Vitali Klitschko current WBC heavyweight World champion SIGNED after fight victory celebration 8" x 10" photo.
Condition mint (signed against dark background although clearly visible)
Vitali Klitschko; born 19 July 1971) is a Ukrainian heavyweight and the current WBC World heavyweight champion. He is also a leader of the political party Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform and a member of the Ukrainian delegation to the Congress of the Council of Europe. He previously held the WBO and WBC titles. Klitschko is the first professional boxing World champion to hold a Ph.D.
Klitschko is known for his powerful punches and exceptional chin. With 39 knockouts from 42 victories, he also holds the best knockout-to-fight ratio of any champion in heavyweight boxing history. He has never been knocked out or knocked down in any professional boxing bout. His two losses have come via a shoulder injury during a fight and a deep cut above his eye. His power and background as a Ph.D has led to his nickname, Dr. Ironfist.
Klitschko's younger brother, Wladimir Klitschko, is the current WBA, IBF, WBO, IBO and Ring Magazine World heavyweight champion. He was awarded Germany's highest civilian award, the Federal Cross of Merit, due to his varied accomplishments.
Originally Klitschko was an amateur kickboxer. In 1992 he was knocked out in the final of the European Kickboxing Championships +89 kg light contact division by Englishman Pelé Reid. In 1996 he turned professional and compiled a record of 34–1 with 22 knockouts. He was World champion six times (professional and amateur).
Klitschko won the super heavyweight championship at the first World Military Games in Italy in 1995. Vitali 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. In his autobiography, published in Germany in 2004, the boxer revealed that he tested positive for a banned steroid in 1996. He attributed the presence of the drug to treatment of a leg injury but was dismissed from the Ukranian boxing team and missed the Atlanta Olympics.
His brother Wladimir moved up from heavyweight to super-heavyweight to take his place in the squad. His amateur record was 195–15 with 80 knockouts.
Klitschko 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. He defeated Ed Mahone by knockout in the third round, and beat Obed Sullivan who retired after the ninth round.
Loss To Chris Byrd
By April 2000 Vitali Klitschko was one of the top stars in the heavyweight division, and a prime candidate to be the next undisputed champion. He had won all 27 of his contests by knockout. On April 1 Klitschko had a third title defence against the American Chris Byrd, who was a late replacement. Byrd made himself a difficult target, and tried to thwart Klitschko's offence by being elusive. Klitschko won most of the rounds and was heading towards a comprehensive points victory when he suffered a serious shoulder injury. After the ninth round Klitschko complained of shoulder pain and his corner threw in the towel, thus handing Klitschko his first defeat and awarding Byrd the win by knockout. At the time of the stoppage Klitschko had 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, and through no fault of his own it would take time for him to rebuild his image in the United States.
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 vs Lennox Lewis
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 Lewis, who had weighed in at his career heaviest for the fight, was breathing heavily after a few rounds. Both men traded big shots, and in the sixth Lewis got through with a hard uppercut. 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 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. After negotiations collapsed, Vitali defeated Kirk Johnson in WBC Eliminator bout on December 6th date, setting up a mandatory rematch with Lewis. Shortly thereafter, Lewis announced his retirement and vacated the title. For years after this fight, Klitschko would still occasionally call out Lewis, despite the fact that Lewis has been retired since early 2004, for a rematch.
WBC Heavyweight Champion
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 ultimately resolved in favour of the Klitschkos in November 2009.
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 WBC title defence 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.
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.
Return Bout Against Samuel Peter
On 3 August 2008, the WBC awarded Klitschko a chance to regain his WBC Heavyweight title. After Vitali's retirement his younger brother had established dominance in the division winning two of the four World titles available. The reigning WBC champion was Samuel Peter (who had lost a close decision to Wladimir in a thrilling fight in 2005) At the time there was interest in a potential Peter vs Wladimir unification match.
Instead Vitali took advantage of his champion emeritus status and secured a title challenge against Peter. The fight was arranged on 11 October 2008 at o2 World Berlin. It would be one of the most anticipated heavyweight fights in the past few years. Both men had a rightful claim to being the champion and the stakes for the future of the heavyweight division were high.
Despite some questioning Vitali's decision to return after four years, he managed to regain his title in dominating fashion.
Klitschko had Peter intimidated from the first round and stunned him with accurate hard punches. Klitschko kept the hard punching Nigerian off with an effective left jab and took control in the centre of the ring.
Over eight rounds Klitschko completely dismantled and outfought the younger champion. After the eighth round Peter slumped on his stool shook his head and asked that the bout be stopped. With the Sam Peter victory, Klitschko technically became one of the few men to ever hold a version of the World heavyweight championship three times, WBO (1999–2000), WBC (2004–2005) WBC (2008–Present). Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis, and Evander Holyfield won the major heavyweight titles three times defeating recognized World-class fighters, whilst Klitschko and Michael Moorer held split titles, particularly the WBO belt which was only established in 1989 and has been frequently contested by lesser boxers.
Neither Klitschko nor Moorer has ever been the undisputed champion, unlike Ali, Holyfield and Lewis.
Second Reign As WBC Champion
Since his comeback win over Samuel Peter, as of July 2011 Vitali Klitschko has defended his WBC heavyweight championship six times. Despite having a four year hiatus from the sport Vitali has proven to be a remarkably effective and dominant heavyweight champion once again. He has sought the best challengers available in an attempt to prove himself the best heavyweight in the World. Alongside his brother Wladimir, he also fights on for their shared ambition of holding all four heavyweight championship belts together, an ambition that was realised on the 2nd of July 2011 when brother Wladimir defeated David Haye to win the WBA heavyweight championship.
Klitschko vs Gomez
On 21 March 2009, Klitschko defeated Juan Carlos Gomez by TKO in the ninth round. Gomez tried to use his movement to thwart Vitali but seemed unable to cope with the power and physical strength of his opponent. As the rounds progressed Klitschko began imposing himself on Gomez more and more.
Gomez soon became wary of Klitschko's power, and also began to tire physically. By the sixth round Vitali was in total control. The end came when the referee stopped the fight in the ninth round as Gomez appeared unable to withstand any more hits.
Klitschko vs Arreola
On 26 September, Klitschko earned a one- sided TKO victory over Chris Arreola at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California when Arreola's trainer, Henry Ramirez, asked the referee to stop the fight. Arreola was considered at the time one of the division's hardest punchers; however, Klitschko kept Arreola at bay with his left jab and hit him almost at will with the right. Arreola had been influenced by Samuel Peter's defeat to Klitschko in 2008 in which Peter had tried to box from the outside. He therefore employed a gameplan which involved applying constant pressure to Vitali in order to force him into a high tempo fight. Despite his efforts the bout became one sided very quickly. Klitschko consistently proved himself faster, sharper and much fitter than Arreola.
Klitschko vs Johnson
On 12 December Vitali defeated Kevin Johnson by unanimous decision winning almost every round. Johnson, a skillful fighter, tried to negate Klitschko's strength with angles and head movement. Though he proved hard to hit he failed to launch any sustained attack of his own. After the Johnson bout, Klitschko's camp began negotiations for a potential fight with fomer WBA Champion Nikolai Valuev, but the match failed to materialise due to economic disagreements.
On 24 February 2010, Klitschko stated that 2010 will be his final year as a professional boxer. Klitschko then defended his WBC belt against Albert Sosnowski on May 29 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Klitschko won the fight by knockout in the 10th round, against a brave but limited opponent. With the fourth defence of his WBC crown, Vitali improved his record to 40–2, with 38 of his wins coming by knockout.
Klitschko vs Sosnowski
On May 29, 2010 Vitali Klitschko defeated Polish heavyweight contender Albert Sosnowski by KO at 2:30 in round 10 of 12 The fight took place at Veltins Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. Vitali Klitschko weighed in at 112kg (247 lbs), while Sosnowski weighed in at 110kg (242.5 lbs). This was Vitali's 4th defence of the WBC heavyweight title.
Klitschko vs Briggs
On 17 August 2010, it was announced that Klitschko would defend his WBC title against Shannon Briggs on 16 October of that year. Klitschko completely dismantled his challenger with superior hand speed. Briggs struggled to land any meaningful punches, as Klitschko won every round decisively. After a few rounds Briggs was receiving a vicious and sustained beating which caused him serious facial injuries. Considering the beating he was receiving there was some suggestion that the referee should have stopped the bout during the last few rounds.
Klitschko had retained his belt with official scores of 120–107, 120–105, and 120–107. During the post-fight interview, the American boxer said: “I’ve fought George Foreman, I’ve fought Lennox Lewis, and Vitali’s the best.” While Klitschko did not knock down Briggs, the latter collapsed after the fight and was hospitalized with facial fractures and a torn biceps.
Klitschko vs Solis
Klitschko's next fight was against mandatory challenger Odlanier Solis. The bout was tentatively scheduled for March 2011. On 11 January, it was officially confirmed that the fight between Klitschko and Solis was going to take place in Cologne, Germany on 19 March 2011. The fight lasted less than one whole round as a right hand to Solis's temple wobbled Solis, who then twisted his knee. Klitschko won by TKO.
Klitschko vs Tomasz Adamek
Klitschko is scheduled to defend his WBC Heavyweight title against Tomasz Adamek on 10 September 2011 in Poland.
Outside The Ring
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.
Klitschko began campaigning for mayor of Kiev shortly after his retirement in 2005. He lost the 2006 mayoral election to Leonid Chernovetskyi 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. 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 as a consultant for the campaign.
In 2008 he was also appointed to the Ukrainian delegation of the Congress of the Council of Europe.
Klitschko became the leader of the political party Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform in April 2010.
During the 2010 Ukrainian local elections the party won representatives in (Ukrainian) municipalities and Oblast Councils (regional parliaments).
His father, Vladimir Rodionovich Klitschko, was a Soviet Air Force Colonel. His mother is Nadezhda Ulyanovna. Klitschko is married to Natalia Egorova, a former athlete and model. They met in Kiev and got married in April 1996. He has three children, Yegor-Daniel, Elizabeth-Victoria and Max (named after the former World Heavyweight Champion Max Schmeling).
In 1996, he graduated from the Pereyaslav-Khmelnytsky 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.