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Wladimir Klitschko on having a baby and fighting: ‘As a father you punch harder’

Current WBA, IBF, and WBO Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko joined the Jim Rome Show to discuss his upcoming fight against Bryant “By-By” Jennings, his return to Madison Square Garden, comparisons to other boxing greats, and the arrival of his baby daughter.

“It mean a lot,” Klitschko told the show about fighting again in Madison Square Garden. “There’s a lot of emotions mixed into it, but as you know, champion of the world needs to fight all over the place, everywhere around the world. So, I’m glad to be back at the Garden.”

Klitschko believes Madison Square Garden means more than any other arena, representing an individual’s success by simply being able to fight, play, or perform there.

“Many events were there and, as a performer, if you make it that far to have a main event at Madison Square Garden – it doesn’t matter whether you play music or basketball, hockey or boxing – that means you are at the peak of your game.”

While preparing for his upcoming bout, Wladimir has noticed similarities between opponent Bryant “By-By” Jennings and fictional boxer, Rocky Balboa.

“Well, it’s their parallels, absolutely,” Klitschko said of the Jennings-Balboa comparison. “Jennings is from Philadelphia – Rocky Balboa, the character, was from Philadelphia. Jennings started his boxing career really late and I think he’s like 6 years now as a professional boxer. He quit his job…now, he’s completely 100% focused on the sport and that’s exactly, similar way with Rocky Balboa. I think Jennings is totally following the footsteps of the story of ‘Rocky’.”

When asked what it is like to knockout an opponent, Wladimir gave a chilling answer that “By-By” Jennings hopes he doesn’t experience.

“It feels like I’m king of the hill,” Klitschko said. “When you knock the person out and you conquer the will of the person, you just, it gives you great satisfaction that you’re on the right way – it’s not a coincidence that I’m champion for such a long time.”

Wladimir expanded his answer to include how he’s managed to sustain his career success.

“It’s a system that I have created and, of course, you have to have a strong character and a strong body to go through all those preparations and eventually fight in the ring, and conquer your opponent in a fantastic way like a knockout.”

Though proud of his accomplishments, Klitschko is quick to stop any comparisons between him and other great boxers, insisting he is his own legend.

“Oh, I hear it all the time and I didn’t want to pay any attention to it. I’m not Joe Louis, I’m not Muhammad Ali, or Larry Holmes. I’m Klitschko, and I’m going my way and I never was comparing myself to those legends and icons.”

Before the interview concluded, Wladimir shared the emotions of welcoming his first child, daughter Kaya, in December and the change he has undergone since becoming a father.

“That’s the most amazing feeling. I’m 38, and Hayden and I really wanted for the past years to have a baby. Eventually, we made it and it’s definitely a gift to have a healthy baby. We’re enjoying it, we’re enjoying the partnership and it’s definitely changed my life for good since we became parents…My brother, Vitali, told me, he said, ‘Bro, as a father you punch harder.’ So, I cannot wait to get in the ring on April 25th against Bryant Jennings at Madison Square Garden in New York and, just to show the world that actually, ‘father can punch harder.’”

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