Mannheim

Heavyweight champion Klitschko calls rival Pianeta combative

Italian-German rival 'beat biggest opponent - cancer'

Heavyweight champion Klitschko calls rival Pianeta combative

Mannheim, May 3 - Ukraininan heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, scheduled to fight Francesco Pianeta over his WBA and IBF heavyweight belts on Saturday, on Friday said his Italian rival was a combative man that had managed to overcome the biggest opponent, cancer, adding the match was not going to be an easy one. "I have great respect for a man that defeated cancer. Cancer is a bigger opponent than any champion in the world," Klitschko said. "Pianeta is tall, big, left-handed and has an immensely combative spirit. I don't think it is going to be an easy match for me". Pianeta is a native of the Southern Italian region of Calabria, originally from the town of Corigliano Calabro. He emigrated to Germany at the age of six to follow his father, a butcher. In 2010 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, a disease he managed to recover from. He is now back in the ring, attempting to become the third Italian to become world heavyweight champion after Primo Carnera and Francesco Damiani (WBO heavybelt champion from May 1989 to January 1991).

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