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Viktor Yanukovych: Ukrainian president 'sucker punches' Vitali Klitschko

Lee Cleveland Updated
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WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko has never been knocked out... inside the ring. Outside the ring, the 42 year old Ukrainian may have fallen face first to the canvas, compliments of a series of sucker punches delivered by his president, Viktor Yanukovich.

Last month, Vitali Klitschko officially announced his candidacy for president of Ukraine and is a serious threat to unseat Yanukovych.

Not happy with Klitschko's bid or political agenda, the nation's president countered with a vile 1-2 combination below the belt last Friday.

Threatened by Klitschko's popularity and strong surge in the polls, the Ukrainian president signed legislation aimed to prevent Klitschko from running against him in 2015.

The new law basically states:

a) Anyone who has paid taxes in a foreign country is banned from seeking the Ukrainian presidency, and

b) Candidates seeking the presidency must have been a resident of Ukraine for at least 10 years prior to the election in which she/he is a participant

Klitschko, of course, has primarily lived, trained and fought in Germany for years.

Either measure can seemingly keep the champ from running.

"The authorities have no grounds to keep Klitschko out of the election," his spokeswoman said. "Vitali Klitschko will run for president regardless of any amendments to the law."

Yanukovich's other political rival, former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, cannot challenge Yanukovich in 2015 because she's serving a seven-year jail sentence for "abuse of office." The U.S. is among several nations working for her release.

Politicians worldwide, and in general, aren't exactly the most ethical of characters but the level of corruption in Ukrainian politics is arguably on an entirely different level.


Remember Viktor Yushchenko?


Following an initial assassination attempt in late 2004 during his campaign for president, Yushchenko was confirmed to have ingested hazardous amounts of poison in what was believed to be a second attempt on his life.

He suffered disfigurement as a result of the poisoning, but has been slowly recovering in recent years.

Imposing frivolous rules to keep certain candidates from running, wrongly imprisoning rivals, poisoning the opposition... That's exactly the type of corruption Vitali Klitschko seeks to end.

Last year, 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."

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