By Jake Donovan
Injuries forced former heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko to pull out of several scheduled title fights during his career. Now, a heavy heart has forced the 42-year old to pull out of the 2015 presidential race in the Ukraine.
An announcement was made on Saturday, with reports from Reuters
circulating the globe that Klitschko is removing himself from the fold. An activist against unrest in the Ukraine, the former three-time heavyweight titlist was running for the UDAR (Ukrainian Democracy Alliance for Reform) party but has since chosen to throw his weight behind new candidate Petro Poroshenko, a billionaire candy owner known as the 'Chocolate King' and often referred to as Ukraine's Willy Wonka.
Poroshenko will now run against former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who announced her candidacy earlier in the week.
"The only chance of winning is to nominate one candidate from the democratic forces," Klitschko informed the UDAR party, according to a Reuters report.
Klitschko (45-2, 41KO) announced his retirement from boxing in 2013, but hasn't fought since scoring a 4th round knockout of previously Manuel Charr in Sept. '12. A pro boxer since Nov. '96, Klitschko held three separate heavyweight title reigns, two of which ended in retirement following already long gaps between fights.
His younger brother, Wladimir Klitschko remains the lineal heavyweight champion, a role he's honorably served since June '09, and having held at least one alphabet title without interruption since 2006.
The decision for the elder Klitschko retire came as a no-brainer, as his heart and mind were rightfully far more focused on fighting against civil unrest in the Ukraine.
The hulking former champion made the decision to run based on his passion for reform, along with reports suggesting his approval rating - which had already far exceeded that of president Vikor Yanukovych, who was voted out of office by Parliament earlier this year - made him the perfect candidate.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox