Klitschko unfazed by ‘bloodsport’ bout in Gelsenkirchen

Wladimir Klitschko will not only risk his world heavyweight titles in Gelsenkirchen against Ruslan Chagaev on Saturday, but also possibly his health.

Klitschko unfazed by 'bloodsport' bout in Gelsenkirchen
Photo: DPA

Chagaev is suffering from hepatitis B – the reason for the late cancellation of his WBA titlefight against Nikolai Valuev in Finland last month – and the American Association of Professional Ringside Physicians (AAPRP) is recommending the fight be postponed due to medical safety issues.

“Hepatitis B is a very virulent virus and easily transmitted,” said the AAPRP in a statement. “It is even more important to be prudent in order to not only protect Mr. Chagaev’s opponent, but also the referee, judges, sanctioning body officials, cornermen, ringside physicians and ringside observers who may be at risk of contracting this dangerous virus.

Calling boxing a “blood sport,” the AAPRP said it was very common for blood to splatter on those ringside as well.

Klitschko, though, insists the fight must go on and claims he has the right innoculation to avoid contracting the virus.

“I am innoculated,” said Klitschko, who holds the IBF and WBO titles while his brother Witali is the WBC champion. “Since I often travel in my role as an UNESCO Ambassador, I am often in the tropical institute getting injections.”

The 33-year-old Wladimir had been scheduled to meet David Haye in in an open-air fight in front of 60,000 fight fans, but a back injury ruled out Haye and Chagaev has stepped in. As the only fighter to beat Valuev, Chagaev, the WBA’s ‘Champion in Recess’ is also keen to prove his credentials.

Chagaev has spent more than a year out of the ring with an achilles tendon injury and his credibility needs a boost.

Victory on Saturday night would land him both of Klitschko’s belts and make up for some of the disappointment of losing out on the Valuev fight and the chance to be undisputed WBA champion.

“I was furious and shocked when I heard the Valuev fight was off,” said the undefeated Chagaev, 30, who has only fought twice since beating Valuev in April 2007 against Matt Skelton in January 2008 and Carl Davis Drumond last February.

Since he turned professional in 1997, Chagaev has 25 wins, one draw and 17 knock-outs to his record. But Klitschko – otherwise known as Dr Steelhammer – has an impressive 46 knock-outs from 52 fights and is eager to dispatch Chagaev to silence mutterings from the United States the division is dead.

“It’s funny to hear the Americans say the heavyweight division is dead because in Europe the feeling is different,” said Klitschko. “Forty-six opponents didn’t make the distance out of 55 against me, so is that a boring record? I believe that my timing is getting better and in his

thirties a heavyweight fighter is getting stronger.”

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Monkeypox in Germany: Two teens ‘among new infections’

Two teenage boys between the ages of 15-17 have reportedly been infected by monkeypox, as the number of cases in Germany continues to grow.

Monkeypox in Germany: Two teens 'among new infections'

German news site Spiegel Online first reported the new cases – which are an anomaly for a virus as it has mostly affected gay men – following an inquiry to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). 

They are among a total of 2,677 people who are confirmed to have contracted the virus in Germany to date. There have not been any fatalities.

Out of these, only five cases were women, according to the RKI. The public health institute said that it does not release information on individual cases.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How Germany wants to contain the monkeypox

The disease – which is not usually fatal – often manifests itself through fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face.

The virus can be transmitted through contact with skin lesions and droplets of a contaminated person, as well as through shared items such as bedding and towels.

Many of the cases known so far concern homosexual and bisexual men. However, affected people and experts have repeatedly warned against stigmatising gay communities.

How fatal is the disease?

The first monkeypox cases were reported in Germany on May 20th, as the disease continued to spread in West Europe.

At the weekend, the first two deaths outside of West Africa were reported in Spain.

READ ALSO: WHO warns ‘high’ risk of monkeypox in Europe as it declares health emergency

The RKI has urged people returning from West Africa and in particular gay men, to see their doctors quickly if they notice any chances on their skin.

According to the latest estimates, there are 23,000 monkeypox cases worldwide, and Europe is particularly affected with 14,000 cases.

There have been 2,677 monkeypox cases in Germany as of August 2, 2022. Photo: CDC handout

About eight percent of patients in Europe have been hospitalised so far, reported the World Health Association on Monday, mostly due to severe pain or additional infections.

In general, the mortality of the variant currently circulating in Europe is estimated to be low.

READ ALSO: More cases of monkeypox ‘expected’ in Germany

Will a vaccine make a difference?

Since July, a vaccine has been authorised in 27 EU member states and in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. 

The Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) recommends vaccination against monkeypox in Germany for certain risk groups and people who have had close contact with infected people.

So far, the German government has ordered 240,000 vaccine doses, of which 40,000 had been delivered by Friday. 

Around 200,000 doses are set to follow by the end of September. 

The German Aids Federation (DAH) on Friday called for one million vaccine doses, stressing that the current supplies will fall short of meeting need.

“The goal must be to reduce the number of infections as quickly as possible and to get the epidemic permanently under control,” explained Ulf Kristal of the DAH board in Berlin on Friday.

But this is only possible, he said, if as many people at risk of infection as possible are vaccinated.

“We don’t assume the epidemic will be over when the doses available so far have been vaccinated,” Axel Jeremias Schmidt, Epidemiologist and DAH Consultant for Medicine and Health Policy, wrote in a press release.

As long as there are monkeypox infections, he said, people who are at risk must be offered vaccination.