Wladimir Klitschko used his big jab to extend a nine-year reign as world heavyweight champion with a unanimous points decision over a game but limited Bryant Jennings at Madison Square Garden.

Returning to the US and the Garden for the first time in seven years, the 39-year-old Ukrainian regretted not being able to overpower the American challenger as he outboxed his opponent in an 18th consecutive successful title-defence.

The pro-Klitschko crowd, which numbered more than 17,000, lavished cheers and chants on the champion and his older brother, former champion and now Kiev mayor Vitali Klitschko, who helped warm up the winner prior to the bout.

"Bryant Jennings was really mobile and really tough to hit," said Klitschko, sounding apologetic for not supplying a knockout finish to a bout in which he was defending five versions of the world title.

"I couldn't find the key to land punches I wanted to land, punches landed on his arms. Unfortunately, I didn't defend as impressively as I usually do."

Two judges scored it 116-111 and the third judge made it 118-109 for Klitschko, despite the champion being docked one point in the 10th for holding.

Klitschko, who tied the heavyweight record set by Joe Louis in contesting his 27th heavyweight title fight, improved to 64-3 as Jennings fell to 19-1.

Source: Reuters