Klitschko checkmates Byrd to win IBF title

4/24/2006 – Vladimir Klitschko, the younger of the world champion heavyweight boxing brothers, took the new International Boxing Federation title on Friday night, defeating Chris Byrd of the US by technical knockout in the seventh round. The Klitschkos are great chess fans and promised their friend Vladimir Kramnik, who was present at the fight, to attend his matches.

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Vladimir, the younger brother of former WBC champion Vitali Klitschko, dominated the fight, which took place in Mannheim, Germany, from round one. In round three Byrd dropped his hands for a moment and took a pair of hard left-right combinations the bigger and stronger man (6 foot 6 or 2.0 metres, 110 kg). Byrd was knocked down in round five, but survived the barrage of shots that followed. After pounding him for more than a minute Klitschko backed away, but Byrd waved his gloves at him, indicating his opponent should continue coming at him.


Vladimir Klitschko in the fight against Chris Byrd (Photo Reuters/Klitschko)

In the seventh round, finally, Klitschko finished the bout with a flurry of punches that sent Byrd down for the second time. The fight was terminated as a TKO. Byrd was the longest-reigning heavyweight champion, having held the title since 2001.


Two Vlads, two champions: IBF world champion Vladimir Klitschko and classical chess world champion Vladimir Kramnik immediately after the fight


Chatting backstage with brother Vitaly: Kramnik, Vitaly Klitschko,
Carsten Hensel, Kramnik's manager

The Klitschko brothers are great chess fans and will try to attend the world championship match Kramnik vs Topalov in Elista, Kalmykia, if their schedule permits. Since they live in Germany a visit to the Man vs Machine duel Kramnik vs Deep Fritz in Bonn this November is virtually certain.


Chess and boxing professionals play a game of tandem chess


Vitali Klitschko, Vladimir Kramnik, Peter Leko and Wladimir Klitschko before the Dannemann World Championship match in Brisago, 2004


The Klitschko brother in the ChessBase office


Vladimir Klitschko plays a friendly game on Playchess.com against fellow Ukrainian Sergey Karjakin

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