Before dying last week from diverticulitis at the age of 68, International Boxing Hall of Fame trainer Manny Steward encouraged The Ring, WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion “Dr. Steelhammer” Wladimir Klitschko to hire his primary sparring partner, Johnathon Banks, to work as a cornerman when he defends his belts against mammoth Polish fighter “The Viking” Mariusz Wach on November 10 at the O2 World Arena in Hamburg, Germany.
The 6-foot-6, 243 pound Klitschko (58-3, 51 KOs), who has triumphed in 16 consecutive bouts since being TKO’d by Lamon Brewster in April 2004, accepted Steward’s advice and has teamed with Banks.
“I never thought that it would happen, but, for years, Emanuel was telling me that one of these days, he might asked me to start training Wladimir,” said the 30-year-old Banks (28-1-1, 18 KOs). “He would tell Wladimir, ‘if I can’t make it to one of these training camps, I’ll leave Johnathon here to train you, because I know that he knows boxing.’ So I can’t express how much of an honor for me to know those things, and that he would say those things about me. I would just laugh when I heard it, sometimes, because I thought he was just blowing smoke. But he would just keep telling me, ‘Johnathon, I’m serious. If I’m not here, I’ll tell Wladimir to listen to you and to help you with this and that.’ So it’s true, he did that.”
Klitschko, who is seeking his 17th straight conquest, last fought on July 7 when he pummeled mandatory opponent Tony “The Tiger” Thompson en route to a dominant sixth round TKO in front of 32,000 fans at the Stade de Suisse in Berne, Switzerland.
Conversely, the 32-year-old Wach (27-0, 15 KOs), who stands 6-foot-8 and possesses an 82 inch reach, most recently vacated the squared circle as a victor over Tye Fields by a sixth round TKO at the Resorts Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
“The big challenge for me is Wach’s height. It is the first time that I am facing an opponent who is taller than me and has a better reach,” said Klitschko, 36, who is blessed with an 81 inch reach. “He is unbeaten, a big puncher and has an irrepressible will.”
In actuality, despite his size, Wach is a powerless prizefighter with zero chance to compete with the indomitable Ukrainian.
The legendary Manny Steward told the great Wladimir Klitschko that Johnathon Banks “knows boxing” and nothing indicates that the newly formed duo won’t be a tremendous success roughly two weeks from tonight.by