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Klitschko to defend heavyweight title against Pianeta

Ukrainian WBO, IBO, IBF and WBA heavyweight boxing world champion Vladimir Klitschko gestures as he celebrates his victory over Polish chall
Ukrainian WBO, IBO, IBF and WBA heavyweight boxing world champion Vladimir Klitschko gestures as he celebrates his victory over Polish chall

BERLIN (Reuters) - Ukraine's Vladimir Klitschko will defend his four world heavyweight title belts against former sparring partner German-Italian challenger Francesco Pianeta in Mannheim on May 4, his management said on Tuesday.

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

The 36-year-old Ukrainian's record stands as 59 wins and three defeats after his three successful title defenses in 2012, including a November victory over Poland's Mariusz Wach.

Pianeta, who at 1.93 meters is five centimeters shorter than his opponent, is still undefeated with 28 wins and 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.

Klitschko's older brother, Vitali, holds the WBC crown.

"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."

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Justin Palmer)

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