New York — Former champion Hasim "The Rock" Rahman is the new opponent for IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko on December, 13, 2008 in the SAP Arena in Mannheim, Germany.
The 35-year-old Rahman, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, has already had 15 title fights in his career, including 7 World Championship bouts.
In 2001, Rahman became WBC champion for the first time when he knocked out reigning champion Lennox Lewis. From 2005 to 2006 he held the WBC belt. His impressive record is 45 wins, 36 KOs, 6 losses and 2 draws. Currently he is ranked no. 5 by the IBF.
"The fight is a great chance for me," said Rahman. "Klitschko will regret he chose me to replace Povetkin. Like Lennox Lewis, I will knock him out and take those belts. And then, I am going to beat his brother Vitali, too."
The 32-year-old Wladimir Klitschko is in his 15th world championship fight when he steps into the ring in Mannheim. The 1996 Olympic gold medalist, Klitschko was WBO champion from 2000 to 2003, and won the IBF and IBO belts in Mannheim in April 2006. In February 2008, he regained the WBO title at Madison Square Garden. His record is 51 wins, with 45 victories coming by KO, and only 3 losses.
"Hasim Rahman is a tough and experienced fighter," says Klitschko. "I will definitely not underestimate him. He is always talking big – I know that back from a fight when he was supposed to meet my brother Vitali. But that does not impress me. I am really looking forward to returning to the SAP Arena. There, I became world champion for the second time. The fans in the Mannheim region are just great and I am sure the atmosphere in the arena will be terrific."
Said Bernd Bönte, Managing Director of Klitschko Management: "With the engagement of Hasim Rahman we have found a top-class fighter. This fight is of much more interest worldwide and the marketing for it is much easier, too, than it would have been with Povetkin."
In Germany, the fight will be shown live and exclusively on RTL.
Tickets can be purchased via the ticket hotline +49-621-18190333 and on the SAP ARENA's webpage at www.saparena.de .