Sunday, February 27, 2022 2:00 pm
Vitali Klitschko is a multi-millionaire boxer and heavy weight champion. Being a rich man, he could afford to have escaped when war was about to start in Ukraine and be living large in London, Toronto or Los Angeles. Instead he stayed in Kiev, Ukraine and armed himself, fighting against a superpower(Russia).
In his words: “We stand up against one of the biggest and strongest armies in the world, but we have to defend our families. Defend our country, our cities, and we don’t have another choice.”
“I believe in Ukraine, I believe in my country and I believe in my people,” Vitali said.
Vitali Volodymyrovych Klitschko, a Ukrainian politician and former professional boxer, was born on 19 July 1971. He has served as mayor of Kyiv and head of the Kyiv City State Administration, having held both offices since June 2014. Klitschko is a former leader of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc and a former Member of the Ukrainian Parliament. He became actively involved in Ukrainian politics in 2005 and combined this with his professional boxing career until his retirement from the sport in 2013.
As a boxer, Klitschko won multiple world heavyweight championships. He held the WBO title from 1999 to 2000, the Ring magazine title from 2004 to 2005, and the WBC title twice between 2004 and 2013. Overall, Vitali defeated 15 opponents in world heavyweight title fights and made 12 successful title defences. In 2011, Vitali and his younger brother Wladimir Klitschko entered the Guinness World Records as the pair of brothers with most world heavyweight title fight wins (30 at the time; 40 as of 2020). From 2006 until 2015, Vitali and Wladimir (also a multiple-time world champion) dominated heavyweight boxing, a period typically known as the “Klitschko Era” of the division.
Standing at 2.01 metres (6 ft 7 in) and usually entering fights at a weight of around 250 pounds (110 kg), Vitali was renowned for having exceptional ring dominance, as well possessing a formidable 87% knockout percentage at the end of his career. His only two losses came via a shoulder injury and a deep cut above his eye, both of which were recorded as stoppages rather than outright knockouts; in both fights he was leading on the judges’ scorecards. Klitschko’s last fight was in 2012, but he remained the WBC heavyweight champion at age 42 when he announced his retirement in December 2013.
Klitschko is the only heavyweight boxer to have reigned as world champion in three different decades. Along with Oliver McCall and Nikolai Valuev, he is also one of two world heavyweight champions to have never been knocked down in any fight. Klitschko and George Foreman are the only heavyweight boxers in history to defend a world title after turning 40. Being the first professional boxing world champion to hold a PhD degree, and in reference to his punching power, Klitschko’s nickname was “Dr. Ironfist”.
Klitschko formally began his political career in 2006 when he placed second in the Kyiv mayoral race. In 2010, he founded the party Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR) and was elected into parliament for this party in 2012. He was a leading figure in the 2013–2014 Euromaidan protests, and he announced his possible candidacy for the Ukrainian presidency but later withdrew and endorsed Petro Poroshenko. He was elected Mayor of Kyiv on 25 May 2014. Klitschko headed the election list of the winner of the 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election, the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, but he gave up his parliamentary seat to stay on as Mayor of Kyiv. On 28 August 2015 the UDAR party merged into Petro Poroshenko Bloc. Klitschko thus became the new party leader. Klitschko was reelected as mayor on 15 November 2015. Klitschko revived UDAR, and left Petro Poroshenko Bloc with it, in May 2019 and simultaneously announced that UDAR would take part in the 2019 Ukrainian parliamentary election autonomously. UDAR however failed to win any seats.
On 24 February 2022, Klitschko, along with his brother, Wladimir, announced they would take up arms in defense of Kyiv in the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.