Vitali Klitschko, a famous boxer, the brother of Wladimir Klitschko, the leader of his own bloc in the Municipal Council of Ukraine’s capital Kiev, announced he intends to participate in the election of Kiev’s mayor. The boxer stated in an interview with a Ukrainian TV channel that democratic forces must nominate their single candidate. If it does not happen, he believes that his chances for victory could be “not bad,” as he put it.
“We are currently in talks with the leaders of political forces. We are certain that we will be able to come to an agreement. However, even if this agreement does not happen I believe that my chances look not bad. Taking into consideration the fact that every third Kiever supports my candidacy, as opinion polls show, I will run having good chances for victory,” Vitali Klitschko said.
Klitschko reminded that Ukrainian democratic forces did not nominate their single candidate during the mayoral elections of 2006. “If they nominate several candidates again, they will have votes distributed between them. This may repeat the situation of the 2006 elections, when two strong candidates continued their struggle, but the victory went to the third candidate, whom no one expected to win,” Vitaly Klitschko said.
Vitali Klitschko was born in 1971. He is a professional boxer, WBC and Ring heavyweight champion. He retired in 2005 and announced his comeback in 2007. He has the highest knockout percentage (92%) of any heavyweight champion in overall fights and is one of few heavyweight champions never to have been knocked down professionally. His younger brother, Wladimir Klitschko, is the current IBF, WBO & IBO heavyweight champion.
Originally a professional kickboxer, Vitali won the super heavyweight championship at the first World Military Games in Italy in 1995. In that same year, he won the silver medal at the 1995 World Amateur Boxing Championships in Berlin Germany, where he was defeated by Russia's Alexei Lezin in the final. His amateur record was 195-15 with 80 knockouts.
He began his professional boxing career in 1996, winning his first twenty-four fights by either early knockout or technical-knockout (TKO). He and Wladimir signed with the German athlete-promotion company Universum. With both brothers holding Ph.D.s and being multilingual, their charismatic, refined and articulate personalities made for mainstream marketability when they moved to Germany and Universum. In time, they became national celebrities in their adopted home country. In his 25th pro fight, on June 26, 1999, Klitschko won the WBO heavyweight title from Herbie Hide of the United Kingdom by a 2nd round knockout.
He defended the title twice before losing it on April 1, 2000 to American Chris Byrd. Complaining of shoulder pain, Vitali and his corner decided to concede after the ninth round. Vitali was ahead on all three judges' scorecards (89-82, and 88-83 twice), but the way he ended this match brought international criticism, and resulted in a reputation at least partially as a quitter.
On June 21, 2003, he fought Lennox Lewis for the WBC heavyweight championship in Los Angeles, California. For the first two rounds, Klitschko was fighting very well. In the 3rd round, Lewis wounded Klitschko's left eye and the next two rounds were give and take. Before the 7th round, the ringside doctor inspected the wound and thought it severe enough to threaten eye damage if struck again. The doctor stopped the fight despite Klitschko's pleas to continue. Because Vitali's wound was a result of the punches from Lewis, and not a headbutt, the rules stated that Lewis would win by a technical knockout. Though he had lost, Klitschko gained international respect for fighting so well against the heavyweight champion for 6 rounds. An immediate rematch was arranged for December 6th of that year, but Lewis instead retired.
Prepared by Dmitry Sudakov