World heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko successfully defended his IBF, WBA and WBO titles on Saturday with a unanimous points victory over Polish challenger Mariusz Wach.

The 36-year-old Klitschko was awarded the fight 120-107, 120-107, 119-109 to win his 22nd world title bout and boost his record to 50 knock-outs and 58 wins in 61 bouts.

For the first time in his career, Klitschko faced a taller opponent, giving away four centimetres to the 2.02m tall Wach, who tipped the scales at 113.8 kilos (251 pounds), compared to Klitschko's 112kgs (247).

After a quiet start, the fight burst into life with a sharp right from the Polish fighter at the end of the fifth as Wach pinned the champion on the ropes and unleashed a fierce volley of punches which rattled Klitschko.

Klitschko followed his corner's advice to keep moving in the sixth and used his superior fitness to start landing some telling right-hand shots.

The champion finished the seventh round with a good combination and kept up the punishment with several crashing rights to pin Wach to the ropes with the challenger barely defending himself.

Klitschko started the 11th with a flurry of punches and a good combination, but Wach held on to take the fight into the 12th and final round, when a crashing right rocked him back, but the Polish giant would not fall.

"That was the hardest fight of my life, he's a tough fighter," an emotional Wach said, who suffered the first defeat of his career having previously had 15 knock-outs in 27 wins.

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