Vitali Klitschko vacates title, takes fight to political arena

By Mike Singer | CBSSports.com

Current WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko has vacated his title in order to concentrate on the political unrest in his native Ukraine.

Klitschko hasn't fought in fifteen months, but the World Boxing Council announced that should Klitschko ever want to return to the ring, he'd have a shot at the title as he was given “Champion Emeritus” status.

Despite the offer, it doesn't sound as if Klitschko, 42 and owner of a 45-2 career record with 41 knockouts, will fight again.

“I want to thank the WBC and its president, Don Jose Sulaiman, for the support in our fight for democracy and freedom in Ukraine,” he said. “It was and is a great honor to hold the WBC title, and I've always done it with pride. The offer of the WBC gives me the theoretical possibility to return to the boxing ring, which I cannot imagine at all to the current state.”

“Right now, my full concentration is on politics in Ukraine, and I feel that the people need me there,” he added.

Klitschko, as the leader of the political opposition group UDAR, has championed sweeping reforms against the current government in Ukraine. Namely, Klitschko is hoping to integrate Ukraine's policies to be more congruent with the European Union as opposed to those of Russia.

“Vitali Klitschko is fighting the fight of his life, outside of the ring,” WBC executive Mauricio Sulaiman said. “Vitali is showing to the world what is the true heart of a champion by leading his countrymen to battle in the streets in their search for human equality, rights and peace for the great country of Ukraine.”

“With the current extreme and delicate political situation in the Ukraine, Vitali has answered his country's call to fight for human rights and equality,” Sulaiman added, mentioning that Klitschko has the WBC's full support.

In late October, Klitschko, a member of Ukraine's parliament, announced that he would run for the Ukrainian Presidency in 2015.

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