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Wladimir Always Had Faith in Banks' Training Abilities

By Keith Idec

Wladimir Klitschko’s choice to replace the late Emanuel Steward definitely was unconventional.

The dominant heavyweight champion picked an active heavyweight who could thrust himself into championship contention by beating Seth Mitchell on Nov. 17 in Atlantic City. But Klitschko knew the moment he found out Steward was terminally ill earlier this year that Johnathon Banks would be his head trainer if Steward was unable to continue in that role.

“I knew from the beginning that it was going to be Johnathon Banks,” Klitschko said as he promoted his fight Saturday in Hamburg, Germany, against Poland’s Mariusz Wach. “The man has learned a lot from Emanuel Steward. I met them both on the same day over nine years ago. Johnathon has been learning a lot from the Kronk [Gym] spirit.”

“Of course, Johnathon Banks is not Emanuel Steward; he is Johnathon Banks. Everyone has their own way of doing things and I think, considering everything, the camp well went.”

Banks and Klitschko concurred that this wasn’t a typical training camp, largely due to the emotional toll Steward’s death two weeks ago took on both men. The 6-foot-7½, 250-pound Wach (27-0, 15 KOs) is widely viewed as an overmatched optional opponent, though, one who has little business being in the ring with the 6-6, 250-pound Klitschko, despite his unblemished record and size.

Ukraine’s Klitschko (58-3, 50 KOs) has tried to train as though Wach is a legitimate threat in a scheduled 12-round fight that EPIX will televise live at 5 p.m. EST.

“Camp has been going really good,” Banks said. “We had a few setbacks, or maybe disappointment by losing one of the greatest trainers of all time, in my mind, in Emanuel Steward. Outside of that, camp is good. Everyone’s spirits are high and, as always, we look forward to a beautiful fight.”

After the Klitschko-Wach fight, the Detroit-bred Banks (28-1-1, 20 KOs) will leave for Atlantic City, where he’ll meet Mitchell (25-0-1, 19 KOs) in a 10-round heavyweight fight at Boardwalk Hall that’ll be broadcast by HBO.

Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Jack Napier on 11-08-2012

Wlad's really settled into his style over the yrs it shouldn't really matter who trains him at this point all he needed was someone he's comfortable with he knows Banks so it should be a good match for him just…

Comment by -Weltschmerz- on 11-08-2012

Wlad will make a statement on Saturday with a big KO finish.

Comment by eurochamp on 11-08-2012

Wladimir is a gentlemen and a true champion,Good luck Saturday

Comment by jisi on 11-08-2012

Good choice from Wlad.

Comment by Bigdaddy_Vh on 11-08-2012

Id bet if Banks loses next week he will retire and become a trainer full time

Post a Comment/View More User Comments (5)
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