Former unified heavyweight world champion and one of the biggest names in sports history – Wladimir Klitschko, has responded to the number one question in nowadays combat sports.
Which is tougher – boxing or MMA? You’d think that a boxing icon like himself would stick to his sport, but the Ukrainian had other thoughts.
“Dr Steel hammer” believes mixed martial artists have it way tougher than boxers, but somehow we all knew that.
“I have a lot of respect for guys in the cage,” he told us shortly after being honored as a legend by the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis last year.
“You need to be super agile with your abilities, capabilities, of being a wrestler and of being a boxer,” the 43-year-old said. “The rounds are longer. It is a much tougher sport than boxing.
“It is difficult to remain successful in the UFC and to be a champion because the sport is very competitive. I have a lot of respect for the athletes and when I see women do it, I have even more respect.
“Maybe I could have tried UFC due to my abilities,” Klitschko said. “I wouldn’t have been a wrestler due to some health issues in my back and stuff, so I wouldn’t have been capable of wrestling for long periods, though I did judo when I was younger.”
Even though Klitschko is still following the heavyweight boxing landscape, he admitted that recently he started watching MMA.
“I’m getting to know some of the fighters like McGregor because he was getting into the boxing ring. Whatever you think of McGregor, I believe he was well behaved and disciplined which I did not expect when he fought Mayweather.
“Two athletes crossing over promotions with athletes involved from different sports, in a boxing ring, in this case, acting under discipline with one rule — boxing. I thought he might kick, but he didn’t.
“McGregor is a character but being so disciplined, he deserved a lot of respect.”