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Boxing | International

Wladimir Klitschko © Gallo Images

Wladimir to fight cancer survivor

Wladimir Klitschko will defend his four heavyweight titles against Francesco Pianeta on May 4.

The Ukrainian will meet a former sparring partner, a German-Italian, in Mannheim, Germany.

Klitschko, who holds the IBF, IBO, WBO and WBA titles, used the 28-year-old Pianeta as a sparring partner last year.

The 36-year-old champion’s record stands at 59 wins and three defeats after his three successful title defences last year, including a victory over Poland's Mariusz Wach in November.

Pianeta, who is 1.93 metres tall, is 5 cm shorter than Klitschko. He is undefeated after 29 fights, including one draw.

"I have a lot of respect for Pianeta because he is young and has a big fighting spirit," the 36-year-old Klitschko said in a statement on Tuesday.

"I was briefly his sparring partner last year and I noted where his weaknesses are and how best to exploit them," said Pianeta.

"I understand many see me as an outsider and that is fine but I will knock Klitschko out and turn the world of boxing on its head.

Klitschko's older brother, Vitali, is the WBC champion.


Sapa-AFP reports that Italian-born Pianeta, who grew up in Gelsenkirchen in northwest Germany, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in late 2009.

He underwent surgery in early 2010 and returned to the ring that December, knocking out American Mike Middleton in the first round. The bout against Klitschko will be his eighth since his return.

Last year Pianeta beat former WBC champion Oliver McCall, 47, of the United States, and South African Francois Botha, 44, both on points.

Sapa-AP reports that a British boxer, John Donnelly, has been suspended for two years after a positive drug test.

The UK anti-doping agency says Donnelly tested positive for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, on November 9 last year. His ban will run until November 26 2014.

The 28-year-old professional failed an in-competition test for the substance, a violation that carries a two-year sanction.


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