Vitali Klitschko, also known as "Dr. Ironfist," a professional boxer turned leader of the pro-Europe political uprising in Ukraine, has retired from fighting and forfeited his heavyweight title.
Klitschko was technically still an active fighter and the reigning heavyweight champion, despite not defending his belt since September of 2012. ESPN reports that Klitschko vacated his World Boxing Council (WBC) title on Monday to "focus on a career in Ukrainian politics." The Associated Press's Steve Wilson writes that "he doesn't envision fighting again," and since the champ is already in his early 40s, that's probably the end of his career as a pugilist.
As a reward for his fulfilling career, the WBC announced Klitschko will be a "heavyweight emeritus champion," for the rest of his life. A politician in the paper, a champion in his heart, but always a fighter.
As UDAR party leader, Klitschko met with U.S. Senator John McCain Saturday, who threatened sanctions for Ukraine if President Viktor Yanukovych — facing pressure from Klitschko and friends for turning down a political and economic agreement with the European Union in favor for increased relations with Russia — can't come to agreement with the pro-West factions. Over 200,000 people spent the weekend in Kiev's Independence Square advocating for renewed talks with the E.U., even as the E.U. backed away from an offer for fresh discussions.
Klitschko retires with a career record of 45-2 and had not lost a bout since 2003. Now that he's fighting in a new ring, here's a video showing what Klitschko used to do to his opponents:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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