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Friday Flashback: Anchorage’s Cody Koch boxed with Wladimir Klitschko for WBC title in 1998

by | Feb 23, 2024 | Boxing, Cover Story, Friday Flashback

Cody Koch

No boxer from Alaska did more than Anchorage’s Cody Koch, whose rapid and remarkable rise to prominence in the 1990s was unlike anything we’ve ever seen in the sport.

Koch broke into pro boxing in 1995 after winning a national Toughman Contest. He won his first 24 fights, with 20 of them coming by knockout.

In 1998, he twice fought for a heavyweight title, first against Ed Mahone for the vacant WBO belt and then against WBC champion Wladimir Klitschko.

The 6-foot-2 southpaw was a hard-hitting brawler who handed four pro fighters their first loss. His biggest win came in 1997 against 23-and-5 Booker T. Word.

Koch’s first title shot came on Feb. 23, 1998, against 15-0 Mahone in Inglewood, California. Koch was winning on the judges’ scorecards prior to the 10th round, when Mahone knocked him out. It was Koch’s first loss in 25 pro fights.

He came back a few weeks later to win a tune-up fight for his 25th career victory and set up the biggest break of his career, a chance to fight 19-0 WBC heavyweight champion Klitschko on May 23, 1998 in Germany.

The 6-foot-6 Klitschko won by fourth-round knockout against Koch, who fought bravely against an elite opponent widely considered one of greatest heavyweight boxers of all-time with 64 wins.

Koch never fought again. He died on July 26, 1998, under mysterious circumstances outside a bar in Michigan, less than a month before he was scheduled to return to the ring in Las Vegas.

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Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Alaska Airlines | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Joe Alston | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Aspen Endodontics | Glen Bailey | Kathie Bethard | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Continental Auto Group | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris | The Conway Family | Donley Family | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Foley & Pearson | JL Properties | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Amy and Jason Miller | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | Rick Mystrom | Kathleen Navarre | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Dave and DeAnne Rand | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Replacement Glass | Residential Mortgage | RSA Engineering- Sarah & A.J. Schirack | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Peter Pounds | Dan Rufner | Harlow Robinson | Pete Robinson | Moria Smith | Taylored Restoration | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Team Heat | Todd Whited | UAA Seawolves | Don Winchester

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Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

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