Boxer Wladimir Klitschko Wants to Learn MMA

January 15, 2012
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In the eternal debate of MMA versus boxing, count heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko as a fan of mixed martial arts.

While some boxing traditionalists have shunned MMA as the wicked stepchild of combat sports, there are more and more pugilists coming out in support of it.

Current WBA, IBF, WBO, IBO and Ring Magazine heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko was resistant to MMA when he first watched, but as time passed he couldn’t help but become a fan of the athleticism and skill involved.

“I wasn’t such in Russia when I watched it live the first time, and to be honest I didn’t really like it before. But when I was watching it, I got into the style of MMA and I think I have a lot of respect for MMA fighters. It’s a very tough sport. I don’t think I’m ready to practice it and fight in the cage, I think I’m too old for it, but I have a lot of respect,” Klitschko told the Jim Rome Show recently.

MMA incorporates a lot of different art forms into one sport, and that’s what Klitschko learned to appreciate about it. He knows it’s not easy to pick up one technique, much less the dozens that MMA fighters routinely learn and eventually master.

“Because you have to have a lot of abilities. You have to be so multi-functional, you have to be a wrestler, you have to be a good kickboxer, you have to be a good boxer, you have to be with good condition. We can go forever what they have to be to keep winning for a long time and be a champion, consistent champions, it’s very difficult,” Klitschko stated.

While there have been a few crossovers between MMA and boxing through the years, don’t expect Klitschko to become one of them. He’s firmly cemented in the boxing world as a multi-time champion taking home multi-million dollar paydays, so he’s not going anywhere.

What Klitschko might do, however, is learn to incorporate MMA into his workout routine, and maybe pick up a few new techniques along the way.

“I don’t want to fight, but I want to try,” Klitschko said. “I want to try the fitness. Just get in an MMA gym and just practice certain things. I used to wrestle, and I did judo when I was younger. As training, as fitness, perfect. Fighting, no.”

Klitschko next competes on March 3 in Germany against Jean-Marc Mormeck.

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  • With 6 months of sprawl training…

  • I dont think he would do well. He has more of a wear-you-down-with-strikes style. It works for a fighter like Dominick Cruz, but in the heavyweight division where so many guys have one-punch KO power, I dont think its a good idea.

    • Cptmats

      UFC heavey weights wouldn’t have so much power if they wore glove the size of Klitchkos’s.
      Kind of a dumb comment !
      A heavy weight boxing champ that should be afraid to stand with a MMA fighter ?
      He could stand with any mma HW, Stand up wouldn’t be the prob.

  • maddawgmar

    Well, I agree with Klitschko, learn MMA for the additional fitness. But there is no reason to compete. He is making bread in boxing and MMA money is toilet paper to him. He is the best boxer in the world in his weight class. No MMA fighter would be able to stand with him, but he would need a couple years of wrestling and BJJ training to be able to survive. He is a little too old to transition. If I were a boxer I wouldn’t transition, because I would be losing money.

    • Well it depends on why he fights. He has openly complained about a lack of talent to face him, so if he fights for the desire to test himself then the transition would make sense. If he fights just because he loves money it wouldnt. He arguably has made enough already that he never needs to fight again.

      Although its a moot point as he pointed out he is too old to do it.

      And you say no one in MMA could stand with him. I wouldn’t automatically assume that. He doesn’t have giant sock-em bopper gloves to protect himself with. How well can he adapt to relying on only his own hands and his elusiveness to defend with? Plus you throw in the fact that he doesnt know anything about kicks, doesnt know anything about knees and elbows in the clinch, and that he would be afraid of being taken down and thus open to feints. Striking in mixed martial arts is more difficult than traditional boxing.

      • MikeMc1983

        you have to be a little careful with that. Adding in more things doesn’t always make it “more complicated.”
        On initial thought it seems like the more weapons, the more complicated, but it doesn’t neccisaryly hold true. Bigger gloves can be considered a henderance, therefor it can be something complicated to work around.
        I believe what the other guy said was true. No one would WANT to stand with him.
        He’s not a huge ko guy, but that’s obviously in another venue.
        There’s probably kick boxers he’d have a problem standing with, just as there are kick boxers that have obvious problems in mma. But the best mma guys really would only hang with a top boxer, or kick boxer, because of the ability to take the fights elsewhere.
        The clinching is different as well. Even though guys are “standing up,” it’s not what I think most people mean when they say a guy doesn’t want to stand/strike with someone.

      • fsunoles09

        arguably bro paydays him and the mayweathers and pacmans of the world make they wouldnt have to fight again off 1 payday and still live way more comfortable then everybody else.

    • Cptmats

      Not everyone fights for the money !

  • maddawgmar

    It’s true he isn’t a big KO puncher, in boxing. But take off the twelve ounce gloves and put on MMA gloves then he has KO power. Maybe not one punch but look a Nick Diaz. Accumulative strikes are jus as devastating as one punch. Plus no one in the division has his height and reach save Stefan Struve. With his head movement and reach alone he would rarely get hit. Your right there are other aspects of the game, kicks, shots grappling jiu jitzu etc. But clinch, boxers fight in the clinch all the time. Hence “Dirty Boxing”, it woulnt be hard transition for him with elbows and knees in the clinch. That is why I mentioned he needs a year or two of straight MMA training. But we are debating something that will never happen. Now Vitali maybe. He is more competitive, and would be more likely to transition.