Mayor of Kiev? Vitali Klitschko to Give Up Boxing for Politics?Written by Lee Cleveland
Vitali Klitschko's (44-2, 40 KOs) next bout may be his last, according to his manager.
The 40 year old two-time heavyweight champion has set his sights on Kiev's mayoral position and hopes to focus more on the worsening situation in his native Ukraine.
Last month, the pro-democracy heavyweight told Spiegel Online:
"Ukraine is a wonderful country with great potential and hospitable people... Unfortunately, we are observing some very negative political developments. Like Yulia Tymoshenko, one opposition leader after another is being placed in prison. That damages Ukraine's image in the eyes of the world... Ukraine is transforming itself into an increasingly authoritarian regime."
In April 2010, Klitschko became the leader of the pro-European Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms (UDAR or "Punch" in English), which is believed to be one of the party favorites heading into the parliamentary race which will take place in October.
If he is elected Mayor if Kiev in October he will quit his career, for sure," added Vitali's manager, Bernd Boente.
But unlike Manny Pacquiao in the Philippines today, Vitali Klitschko is seemingly no shoe-in. Klitschko, who started campaigning for Mayor of Kiev shortly after his first retirement from boxing in 2005, lost the 2006 mayoral race but finished second with a respectable 26% of the vote. Some analysts believe his relatively late entry into the campaign may have sealed his fate.
Vitali Klitschko, currently a member of the Kiev City Council, campaigns on anti-corruption platform and told Spiegel Online last month:
"Publicly, the (Ukrainian) leadership may proclaim democratic values and declare the country's integration in Europe to be a priority. But in fact, the government is undertaking steps that run contrary to European standards and values."
Vitali's Boxing Future and David Haye
Earlier this month Vitali Klitschko told the press, "My sports career is nearing completion, but sports have always had a place in my heart, and they always will have."
According to Vitali's manager, the WBC Heavyweight Champion might have one more bout in September before retiring from the sport for good but his opponent will unlikely be David Haye. In addition, Bernd Boente insists Haye refused the opportunity to face Vitali in September, opting for an 'easier' fight with Dereck Chisora on July 14th instead.
Given Haye is fighting Chisora in mid July, would David, should he defeat Chisora, be able to thrust himself back into intense training in preparation for a September assignment against a fighter as dominant as Vitali Klitschko?
It's highly unlikely.
"I don't think it (Vitali Klitschko vs David Haye) will happen," Boente told The Press Association. "It will definitely not happen in September because we are already talking to a couple of different opponents for then and it is too close for Haye to fight him after his fight against Chisora."
Vitali Klitschko last fought in February, winning a tough, action-filled twelve round unanimous decision over Britain's Dereck Chisora in Munich.
He has won 44 of 46 bouts and amassed 40 knockouts. And while his brother, Wladimir, has arguably beaten better opposition, Vitali has been more impressive. The elder, more aggressive Klitschko's only loses to date were the result of injuries he sustained during fights he was winning against Chis Byrd and Lennox Lewis.
Vitali Klitschko, a loser of few rounds in his 46 fight career, boasts an impressive 87% knockout-to-fights ratio which is currently the highest of any heavyweight champion in history.
Lee is Managing Editor of FightSaga.com, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.
A gym rat in the 1990s, Lee was trained by 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist Charles Mooney and several retired seasoned pros. He was also a sparring partner for former WBA Super Middleweight Champion Steve Little who upset Michael Nunn for the WBA Super Middleweight Title in '94.
Lee created FightSaga.com to honor and preserve boxing's rich heritage, chronicle the achievements of top fighters, celebrate the legacy of big fights and provide a fun, educational experience for fight fans.