He was the premiere heavyweight and owner of most of the championships from the mid-2000s to the mid-2010s and on a March night a decade ago, Wladimir Klitschko saved his best for the final round. This, as he ended up knocking out his American challenger with only seconds remaining in the fight.
The date was March 20th, 2010. The site was the E Sprit Arena in Dusseldorf, Germany (The Ukranian Klitschko’s adopted home country), and that night he stepped through the ropes against an American contender name, Eddie Chambers.
The former 1996 Super Heavyweight Gold Medalist in the Atlanta Summer Olympics was on his second reign as Heavyweight Champ after having been knocked out by little known South African, Corrie Sanders for the WBO belt seven years earlier (2003).
He had also lost buy knockout to American Lamon Brewster in April of 2004, but after winning the IBF championship against American Chris Byrd in April of 2006, Klitschko went on a run of seven more victories. These included a rematch win over Brewster and a victory of over former heavyweight champ Hasim Rahman, both by knockout.
Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh born Chambers had risen the ranks, as an American contender but that was more of an indication of just how bad heavyweight boxing had become, especially in the United States.
Chambers had tallied a 30 – 0 record with 16 Kos before Russian Olympian Alexander Povetkin decisioned him in January of 2008. Chambers had won five straight fights after the loss in the two years leading up to the Klitschko fight. The most significant of those probably being against Samuel Peter, whom he decisioned in Los Angeles in March of 2009. Still, he was no real threat to beat Klitschko, but more or a “next up” opponent.
As was pointed out on the 10th anniversary by ESPN boxing writer and insider Dan Rafael, Klitschko had an awesome ring walk that night in the Esprit Arena in front of 51,000 of his adoring fans
The fight was an utterly one-sided KO win, but 10 years ago today the great @Klitschko gave us one of the most epic ring walks of all time for his heavyweight title defense vs. Eddie Chambers: https://t.co/dQJX7D5JQU #boxing
— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) March 20, 2020
Once the fight got underway, it was obvious the Klitschko was the much more polished and talented fighter and in addition, he was some 5 inches taller and 35 lb. heavier keeping Chambers at a distance throughout their fight.
Klitschko very nearly dropped Chambers with a wicked right hand in the second round, but even though the American buckled, he hung on and lasted until the Bell. Klitschko was content to use his jab and an occasional combination for much of the fight and Chambers had very little answer.
He did score one good right on Klitschko in the fifth round, but Klitschko followed up with a couple of good rights of his own to finish the round, and then dominated both the 6th and the 7th round with big combinations.
Chambers was clearly behind entering the championship rounds and Chambers appeared to be wearing down. That’s when the fight was delayed for more than 90 seconds, while Chambers’ glove had to be changed out, because it was damaged in the 10th round.
It looked as though this one was going to go the distance, but Klitschko landed a couple of significant punches and continued to stalk Chambers even in the final 30 seconds of the fight. He finally caught Chambers with a big left hook on the jaw and it sent Chambers careening backwards almost out on his feet.
The champion delivered a solid short right, as well as Chambers slammed to the canvas on his left side and on the bottom rope.
Referee Genaro Rodriguez started to count Chambers out, which would not have happened before the final bell. But, Rodriguez could clearly see Chambers unconscious laying face first on the rope and waved the fight off with five seconds remaining giving Klitschko the TKO win.
Relive it through the highlights here:
The win over Chambers continued another series of victories that included Klitschko successfully defending against contenders Mariusz Wach and Povetkin. Both of whom he decisioned.
Klitschko amassed a 64 – 3 record before stepping through the ropes against Tyson Fury in November of 2015 and the “Gypsy King” upset him by 12 round decision to take away his titles. It was the first time Klitschko had lost in 11 years and 23 fights.
Klitschko came out of retirement to fight Britain’s Anthony Joshua a year-and-a-half later in April of 2017 and Joshua stopped him in the 11th round at London’s Wembley Stadium ending Klitschko’s career at 41 years old.
He finished with a 64 – 5 record with over 20 title fight wins and will be a Boxing Hall of Famer someday in the near future.
And, while this fight wasn’t against a huge opponent, it showed his popularity, especially in Europe, as he dominated most heavyweights for a lengthy period of time.