By: Sean Crose
“It is the love, the love for my city,” said former heavyweight titlist Wladimir Klitschko on Wednesday, “my home, my family, my neighbors, my daughter that has brought me here today, that I took this initiative and am now taking part in this territorial defense.” Kltischko, a citizen of the Ukraine who is the brother of Kyiv mayor (and fellow former heavyweight titlist) Vitali Klitschcko, was speaking on the fact that he has signed up with the Ukrainian reserve army. With tensions high between Ukraine and Russia, Kltischko felt the time was right to step up in order to possibly defend his country.
“One district from here,” he said, “my little girl is going to school. The school is currently closed because the ambassadors have sent the families home.” Frightening times. Indeed, it’s been announced that the US military will spend thousands of troops to to Europe due to the crisis. Speaking to CNBC, Klitschko said that “I signed up as a reserve for the territorial forces, for defending the city of Kiev.” The longtime king of the heavyweight division made it clear that he feels it’s Russia who is the aggressor in the conflict. “Because of everything that is currently going on around Ukraine,” he said, giving his reasons for signing up for military service. “The aggression from the Russian side.”
Klitschko went on to state he feels it’s time to act. “For weeks if not months, there have been reports on how serious this is,” he said. The 45 year old father one indicated he’s not interested in violence, suggesting that peace through strength is a possibility. “Before our enemies make an attack against Ukraine they have to see we are strong,” he says. “They have to see how strong we will be, it will be a very painful price for everyone.”
Boasting a record of 69-5, Klitschko was one of the longest reigning heavyweight champions in history. Although his popularity never proved to be contagious with American fans, he was clearly loved in Europe where he engaged in most of his title defenses. Possessing a stiff jab and thunderous power punching, he was dethroned by the younger Tyson Fury in 2015, before nearly reclaiming glory against Anthony Joshua in a classic 2017 battle that ultimately saw the younger Joshua emerge victorious.
Although his fighting days are over in the ring, the fighter known as Dr. Steelhammer now prepares for combat on a far larger and more consequential scale. “I can’t sit still,” he said, referring to the current time of crisis in Ukraine.
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