Vitali Klitschko: the Greatest Heavyweight Champion of all Time – Pt 2
by Roman Kolaczek: As champion, Klitschko ducks nobody. His opponents are limited only to those contenders who are at the very top of the WBC rankings. Remarkably, Klitschko is a champion that is willing to fight on the road, to defend in his challenger’s hometown. He recently defended his title against Polish hero Tomasz Adamek in Wroclaw, in an arena filled by 44,000 pro-Adamek fans. As usual, Klitschko demolished his challenger in dominant fashion.
Klitschko’s performances in the ring are more than sufficiently impressive to rank him alongside history’s greatest heavyweight champions, and to argue that he could have beaten anyone who ever fought. Equally striking, however, are Klitschko’s accomplishments and behavior outside of the ring. It is very rare, perhaps even unprecedented, that a heavyweight champion has matched Klitschko’s achievements in the public arena.
The champion is not focused just on athletic achievement. He is also a concerned citizen, determined to give back to his community as much as nature gave him in athletic talent. Klitschko’s record as a politician serves as an example. In his homeland of Ukraine, Klitschko is fighting for civil rights, democracy, freedom of speech, and the rule of law. He is an outspoken critic of corrupt politicians and those who abuse government power. In this battle, Klitschko does not use his fists. Rather, he fights through the activity of the political party he founded: the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform.
Next year, Klitschko will run again for the position of mayor of Kiev. He knows that the odds are against him: twice so far he has run and lost. But still, Klitschko refuses to take a passive position against the corrupt and anti-democratic powerbrokers who continue to influence politics in Ukraine. Klitschko’s commitment to democracy and the rule of law are obvious from his actions. Just last summer, for example, he left his training camp in Austria to make an emergency trip to Ukraine in order to protest against the unjust imprisonment of former premier Yulia Tymoshenko. Given that the Adamek fight was only weeks away, it is amazing that Klitschko was willing to suspend his training at that time. Even more impressive is that, in publicly defending Tymoshenko, Klitschko knowingly risked being imprisoned himself on political charges. But just as Klitschko never runs from any boxing challenger, he does not shirk from threats in the political arena.
Klitschko’s courage in supporting Tymoshenko gave hope and confidence to those Ukrainians who are determined to promote political change in their country. They know that among their ranks is a fearless fighter: Dr. Iron Fist, Vitali Klitschko.
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