Vitali Klitschko vacates WBC heavyweight title

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Updated: December 18, 2013
longtime WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko

WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko (45-2, 41 KOs) has decided to vacate his title in pursuit of running for Presidential in his native Ukraine. The 42-year-old Klitschko will be elevated to ‘Champion Emeritus’ status by the World Boxing Council and will be granted the right to challenge for his title, should he decide to resume his professional boxing career.

In the interim, the WBC has ordered a rematch between No.1-ranked Bernamane Stiverne and No. 2-ranked Chris Arreola to fulfill the vacancy.

If this is the end of the career of Vitali Klitschko, then is it was truly unbelievable.

At 6’ 7,” 245-pounds, Klitschko, wearing all-black with gold trimming to the sounds of AC/DC’s “Hell Bells,” would walk to the ring behind fancy lighting shows, flames, explosives, and video message for his opponent in the last five years. Klitschko has repeatedly pummeled and destroyed, pummeled and destroyed, pummeled and destroyed one heavyweight contender after another. It reached the point people began believing that Klitschko would be the WBC heavyweight champion forever. Vitali showed no signs of slowing down and did whatever he wanted to do inside the boxing ring. In recent years, Klitschko’s fights were progressively becoming too easy.

No one heavyweight can defeat Vitali Klitschko. No one!

That was the universal belief, and cultural acceptance within the boxing community. Klitschko hit too hard for his fights to even be remotely competitive, which is why people called him, “Dr. Iron Fist.”

Klitschko began his professional career in November 1996. Klitschko was 24-0, 24 KOs when he challenged Herbie Hide for the WBO heavyweight title in June 1999. Klitschko easily knocked Hide out in two rounds to win the first of three world heavyweight titles.

In his third title defense in April 2000, Klitschko, ahead on all three judges’ scorecards, surprisingly quit in his corner after nine rounds following a shoulder injury and lost his WBO title to Chris Byrd.

Klitschko knocked out his next five opponents within three years to earn an unexpected title shot against longtime WBC heavyweight champion, Lennox Lewis in June 2003. Klitschko-Lewis proved to be one of the best world heavyweight championship fights of all-time. Klitschko, at 6’ 7,” proved to be the 6’ 5,” Lewis’ greatest challenge. Klitschko withstood many of Lewis’ sharp right-hands. Klitschko repeatedly rocked Lewis with heavy shots of his own and had Lewis in grave danger of losing his championship. That was until Lewis busted Klitschko’s eye open with an overhand right that bloodied him very good. Klitschko was ahead on all three judges’ scorecards 58-56 until the fight was stopped after the sixth round.

The unexpected defeat to Lewis put Klitschko on the map as one of the best heavyweights on the planet. Klitschko pressured Lewis for a rematch that the world was eager to see, but Lewis, a three-time world heavyweight champion, ended his amazing career on a high not with a come-from-behind win over Klitschko.

An upset, but well-focused Klitschko brutally knocked out Kirk Johnson in two rounds at Madison Square Garden at the end of 2003 to become the WBC No. 1-ranked contender. Klitschko won the vacant WBC heavyweight title by avenging his younger brother’s 2003 loss to Corrie Sanders by beating him to a pulp through eight rounds.

In his first title defense, Klitschko brutally dominated Danny Williams. Klitschko, suffering from back and knee injuries, retired from boxing and was awarded WBC “Champion Emeritus” status for the first time in his career. Klitschko was free to fight to regain his title upon his return if he chose to,

Klitschko was absent from the sport for nearly 3 ½ years.

Klitschko returned in October 2008 to easily defeat Samuel Peter (TKO 8) to become a three-time heavyweight champion. Until his retirement this week, each Klitschko title defense became progressively easier. Juan Carlos Gomez, Chris Arreola, Kevin Johnson, Shannon Briggs, Albert Sosnowski, Odlandier Solis, Tomas Adamek, Derek Chisora, and Manuel Charr all had no answers for Klitschko.

Lamont Peterson defends junior welterweight title in January 2014

Lamont Peterson returns to defend his IBF junior welterweight title on Saturday, January 25, from the D.C. Armory in Washington, D.C. Peterson (31-2-1, 16 KOs) will face No 1.-ranked Dierry Jean (25-0, 17 KOs). SHOWTIME will televise the bout, along with Jermell Charlo (22-0, 11 KO’s) against Gabriel Rosado (21-7, 13 KOs) at 9 PM/ET.

“This is the perfect way for me to kick off 2014, with a great fight against a tough opponent in my hometown,” said Peterson. “Fights like these bring out the best in me and I’m going to give my fans a performance to remember on Jan. 25.”

In his last bout in May, Peterson was destroyed in a non-title fight by Lucas Matthysee inside three rounds. Peterson will be anxious to resume his career with a victory and somehow find a way to reestablish himself as a major player at 140 pounds. He will have a lot of momentum, as his last two significant victories were in Washington, D.C. against Amir Khan and Kendall Holt.

“Peterson has been in the ring with many good fighters, but he hasn’t been in the ring with me,” said Jean. “I’ve worked hard for this for a long time. I have already started training camp and I’m in great shape. I just want to bring that belt home to Quebec, where it belongs.”

Rosado, a tough kid from Philadelphia, will be given another big time opportunity to fight on national TV. Rosado gave WBO middleweight champion Peter Quillin a run for his money in October before being stopped in the tenth round on a cut. In January 2013, Rosado was stopped by WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golvkin. Rosado, if he wants another title fight, must crush the title hopes of the 23-year-old Charlo.

“I wanted another world title shot after my fight with Peter Quillin, but with that rematch not happening right now, I want to stay busy and keep sharp until my time comes,” said Rosado. “Charlo’s got talent, but he’s not ready to face someone with as much experience as I have. I am ready to go after my recent fight with Quillin.”

Tickets priced at $25, $50, $75, $150 and $250, plus applicable taxes, fees and services charges, go on sale Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 10 a.m. ET and available for purchase online at www.ticketmaster.com, Ticketmaster locations, or calling (800) 745-3000. The DC Armory Box Office will be open on fight night only from 3:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. ET.

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