- Full name Vitali Klitschko
- Birth date July 19, 1971
- Birth place Belovodsk
- Current age 43 years 3 days
- Height 6 ft 7 in
Vitali Klitschko is one of only four boxers - after Lennox Lewis, Muhammad Ali and Evander Holyfield - to have won a heavyweight belt on three occasions.
Regaining these championships is no mean feat considering Klitschko's injury-plagued career. In April 2000 a torn shoulder tendon caused him to forfeit against Chris Byrd, in the process losing the WBO heavyweight championship he won ten months earlier from Herbie Hide.
Despite this injury necessitating a spell away from boxing, Klitschko's standing remained sufficiently high for him to earn another title bout. In 2003 Klitschko faced Lennox Lewis for the WBC heavyweight championship, and was ahead on the judges' scorecards when the fight was stopped due to a cut under the Ukranian's left eyebrow.
Even in defeat to Lewis, Klitschko's level of performance was accomplished enough to make another title shot inevitable. This came in April 2004, the Ukranian vanquishing Corrie Sanders with an eighth round knockout to gain the WBC belt.
Klitschko's joy was short-lived, however, as the familiar foe of injury reared its head again in 2005. A perennially postponed - due to the Ukranian's afflictions - fight against Hasim Rahman was eventually cancelled, with Klitschko deciding to retire as WBC champion in November of that year.
Eager to facilitate the Ukranian's return, the WBC allowed Klitschko to challenge the incumbent heavyweight champion whenever he decided to re-enter the ring. This came in October 2008, as Klitschko completed his third reclamation of a heavyweight belt by knocking out Samuel Peter.
Since then he has gone on to defend the title nine times, most recently with a TKO victory against Manuel Charr.
Career high: Returning from a three-year absence to win the WBC Heavyweight title in 2008
Career low: Injuries forcing him to relinquish a victorious position against Lennox Lewis in 2003
Quote: Prior to his fight against Hasim Rahman, Klitschko said: "I want to beat Hasim Rahman very much. His mouth and talk proves nothing to me. I think real fighters do not perform in the press, they perform in the ring."
Trivia: Klitschko began campaigning for mayor of Kiev shortly after his retirement. He lost the 2006 mayoral election to Leonid Chernovetsky but placed second with 26% of the vote.
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