Wladimir Klitschko vs. Ross Puritty

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1998-12-05 : Wladimir Klitschko 224¾ lbs lost to Ross Puritty 249¾ lbs by TKO at 0:18 in round 11 of 12

  • Weights: Klitschko 102.6 kg / Ross Puritty 112.94 kg
  • WBC International Heavyweight Title (3rd defense by Klitschko)

Fighting for the first time as a professional in his home country of Ukraine, Klitschko, with a record of 24-0 (21 KOs), was a heavy betting favorite against Puritty, who was 24-13-1 (22 KOs) and had lost three of his previous four fights.

Klitschko was the much busier fighter. He boxed, jabbed, and threw combinations to the body and head while Puritty covered up and stalked.

Klitschko was winning round after round, but he didn't pace himself and was exhausted by round ten. He went down with 30 seconds left in the tenth round, but the referee ruled it to be a slip. In the final seconds of the round, he went down again as he backed away from the onrushing Puritty. The referee ruled it a knockdown and gave Klischko a mandatory eight-count.

After taking several hard shots at the beginning of the eleventh round, Klischko's trainer, Fritz Sdunek, entered the ring and stopped the fight.

"I was unable to control my emotions in front of my countrymen in Kiew," Klitschko later explained. "Usually, I am able to stay cool inside the ring. In that night, I wasn't. I didn't stick to my game. I wasted my energy and I wasted my punches. The loss hurt me like a deep scar. But I also gained a lot of experience. I feel matured by 10 years."

“I just let him punch himself out. I’m sure he would’ve knocked out a lot of guys before that. I just happened to take a good punch,” Puritty said years later. "I feel to this day that had he been more patient and boxed, he would’ve won."

After winning his next seven fights, Klitschko hoped to have a rematch with Puritty in Hamburg, Germany on March 18, 2000, but Puritty rejected the offer made by Universum Box-Promotion, Klitschko's management. Puritty lost to Vitali Klitschko, Wladimir's older brother, by an eleventh-round TKO on December 8, 2001.

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