Wladimir Klitschko had to go the distance to defend his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight belts by decision against Mariusz Wach of Poland on Saturday.
The 2.02-meter (6-foot-7 1/2) Wach was the tallest opponent Klitschko faced in his 16-year professional career but offered little threat against the faster and 2-kilo (4-pound) lighter Ukrainian.
The judges scored it 120-107, 120-107 and 119-109 to Klitschko, who was troubled only at the end of the fifth round, when Wach surprised him with a right hook before a flurry of punches left the defending champion on the ropes.
''He caught me in the fifth, but then I slipped,'' said Klitschko, who was left with a small cut under his left eye and must have been relieved to hear the bell.
Klitschko left the 32-year-old Wach wobbling in the seventh with a devastating right blow followed by a series of combinations. Wach somehow hung on.
The two-time Polish champion was clearly in trouble in the next, when Klitschko was delivering punches at wil...