December 11, 1999
Hamburg - December 11, 1999. German based WBO heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko soundly outboxed American Obed Sullivan inflicting enough punishment on his challenger along the way to force the usually tough man from Gulfport, Mississippi to quit after round nine.
Klitschko, 27-0 (27 KOs), dominated every round of the fight with his jab and repeatedly moved his challenger against the ropes when he landed combinations to the head dislocating his opponent's mouthpiece in round five. Sullivan, 34-6-1 (24 KOs), with both eyes starting to close and bleeding from a cut over his left eye found himself unable to answer the bell to round ten.
"In the last few months there's been a lot of talk about the Klitschko brothers in the US", reputable American promoter Cedrik Kushner summarized after the fight. "I had the opportunity to watch Wladimir Klitschko in Las Vegas and I was very impressed. If this is the first time that Vitali Klitschko went past round six he has an incredible future in front of him. With a few more fights and more experience and confidence he belongs right into the group of Tyson, Holyfield and Lewis. He is not my fighter, so I have no reason to say nice things about him. Those two are both heavyweight champions for a long time to come."
"Often I've heard Klitschko can only fight one or two rounds", the old and new WBO champion commented after his second successful title defence. "Today I proved this is not true. I was prepared to go 12 rounds against Sullivan and I didn't put too much pressure on him in the beginning because I knew he could take a hard punch."
The capacity crowd of 7,000 at Alsterdorfer Sporthalle was grateful for the opportunity to watch Vitali go a long distance after his last seven fights all ended in less than three rounds. It was also the refutation of critical voices who pretended Vitali Klitschko would be vulnerable in the late rounds - like his inexperienced brother Wladimir was in 1998 against Ross Puritty.
"It was the perfect conclusion of a successful year 1999", Klitschko promoter Klaus-Peter Kohl said. "We did not reach our ultimate aims yet. But with tonight's performance of Vitali I look into the future with the hope for even greater accomplishments."
The fight was televised by Premiere World in Germany and by Showtime in the US.