Wladimir Klitschko (b. 25th March, 1976) is a renowned heavyweight professional boxer from Ukraine, who dominated the ring from 1996 to 2017. During his amateur career, he won the super-heavyweight gold medal at the 1996 ‘Summer Olympics’ at Atlanta, Georgia, defeating Paea Wolfgramm of Tonga. He turned professional under the guidance of German professional-boxing trainer Fritz Sdunek and had a straight run of 24 wins with 22 knockouts, till he suffered his first defeat against American boxer Ross Puritty. He was known for his knockout punch, using a strong jab, straight right hand, and left hook, coupled with great mobility and footwork. Wladimir and his brother, Vitali, are the only two brothers to hold all the world heavyweight titles between them, simultaneously. Having been a two-time world heavyweight champion and having held the ‘World Boxing Association’ (WBA), the ‘International Boxing Federation’ (IBF), the ‘World Boxing Organization’ (WBO), the ‘International Boxing Organization’ (IBO), the ‘Ring’ magazine, and the lineal titles, he announced his retirement from professional boxing in August 2017, ending a career of 64 wins from 69 bouts with 53 knockouts. After a divorce from his first wife, he is now in a steady relationship with American actor, Hayden Panettiere, with whom he has a daughter.
Early life Edit
Klitschko was born in Semipalatinsk (now Semey), Kazakh SSR, Soviet Union (now Kazakhstan). His father, Vladimir Rodionovic Klitschko (1947–2011), was a Soviet Air Force major general and a military attaché of Ukraine in Germany; he was also one of the commanders in charge of cleaning up the effects of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 and was afterward diagnosed with cancer. Wladimir's mother is Nadezhda Ulyanovna. He is the younger brother of former WBC, WBO and Ring magazine heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, the current Mayor of Kiev.
Amateur career Edit
Klitschko began training in amateur boxing with Brovary Olympic Reserve School in the late 1980s. In the early 1990s, Klitschko was coached in Poland's Gwardia Warszawa boxing club, where, according to Jerzy Kulej, "He and his brother used to demolish our boys." In 1993, he won the Junior European Championships as a heavyweight. In 1994, he received 2nd place at the Junior World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, losing to Cuban Michel López Núñez in the finals. In 1995, he won the gold medal at the Military Championships in Ariccia, Italy, defeating Luan Krasniqi, who he had lost to in the third round of the World Championships in Berlin, Germany earlier that year. In 1996, he captured 2nd place as a Super Heavyweight at the European Championships in Vejle, Denmark losing to Alexei Lezin in the finals. He defeated Lezin later that year in the semi finals at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. He had an amateur record of 134–6.
He first achieved world attention at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. He defeated Paea Wolfgramm to win the Super-Heavyweight gold medal.
Professional career Edit
Klitschko turned professional with Universum Box-Promotion in Hamburg under the tutelage of Fritz Sdunek, often being featured on fight cards alongside his elder brother Vitali. After building an undefeated record of 24–0 with 21 KOs, he suffered his first loss to 24–13–1 Ross Puritty, in what was Klitschko's first and only professional fight in Ukraine. Puritty forced Klitschko, who had at that time not gone beyond 8 rounds, to punch himself out. Klitschko began to be overwhelmed in the 10th round and went down twice but was allowed to continue. At the start of the 11th round, with Puritty continuing to land hard punches, Klitschko's trainer, Fritz Sdunek, entered the ring and stopped the fight. Three years later, Klitschko's brother Vitali stopped Puritty in the 11th round himself. On 18 March 2000, Klitschko fought Paea Wolfgramm, whom he fought previously in the 1996 Super Heavyweight Olympic Finals. In their professional rematch, Klitschko knocked Wolfgramm out in the first round.
Klitschko suffered an upset TKO loss to Corrie Sanders on 8 March 2003 in Hanover, Germany. Sanders dropped Klitschko twice in the opening round and scored two more knockdowns in the second round before the bout was stopped by the official. The fight was named The Ring magazine Upset of the Year for 2003.
After winning two minor bouts in Germany and enlisting the services of legendary boxing trainer Emanuel Steward, Klitschko again fought for the vacated WBO title on 10 April 2004, in Las Vegas, against Lamon Brewster. Klitschko sent Brewster to the canvas in the fourth round; however, things turned around in the fifth when Brewster's punches began backing him up. Not defending himself and leaning into ropes for support, Klitschko took a standing eight count. On unsteady legs, Klitschko fell to the canvas after the bell and the referee stopped the fight for his safety.
Following his loss to Brewster, Klitschko began his journey back towards the top of the heavyweight division. First, he defeated DaVarryl Williamson by technical decision. The fight was halted because of a Klitschko cut caused by an accidental headbutt. He then knocked out undefeated Cuban contender Eliseo Castillo. Klitschko then signed to fight undefeated power puncher Samuel Peter in an IBF and WBO eliminator. Though Peter scored three knockdowns (two in round 5, one in round 10) Klitschko withstood the Nigerian's power and went on to outbox Peter for the majority of the rounds.
On 22 April 2006, in Mannheim, Germany, Klitschko defeated Chris Byrd for a second time, this time by technical knockout, in a contest for the IBF and IBO Heavyweight Championships. Referee Wayne Kelly stopped the fight in the seventh round after a knockdown. Byrd beat the count, but his face was battered and bloody, and the fight was waved off.
He returned in November, defeating Calvin Brock at Madison Square Garden. Klitschko then defeated mandatory challenger Ray Austin on 10 March 2007, at the SAP Arena in Mannheim, Germany by a second-round knockout with four consecutive left hooks to Austin's head.
Klitschko then avenged one of his previous losses as he defeated Lamon Brewster on 7 July 2007, in Cologne, Germany. Brewster's corner asked the referee to stop the fight at the end of the sixth round. It was later revealed that Klitschko fought most of the fight with a broken middle finger on his left hand.
Klitschko defeated WBO Heavyweight Champion Sultan Ibragimov at Madison Square Garden in New York City on 23 February 2008 to unify the IBF, IBO and WBO Heavyweight titles. The Klitschko-Ibragimov fight was the first heavyweight unification since Holyfield-Lewis in 1999. The unification clash with Ibragimov proved to be a huge disappointment for fans. Klitschko was very dominant from the first bell. He backed Ibragimov into a corner and proceeded to push down Ibragimov's glove with his left hand so he could not throw a punch. Though Klitschko won every single round, the crowd in New York City began booing after the second round. The boos and jeers increased as the fight progressed in the same fashion. Ibragimov's corner was almost silent from the sixth round onwards, unable to give their man any meaningful advice. Klitschko did not fight again in the United States until 2015 where he defeated Bryant Jennings.
On 12 July 2008, at the Color Line Arena in Hamburg, Klitschko faced mandatory challenger Tony Thompson, in a good action fight. Klitschko controlled the fight with his jab and right hand; Thompson had his moments but was outworked and out skilled for the majority of the rounds. Klitschko floored Thompson with a right hand in the 11th round and Thompson didn't beat the count.
Klitschko was scheduled to defend his titles against Alexander Povetkin later in 2008, but on 25 October, Povetkin withdrew from the fight due to an ankle injury. Instead, Klitschko faced Hasim Rahman on 13 December 2008 and won by TKO. This was the third time Klitschko fought at the SAP Arena in Mannheim, Germany. He dominated the fight, winning every round while making good use of his left jab. From the first bell the difference in physical strength was profound. Rahman seemed unable to withstand Klitschko's punch power. The referee finally called a stop to the one-sided contest in the 7th round after Rahman failed to respond to a series of good shots.
Klitschko was scheduled to face David Haye, who pulled out within weeks of the fight complaining of a back injury. Salvaging 20 June 2009 date and venue, Klitschko instead retained the IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight titles and also won the vacant Ring magazine heavyweight title by defeating replacement opponent and Ring No. 3 ranked Ruslan Chagaev when Chagaev retired after an onslaught of punches towards the end of the ninth round. There was a total of 61,000 fans in attendance at the Veltins Arena. As Chagaev was WBA Champion in Recess, the title was not on the line.
Klitschko's win over Chagaev was seen as one of his most impressive performances in the ring. Salvaging 20 June 2009 date and venue, Klitschko instead retained the IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight titles and also won the vacant Ring magazine heavyweight title by defeating replacement opponent and Ring No. 3 ranked Ruslan Chagaev when Chagaev retired after an onslaught of punches towards the end of the ninth round. This win had added significance because even though the WBA title was not on the line, many saw Klitschko as the rightful champion.
On 9 December 2009, Klitschko's management group, K2 Promotions confirmed that a bout with Eddie Chambers has been agreed to take place in Germany on 20 March 2010. This mandatory title defense, originally scheduled for December 2009 had to be delayed due to a hand injury that Klitschko sustained in training that required surgery.
Klitschko defeated Chambers by knockout five seconds before the end of the final round. He was criticized between rounds by his trainer Emanuel Steward for not fighting aggressively enough and began punching more often during the final round than he had done before which eventually led to his left hook hitting Chambers to the forehead. The punch made Chambers fall forwards and lost consciousness for an extended period of time. The referee stepped in and called an end to the contest instantly.