Sunday, September 27, 2009

Vitali klitschko

Vitali Klitschko (Ukrainian: Віталій Кличко, Vitaliy Klychko; born 19 July 1971 in Belovodsk, Kirghiz SSR, Soviet Union) is a Ukrainian professional heavyweight boxer and the current WBC heavyweight champion. He has the highest knockout percentage (92.5%) of any heavyweight champion in overall fights, having lost twice due to injury whilst well ahead. Only one opponent has not been knocked out in his 38 victories. His younger brother, Wladimir Klitschko, is the current IBF, WBO, IBO and Ring Magazine world heavyweight champion. Vitali is the first professional boxing world champion to hold a Ph.D. (in sports medicine).

Boxing career

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 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 26 June 1999, Klitschko won the WBO heavyweight title from Herbie Hide of the United Kingdom by a 2nd round knockout.

He successfully defended the title twice before an April 1, 2000 match against American Chris Byrd. Complaining of shoulder pain, Vitali and his corner threw in the towel after the ninth round despite carrying a lead on all three judges' scorecards (89-82, and 88-83 twice). Klitschko, who was later diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff, received much criticism for quitting the fight.

Klitschko rebounded from his loss to Byrd by reeling off five victories in a row, earning himself a shot at WBC heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis on June 21, 2003 in Los Angeles, California. Klitschko, a 4-1 underdog, dominated the early going and stunned Lewis in the second round with two hard rights. In the third, Lewis landed a big right hand of his own that opened a deep cut above Klitschko's left eye. Klitschko was able to rally and regain control of the fight, but the cut continued to worsen. Before the seventh round, the ringside doctor inspected the wound and deemed it severe enough to threaten eye damage if struck again, stopping the fight despite Klitschko's pleas to continue. Klitschko was ahead on all three scorecards 58-56 (4 rounds to 2) at the time of the stoppage, but because the wound was a result of punches from Lewis and not a headbutt, Lewis won by technical knockout. Lewis was booed lustily when he was announced the winner. Klitschko, despite the loss, gained international respect for fighting so well against the heavyweight champion for 6 rounds. Negotiations for a December 6 rematch began[2], but Lewis retired before the match could take place.

Around this time, the Klitschko brothers moved from Hamburg, Germany to Los Angeles, California.

In January 2004, they notified Universum that they would not re-sign when their contracts expired in April. Universum sued the brothers, arguing that their recent injuries had triggered a clause binding them beyond April. The suit was resolved in late 2004.

Klitschko earned an 8th-round TKO victory over South African Corrie Sanders on 24 April 2004, to capture the World Boxing Council heavyweight championship which had been vacated by Lewis. Sanders had knocked out (2nd Round TKO) younger brother Wladimir on 8 March 2003. This fight was also for The Ring Magazine belt. Klitschko was rocked early by Sanders, but by using movement and strong punching he broke down Sanders and forced the referee to stop the bout.

Vitali Klitschko's first world title defense was against British boxer Danny Williams. Williams had become suddenly marketable from a KO over Mike Tyson in round 4. Klitschko scored a technical knockout against Williams in 8 rounds on 11 December 2004, while wearing an orange cloth to show support for the Ukrainian presidential opposition movement. Klitschko knocked Williams down in the 1st, 3rd, 7th, and 8th rounds before the fight was stopped. Immediately afterward, Klitschko dedicated his victory to democracy in his native Ukraine, and also to the Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko, whom he supported in the 26 December 2004, election revote.

On 9 November 2005, Vitali Klitschko announced his retirement from professional boxing and vacated his title. He cited regrets about his suddenly-mounting injuries, a desire to leave the sport while still on top, and political aspirations in his home country of Ukraine. Following his retirement, the WBC conferred "champion emeritus" status on Klitschko, and assured him he would become the mandatory challenger if and when he decided to return. Klitschko retired with a career knockout ratio of 92 percent (34 knockouts in 37 bouts). He has never been knocked down or received a standing count.

He still occasionally calls out Lennox Lewis, who has been retired since early 2004, for a rematch. In the German Bild-Zeitung, he announced on 24 January 2007 his comeback and requested to fight again. But because of a number of health problems, Klitschko backed out from a number of bouts scheduled for him.

On 3 August 2008, the WBC awarded Klitschko a chance to regain his WBC heavyweight title. A fight was arranged with Samuel Peter and on 11 October 2008, he regained his title when Peter retired on his stool in the eighth round.

On 21 March 2009, Klitschko successfully defended the WBC heavyweight title against Juan Carlos Gomez which he won by TKO in the ninth round.

Klitschko successfully defended the WBC Heavyweight Title against Chris Arreola on September 26, 2009 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. He scored a TKO victory at the conclusion of the tenth round after Arreola's trainer, Henry Ramirez called a stop to the fight.
Outside the ring

Klitschko began campaigning for mayor of Kiev shortly after his retirement. He lost the 2006 mayoral election to Leonid Chernovetsky but placed second with 26% of the vote, ahead of the incumbent Oleksandr Omelchenko. Klitschko campaigned on an anti-corruption platform associated with Pora party. Analysts stated his relatively late entry into the campaign might have cost him votes. Still, he was elected as a people's deputy to the Kiev City Council.[9] In the May 2008 Kiev local election he ran again and won 18% of the vote. His party, Vitaliy Klychko Bloc, won 10.61% of the votes and 15 seats and again he was elected into the Kiev City Council. His campaign hired Rudy Giuliani to consult the campaign.[11] In 2008 he was also appointed to the Ukrainian delegation of the Congress of the Council of Europe.

Both Vitali and his brother are avid chess players. Vitali is a friend of former world chess champion Vladimir Kramnik and the two have played, with Kramnik always winning. Vitali has commented that "chess is similar to boxing. You need to develop a strategy, and you need to think two or three steps ahead about what your opponent is doing. You have to be smart. But what's the difference between chess and boxing? In chess, nobody is an expert, but everybody plays. In boxing everybody is an expert, but nobody fights."

Vitali and his brother also have been involved in charitable activities dedicated to support the needs of schools, churches and children. In 2002, the Klitschko brothers announced that they had agreed to work specifically for the UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) which supports more than 180 projects in 87 countries.

Their father, Vladimir Rodionovich, was a Soviet Air Force Colonel. Their mother is Nadezhda Ulyanovna.

He is married to Natalia Egorova, a former athlete and model. They met in Kiev and got married in April 1996. He has three children, Egor-Daniel, Elizabeth-Victoria and Max (named after the former World Heavyweight Champion Max Schmeling).

In 1996, he graduated from the Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky Pedagogical Institute (Ukraine) and was accepted into the postgraduate study program at Kiev University. On 29 February 2000, he presented his doctoral thesis on "talent and sponsorship in sports" at the Kiev University of Physical Science and Sports, and his Ph.D. in Sports Science was conferred.