Wladimir Klitschko: Vitali will rise to the challenge amidst Ukraine-Russia political tension

Joe Hewlett 11/05/2018
Klitschko brothers Wladimir and Vitali


In 2012, Vitali Klitschko closed the doors on a magnificent 16-year career in boxing and turned his attention to serving as a politician in his native Ukraine.

The former undisputed champion of the word currently holds the position of being Mayor of Kiev, however, he faces his toughest battle yet as the conflict continues to grow between his homeland and Russia.

Younger sibling and future hall-of-famer Wladimir believes his brother is more than capable of addressing such distressing times.

Klitschko told 112.international: “I’ve been supporting my brother for the past 42 years. He’s a great guy. And he’s facing challenges that I don’t think anybody else could handle. He wasn’t educated or trained to be a politician; he’s been learning by doing. As I said, we mustn’t think in boxes or put people into boxes.

“He’s facing challenges which are very marginal and nuanced. Politics often doesn’t have rules and problems have to be solved by working in between the lines. It’s not like in boxing where the worst that can happen is a bloody nose or a black eye. It can be much worse in politics.

“So it’s something that’s really challenging and I know it’s not always easy for him, and he knows that even he can do better. But I think so far he’s been open-minded.”

Klitschko – who retired from boxing following his defeat to Anthony Joshua in 2017 – is optimistic of an improved relationship across Eastern Europe.

The 42-year-old also refused to stereotype Russian citizens during a testing time for his nation.

He added: “There are a lot of challenges in life. As for the current situation, it’s not between sportsmen; it is just with Russia and Ukraine.

“But as the consequence of this disagreement, human lives are being lost daily and there are foreign soldiers and equipment in the country.

“As for the athletes, it is sad but I wouldn’t blame the entire country. “They’re bad. Russians are bad.” That is not true. It’s not true of Ukrainians either.

“I just want to say that I’m an optimist. I really have a hope that the situation between Russia and Ukraine will be solved eventually. And it will be.”

Read the full Klitschko interview here

Joe Hewlett is lead writer for World Boxing News. Follow Joe on Twitter @Hewlett95