WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko has an unrivaled record of knocking out opponents, but appears to have undergone a baptism of fire in the no-holds-barred ring of Ukrainian politics.
Klitschko’s aptly-named UDAR (“Punch”) party is on course to send lawmakers to the Ukrainian parliament after Sunday’s legislative elections, a major breakthrough for a force seen as marginal only months before.
However, exit polls predict the party is still some way off its ambition of being the main challenger to the ruling Party of the Regions of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, with the party of jailed opposition leader and former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko set to take second.
“I had said that we had tremendous potential,” said Klitschko, who only fought his most recent title defense last month, on national TV after exit polls gave his party no more than 15 percent of the vote.
“We must still analyze everything: why we could have won more votes, but failed to do so."
Klitschko first became involved in local Kiev politics in 2006, gaining a seat on the city council and twice unsuccessfully running for the post of mayor. He founded the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR) party in 2010.