Vitali for president

Peter Cariño

Conrad M. Cariño

Vitali Klitschko  is so far the only heavyweight champion in boxing history to retire without hitting the canvas. While Vitali’s record shows 45 wins with 41 knockouts, and two losses coming by way of stoppage, the Ukrainian never really suffered a real knock out loss or knock down.

On April 1, 2000, Vitali failed to answer the bell for the ninth round after sustaining a shoulder injury, which resulted in a technical knockout win for his opponent Chris Byrd.

And on June 21, 2003, a nasty cut over Vitali’s right eye forced the stoppage of his bout against then champion Lennox Lewis, who was awarded a sixth round technical knockout win. Vitali was winning the fight on the scorecards and one wonders why the referee did not go to the scorecards earlier in the fight, which would have resulted in Vitali winning the bout and dethroning Lewis.

While Vitali has been criticized for not being “tested” like his younger brother Wladimir, it is hard to fault the Ukrainian giant because there is really no significant opposition in the heavyweight division today. And it is doubtful if the new generation of “superheavyweights” like Tyson Fury and David Price can even provide a real test for Vitali. Price even lost twice in a row via technical knockout to journeyman Tony Thompson, while Fury has been knocked down by former cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham.

Perhaps the only fighter who can test Vitali is his brother Wladimir, but the younger Klitschko does not have a sturdy chin and was stopped at least twice in the ring.

But the biggest fight Vitali faces today is rebuilding Uk–raine from the ruins of social strife that rocked the country in the past few months. As the leader of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform, and a member of his country’s parliament, Vitali is definitely presidential timber and his being the for–mer heavyweight champion of the world will def–initely carry some weight when the balloting starts. And at 42 years old, Vitali has a lot of years and options in the political arena in Ukraine.

Notably in 2005, Vitali became adviser to then-President Viktor Yushchenko, and was made full-time adviser in October 2006.

With a PhD in Physical Education and Sports, Vitali cannot be discounted as lacking intelligence to head Ukraine. And his typical off-ring image of wearing suits and never getting into controversies tidies up his image.

Ukraine is no backwater country, and even hosted many heavy industries that were once part of the military-industrial complex of the former Soviet Union. It was also in Kharkiv (or Karkov) that the T-34 tank was designed and manufactured in large numbers during World War 2. The largest aircraft in the world, the Antonov An-225 Mirya, is also a product of the Ukrainian aviation industry.

And guess what is Ukraine’s most popular international brand today? It’s Xado (pronounced ha-do), which offers a line of products to make old engines and transmissions run almost like brand new (I’ve tried Xado products and they really work).

With its heavy industries, Ukraine has the potential to become a major econo- mic power after BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

Knocking out opponents was easy for Vitali, but rebuilding Ukraine and making it a major economic power will definitely not be easy for the former heavyweight king. I wish Vitali all the luck in the world that he succeeds in his dream of making Ukraine a great country!


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