By Jake Donovan
Wladimir Klitschko and Mariusz Wach are both fit and ready for Saturday night's heavyweight championship battle at the O2 Arena in Hamburg, Germany.
Klitschko (58-3, 50KO) weighed in at 246.9 lb (112 kg), notably lighter than the career-heavy 249 lb he posted for his 6th round stoppage win over Tony Thompson in his most recent appearance in July.
Wach (27-0, 15KO) came in at 249.1 lb (113 kg) for his first-ever crack at a world title. The 6′ 7½″ challenger is the first opponent to have a height advantage over the 6'6" Klitschko, as well as boasting a slightly longer reach.
The heavyweight championship marks sixth defense of the lineal crown for Klitschko. On the alphabet side, it's the 12th defense of the belt he acquired in his April '06 rematch with Chris Byrd to start his second title reign.
A notable absence from his corner will be the late Emanuel Steward, who passed away last month at age 68. Klitschko enters the ring without the services of Steward for the first time in nearly nine years. Taking the Hall of Fame trainer's physical place in the corner will be Johnathon Banks, an aspiring heavyweight contender who is also Klitschko's chief sparring partner and a longtime Steward protégé.
All four officials are from North America, where Wach is based. The unbeaten contender was born in Poland but now fights out of northern New Jersey, which is still feeling the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy as well as this week's snowstorm.
The geography of the judges creates a sort of balance for the visiting challenger en route to Hamburg, which is the home base of Klitschko's K2 Promotions. The referee is Eddie Cotton from the United States, while the three ringside judges are Adalaide Byrd (U.S.), Michael Ancona (U.S.) and Pasquale Procopio (Canada).
Saturday's contest airs live in Germany on RTL, which recently extended a unique five-fight deal with the Klitschko brothers - meaning any combination of Wladimir and Vitali can enter the ring as part of the terms. The United States will also have access to the telecast, airing live on EPIX (4:30PM ET/1:30PM PT) and online at EpixHD.com, as well as the Times Square jumbotron in New York City.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox