By Tomi Pradarics
Earlier this month headlines aroused on sports sites based on some gossips about a scheduled ring return of Wladimir Klitschko. Even a name broke up in Dillian Whyte, a heavy-handed contender who is currently the mandatory challenger of reigning WBA/IBF/WBO/Ring unified champion Anthony Joshua.
The former long-time heavyweight ruler Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) quickly dismissed those whispers, labeling the whole story as ‘fake news’.
The plan of a bout against Whyte may seem to be an unlikely scenario in the event of a potential return to the squared circle by the Ukrainian legend, but words from influential journalist and senior writer of ringtv.com, Mike Coppinger suggests Klitschko indeed had negotiations with DAZN, an online sports streaming service that entered the boxing business like a typhoon last year, about a three-fight deal that would include blockbuster rematches with unbeaten stars Tyson Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) and Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs).
Alexander Krassyuk, General Director of K2 Promotions’ Ukrainian section and thus the leading businessman in the Klitschko brothers’ promotional outfit in the Ukraine, gave his words about the subject during a recent exclusive interview with Sergey Dolbilov in Kiev.
“I read his post on social media where he dismisses the rumors of a potential matchup against Dillian Whyte. As for the return of Wladimir, I have not heard about a serious decision from his side, however, I admit there is no smoke without fire. Many people in boxing and in sports, including journalists, are watching closely and perhaps wish for a return from Wladimir’s side. Having analyzed the whole situation from a distance, it seems to me that we have a chance to see this comeback really happening,” said Krassyuk before making sure a fight against Whyte is nothing special for the Ukrainian giant.
“It makes no sense for him to fight Dillian Whyte, whom he knows very well, as the British fighter used to be a sparring partner of his for a long time.”
Instead, the only bouts that could bring Klitschko back are the ones he slipped in the later stages of his highly successful professional run, according to Krassyuk.
“We do not need to think too hard to realize what kind of opponents could be interesting to him. We have two names on the table for sure. One of them is Tyson Fury, and the other is Anthony Joshua. Back then when Wladimir was set to have revenge against Fury [in 2015], the fight plans fell apart as Tyson had problems that ultimately led him leaving the dance floor. Later, he came back and now is having great success. My gut says this could be one of the potential fights [that motivates Klitschko to return to the ring].”
The Ukrainian pugilist was scheduled to tie an illustrious heavyweight record in having the most win in world title fights when he met Fury in November 2015. The record was set by American legend Joe Louis over sixty years ago with 26 victories while Klitschko stood at 25 at the time. The British contender, however, proved to be too mobile and awkward for Wladimir and caused a major upset in winning a clear unanimous decision over the then WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO world champion. The targeted rematch between the two never happened as Fury got injured and later decided to turn his back to the sport because of mental issues.
Klitschko ended up taking on then IBF titlist Joshua in what turned out to be an instant classic in April 2017. The Ukrainian got floored in round five but came back to drop hard his unbeaten but inexperienced foe in round six. The former king of the division lost momentum later and ultimately got stopped after two more knockdowns in the penultimate round. Klitschko announced his retirement from boxing months later.
An eventual comeback from Klitschko would surely shake things up in an already exciting heavyweight division.
You can reach Tomi Pradarics at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @TomiPradarics