Not long after Hall of Fame boxer and Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko set foot in the ring for the final time, he threw himself into the center of a heated uprising in Ukraine. The 50-year-old helped lead the November 2013 Euromaidan demonstrations in protest of Ukraine’s pro-Russian leadership’s refusal to sign an agreement with the European Union.
He became mayor of Kyiv the following year in 2014. As the Russian army closed in on Kyiv this week, the vocal anti-Putin major said he would take up arms against the invaders.
“I don’t have another choice,” Klitschko told “Good Morning Britain.” “I would fight.”
His younger brother and fellow Hall of Fame boxer, Wladimir Klitschko, vowed to do the same. He joined the Ukrainian military’s reserve forces earlier this month, and they have been called on to defend the capital.
Here’s what to know about the Ukrainian boxing legends who have pledged to defend their home country.
Who is Vitali Klitschko?
Vitali Klitschko is the mayor of Kyiv and a Hall of Fame boxer who competed in the heavyweight division from 1996 to 2012. He has served as Kyiv’s mayor since 2014 and was a member of the country’s parliament from 2012 to 2014.
Who is Wladimir Klitschko?
Wladimir Klitschko is a retired Hall of Fame boxer who competed as a heavyweight from 1996 to 2017. He holds the record for the longest continuous reign as heavyweight champion, holding multiple belts from 2006 to 2015 — nine years — before he lost to current undefeated heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. Wladimir also won gold in heavyweight boxing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
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Are the Klitschko brothers twins?
No, though they look strikingly similar, the brothers were born five years apart.
How old is Vitali Klitschko?
Vitali is 50 years old. He was born on July 19, 1971.
How old is Wladimir Klitschko?
Wladimir is 45 years old. He was born on March 25, 1976.
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Where was Vitali Klitschko born?
Vitali was born in Kyrgyzstan when the country was still part of the Soviet Union.
Where was Wladimir Klitschko born?
Wladimir was born in Semey, Kazakhstan when the country was part of the Soviet Union.
How tall are the Klitschko brothers?
Vitali is 6-feet-7 inches tall and Wladimir is 6-6, according to BoxRec.
How did Vitali Klitschko get started in politics?
His foray into politics began in 2006 during his boxing career when he unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Kyiv. He was instead elected to the city council that year. In 2012, he was elected to Ukraine’s parliament as a member of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform, which pushed to tie Ukraine closer to the West.
In early 2014, Klitschko ran for mayor of Kyiv, after walking back an announcement that he would run for president. He won in June 2014 and has served as Kyiv’s mayor and as the head of the Kyiv City State Administration since.
Which Klitschko brother was the better boxer?
Wladimir had a more accomplished career than his older brother. Vitali has a better record at 45 wins with only two losses, but Wladimir fought and beat more world champions. He retired in 2017 with a record of 64 victories and five defeats.
Together, the brothers dominated the heavyweight division during the mid-2000s to the early 2010s in what many refer to as the “Klitschko Era” in heavyweight boxing. The brothers, however, never faced off against each other in the ring.
Does Vitali Klitschko have a family?
Vitali married his wife, Natalia Klitschko, a famous Ukrainian singer, in 1996. They have three children together.
Is Wladimir Klitschko married?
Wladimir was briefly engaged to his ex-partner and American actress Hayden Panettiere, but the couple never married and split in 2018. They have a young daughter together. Wladimir was married to his ex-wife, Aleksandra, briefly from 1996 to 1998.
Does Wladimir Klitschko have a Ph.D.?
Yes, Wladimir earned a Ph.D.in sports science from the University of Hryhoji Skoworoda in 2002. His brother also holds a Ph.D. in sports science from the University of Kyiv.
What does Wladimir Klitschko do now?
Wladimir, a self-described entrepreneur, founded in 2016 an investment management firm called KLIWLA Family Office AG. He also runs and owns a number of businesses, including a hotel in Kyiv and K2 Promotions, a boxing promotion company he started with his brother.
Who is the Klitschko brothers’ father?
Their father was Wladimir Rodionovich Klitschko, a former colonel in the Soviet Union’s air force who helped respond to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986. I have died of cancer at 65 in 2011As ESPN writer Dan Rafael reported, Vitali shared in a documentary that doctors said the cancer was linked to radiation exposure from his time in Chernobyl.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism