught and hurt Peter for the first time. The repetitive truth of the encounter was that Klitschko arrived in the ring knowing that if Peter caught him it would be over, and that meant he adopted survival tactics from the opening bell.

Peter simply ran out of alternative strategies after a couple of minutes of the opening round. He just kept moving forward with his hands held high and swinging wildly at his opponent, who was six inches taller and enjoyed a reach advantage of about the same distance. However, the strange affair remained exciting because there was always the prospect that Peter would get just a bit closer before throwing his punches and that would leave Klitschko exposed.

It happened twice in round five and just the once in round 10, but those were the only rounds that anybody could score in Peter's favour. When it was finally over all three judges at ringside scored in favour of Klitschko. In many ways, however, it was a hollow victory because of the evasive tactics that he had used to nullify the far more dangerous work of his limited opponent.

Now that Peter has lost for the first time, and in many ways been exposed by Klitschko's basic skills, it will be interesting to watch how the Nigerian, who is based in Las Vegas, develops. For Klitschko, who is the younger of the two fighting Ukrainian brothers, there will be yet another world title fight in the not-too-distant future.

Klitschko first held a version of the world heavyweight championship back in 2000, but his suspect heart and chin let him down twice, and in many ways the win over Peter has done nothing to lift the suspicions hovering over both of his questionable weaknesses.