RING/IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko will make his 17th defense against unbeaten Kubrat Pulev on Sept. 6 at the O2 World arena in Hamburg, Germany, Klitschko's promotional company K2 announced on Thursday.
On Tuesday, K2 Promotions out-bid Sauerland Promotions, which handles Pulev (20-0, 11 knockouts), for the right to promote their bout. K2 Promotions bid $7,250,131.00 and Sauerland bid $5,290,144.00. The purse split will be 80-to-20 percent (or $5,800,104.80 to $1,450,026.20) in favor of Klitschko (62-3, 52 KOs).
Klitschko was last in action for a fifth-round knockout against Alex Leapai, whom he dropped once in the first round and twice in the fifth. Klitschko also holds the IBF, WBA and WBO titles.
"Kubrat Pulev has an impressive record as an amateur and as well as professional. He has very good skills and I will definitely not underestimate him," said Klitschko, who stands 6-foot-6 to Pulev's 6-4.
"I am looking forward boxing in Hamburg. Everybody knows I have a special relationship to this city and the atmosphere in the O2 World has always been unbelievable."
Pulev, 33, was last in the ring for his second consecutive stoppage victory, a third-round knockout of Ivica Perkovic in April.
"I will get the titles. I am ready to replace Wladimir Klitschko as the world champion," said Pulev. "This fight is the highlight of my career. I will show the fans worldwide that Klitschko is no invincible machine and fulfill my dream. I have worked hard for this chance."
Pulev won an IBF "box-off that we had and really, he beat two guys," said IBF Championships Chairman Lindsey Tucker in an earlier interview with RingTV.com. "He beat [Alexander] Ustinov…and then he beat Tony Thompson…" in Sept. 2012 and August 2013, respectively.
Pulev knocked out Ustinov in the 11th round and won by unanimous decision over Thompson. By comparison, Klitschko stopped Thompson in the 11th round in July 2008 and in the sixth in July 2012.
The clash with Pulev will be Klitschko's 26th title fight and the titleholder is 23-2 over that time. Having been beltholder since 2006, Klitschko's reign ranks second only to that of the legendary Joe Louis, the longest reigning heavyweight champion in the sport's history. Klitschko's 23 successful defenses surpassed the 20 by Larry Holmes, the third-longest reigning heavyweight champion.
"We are very happy to be able to organize the fifth boxing event in Hamburg," said Bernd Bönte, CEO of the Klitschko Management Group (KMG). "The KMG is seated in Hamburg and our cooperation with the O2 team has always been wonderful. The audience can expect a first-class event in a fantastic arena."