Boxing: Klitschko has to go the full 12 rounds but win never in doubt

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The Independent Online

Vitali Klitschko successfully defended his WBC heavyweight title on Saturday night with a comprehensive points victory over Shannon Briggs in Hamburg.

The underdog showed superb resilience to last 12 rounds in the face of a thunderous barrage on, but Klitschko was inevitably awarded the fight 120-105 by all three judges.

"I am very surprised by how much he took," Klitschko said. "He's got a huge heart." Briggs said: "I've fought George Foreman, I've fought Lennox Lewis and Vitali's the best. He hits harder than Foreman, he's got incredibly fast hands. This was my best fight." It was only the fifth time Klitschko had failed to knock out an opponent – he has now won 41 of 43 fights in his career, 38 of them by knockout.

Briggs landed a couple of purposeful straight rights in the early going but the American struggled to contain Klitschko's power and he was wobbled by a fearsome right in the first round which set the tone. Klitschko (left) replicated the blow in round two and caught his opponent off balance after jabbing his way through much of the third.

The champion dominated the fifth round, staggering Briggs with another big straight right and following up with a powerful combination. The following round was even more brutal, the Ukrainian's left hook working well in combination with the right hand on three separate occasions.

Briggs soon developed a cut and swelling under his left eye. He made it the full distance but was never going to be in the frame on points.