EXCLUSIVE: Klitschko brothers without doubt all-time Top 10, says Bernd Boente
As Wladimir Klitschko awaits his inevitable place in the International Boxing Hall of Fame, his placed in history is assured.
Reigning as a dominant heavyweight force for a decade until dethroned by Tyson Fury, Wladimir and his three-time world title holder brother Vitali are deservedly royalty in the sport.
Long-time manager and current Klitschko Management Group CEO Bernd Boente is certain the pair should be mentioned at the very summit of the historical top division argument.
“Both belong without any doubt into to the top ten. Vitali was just inducted into the Hall of Fame and Wladimir is going to join him for sure within five years,” Boente exclusively told World Boxing News.
“They have definitely made their dreams come true. They both became world heavyweight champions at the same time, which is unprecedented.
“Also, with Wladimir’s win against David Haye, they unified all major belts under the name Klitschko.
“What an unbelievable achievement and I’m very proud. I’m also very grateful that I was part of Team Klitschko when Vitali and Wladimir made boxing history,” he added.
Speaking about their remarkable achievements, Boente remembers their careers fondly.
“Being ringside, my most memorable fights were Wladimir ‘s thrilling first bout with Samuel Peter in 2005. And then the next year winning back the world championship against Chris Byrd,” said Boente.
“I also look back at our first fight in a soccer stadium in 2009 in front of 61.000 fans against Ruslan Chagaev with pride and in 2011 the successful unification against David Haye.
“Oh, and let’s not to forget Wladimir‘s memorable last fight at Wembley Stadium against AJ.”
That entertaining reverse against Joshua at the English National venue marked a fitting end to Wladimir’s career. The two-time world champion went hell-for-leather with a young, hungry champion and almost became the first to defeat the Londoner.
Boente sees the baton now firmly passed to Joshua but could not totally rule out a Wladimir return.
“Anthony Joshua is a worthy successor and an outstanding personality. I really hope that he stays champion for many more years. The heavyweight division is the flagship of boxing and AJ is great for our sport,” he stated.
“Being with Wladimir and the team in the locker room after the fight I can tell you that he was deeply disappointed. At the same time, we all knew that Wladimir had been part of one of the best heavyweight fights ever.
“Wladimir is very busy with many different projects outside of boxing like advising companies, associations and societies on all topics related to Challenge Management and the development of new business models and products. One good example is his cooperation with the University St.Gallen in Switzerland.
“(A comeback? – You can) Never say never but at this moment I can‘t see any reason why Wladimir should come back,” he added.
Similarly, with Vitali, Boente feels privileged to have been their every step of the way.
“Sadly, Vitali had to retire in 2005 because of his many injuries and I was ringside at many of his outstanding performances e.g. the fights against Lennox Lewis, Corrie Sanders or Chris Areola,” he pointed out.
“But my standout moment was his terrific comeback in Berlin in 2008, almost four years after his last fight against then WBC champion Samuel Peter. He totally destroyed Peter and I will never forget Don King’s face becoming longer and longer during the fight.”
Vitali walked away from the ring in 2012 but Boente still wonders what might have been ten years earlier after a controversial loss to Lennox Lewis.
“I think Vitali had won that (first) fight. Lennox is one of the best heavyweight champions in history but his best times were over and Vitali was at his peak. He would have won the rematch,” Boente predicted.
Concluding on Vitali’s move into politics as Mayor of Kiev, Boente revealed he always saw that move coming.
“I have a Master’s Degree in politics and history, so when Vitali and I travelled together or were in camp most of the time we didn’t discuss boxing but different topics of German, Ukrainian or international politics. Therefore, I was never surprised about his step into politics.
“I really hope that one day Vitali becomes President of Ukraine. He is unbiased, financially independent and therefore immune to corruption and he has great international relations and an excellent reputation.
“And most important the former boxing champion is now a dedicated fighter for democracy,” he added.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay