|This article is missing information about the political activities of the Klitschko brothers. (December 2013)|
Vitali Klitschko (born 19 July 1971) and Wladimir Klitschko (born 25 March 1976), collectively known as the Klitschko brothers are Ukrainian heavyweight boxers. The older brother Vitali retired from boxing in 2013 and became a politician in his native Ukraine. After the retirement of boxing legend Lennox Lewis, the Klitschko brothers held all heavyweight boxing world titles. During their peak years from 2004 until 2015, the Klitschko brothers were considered the most dominant heavyweight champions of their era, and amongst the most successful champions in heavyweight boxing history.
Eventually, Vitali Klitschko retired from boxing in 2013 and is currently the mayor of Kiev in the Ukraine. Upon his retirement, Vitaly relinquished the WBC world heavyweight title. Wladimir Klitschko continued to successfully defend the WBA, IBF, WBO, The Ring and Lineal belts from 2013 to 2015.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Praise & Criticism
- 3 Timeline of Klitschkos' championship
- 4 Recognition
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Both brothers made their professional debut on November 6, 1996 in Hamburg. Since then both have been heavyweight world champions in boxing. They have stated they will never fight each other because of a promise they made to their mother.
1999-2003: First Title Belts & Defenses
In June 1999, Vitali Klitschko won the WBO Heavyweight title from Herbie Hide via second round knockout. He successfully defended the title twice before losing it to Chris Byrd. Six months later, younger brother Wladimir dethroned Byrd via lopsided points decision. He registered five successful title defenses, all by TKO until suffering an upset TKO loss to Corrie Sanders in March 2003. Vitaly Klitschko lost his fight with Lennox Lewis in his attempt to win the WBC, IBO, The Ring and Lineal Heavyweight Championships.
2004-2006: Second Title Reigns & Vitali's Retirement
Klitschko faced South African Corrie Sanders on 24 April 2004 for the WBC heavyweight championship and The Ring belts that had been vacated by Lewis. Vitali won by 8th round stoppage, he defended his titles just once, stopping Danny Williams in the 8th round before retiring in late 2005 due to injuries. Wladimir bounced back from a stoppage loss in a prior vacant title attempt, to dethrone Byrd for a second time for his IBF title in April 2006, this time by stoppage in the 7th round.
2008-2012: Heavyweight Title Co-Dominance
After a series of injuries, Vitali had a career break of almost four years. In his comeback fight in Berlin on October 11, 2008 he defeated Samuel Peter to regain the title of WBC world heavyweight champion. At that time Wladimir was already world heavyweight champion with the WBO, IBF and IBO. That was the first time in history with two brothers world champions at the same time. On July 2, 2011, Wladimir won the WBA Title, which means that the Klitschko brothers held all of the World Heavyweight Titles simultaneously for 2 years, 5 months & 13 days. Vitali retained the WBC Heavyweight Championship until 15 December 2013, relinquishing his belt in pursuit of his political aspirations in his native Ukraine.
The Klitschko brothers jointly run the professional boxing promotion companies "K2 Promotions" and "K2 East Promotions", as well as the "Klitschko Brothers Fund", a charity organization. They appear together on German TV shows and commercials, have a website shared between them, and support each other's training and fights.
2013-15: Wladimir Dominance
After Vitali's retirement, Wladimir continued to reign as champion & successfully defend all remaining title belts except for the WBC belt. He eventually lost all the belts in an upset to Tyson Fury. As of December 2015, they have a combined professional boxing record of 109 wins (94 KO's) and 6 defeats, including 45 world title fights.
Praise & Criticism
Both Klitschko brothers are considered the best heavyweight boxing champions of their era.
During his time as WBA champion, Vitali Klitschko was described as being the best of his time, and George Foreman stated that he has the best straight left left in the division.
Wladimir was unbeaten for a decade, and is considered by many to be one of the top 10 boxing heavyweights of all time. He has been heavily praised for his methodical victories, during which he nullifies opponents with his jab, before knocking opponents out with a straight right. His reign of over nine years as champion is second only to the reign of Joe Louis, who was champion for 11 years.
As a result of his careful boxing style however, he has often been criticized for being too boring, and harnessing a style that is far too strategic and not typical of most heavyweights. Given his large frame, Wladimir's liberal clinching techniques have been described as 'cheating', and a way of slowing down opponents. Unlike former heavyweight boxing champions, he prefers to keep opponents at a distance, meaning that he sustains as little damage as possible. UFC president Dana White has publicly stated numerous times that the Klitschko brothers, particularly Wladimir, are amongst the most boring boxers in the sport.
Timeline of Klitschkos' championship
- Asteroid 212723 Klitschko, which was discovered at Andrushivka in 2007, is named after Klitschko brothers.
- In 2010, "Klitschko" postage stamps were issued by Ukrposhta, the national postal service of Ukraine.
- Giant Klitschko Brothers Promised Mum Not To Fight Each Other, Bloomberg News, April 27, 2011
- Vitali Klitschko stops Peter by TKO to regain WBC title, USA today, October 12, 2008
- 2008, The Year The Klitschko Brothers Make Boxing History?, EastSideBoxing, 2008
- 212723 Klitschko at the JPL Small-Body Database
- Про введення в обіг поштової марки № 1047 "Кличко" – Севастопольська дирекція – Укрпошта, 3 June 2010. (in Ukrainian)