WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko and his mandatory challenger Juan Carlos Gomez met at Hamburg airport yesterday for the first time before stepping into the ring on March 21st in Stuttgart, Germany. Klitschko’s ‘warm reception’: “Juan, my friend, I am sorry that I have to beat you up!” The “Black Panther” answered: “I’m so fast, you won’t even hit me – I will beat you up!”
At the official press conference at the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle in Stuttgart two hours later the champion and his challenger continued throwing verbal jabs at each other. Vitali told the public that he doesn’t like “fighting friends” and also mentioned the personal relationships between his trainer Fritz Sdunek and Gomez and his promoter Ahmet Öner (who is married to Sdunek’s daughter Kati). “Who are you – Dr. Ironfist or Dr. Psychologist?” asked Gomez. “We’re here to fight and not to talk about family and friendship. And how dare you calling me a friend? Just because we used to train in the same gym I am not your friend, Vitali. We haven’t talked in eight years.”
Klitschko agreed that “family is family, business is business and boxing is boxing” while Gomez added: “Many people didn’t believe in me and didn’t think that I could come back to fight for the heavyweight championship of the world. I thank my promoter Ahmet Öner who brought me here and made this happen. Now I am ready to show everybody that the “Black Panther” is back! I’m ready to go! It’s showtime!”
RTL will broadcast the fight on March 21st live in Germany. Also Klitschko spokesman Bernd Bönte revealed that ESPN will be the US TV partner for the world heavyweight championship. Tickets are on sale in a range from 50,- to 600,- Euros.