World Boxing Council Heavyweight Champion Vitali Klitschko has vacated his long held championship belt and retired from boxing at the age of 42. The Ukrainian is commonly seen as a first ballot Hall of Famer, as he has been dominant in defending the title 11 times and his only two defeats came on cut stoppages in fights he was ahead in. Along with his brother Wladimir, he has dominated the heavyweight scene since the retirement of Lennox Lewis and now leaves to join the fray that is Ukrainian politics.
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One interesting development will be if any of the sportbooks out there actually take odds on whether Klitschko can win the top job in the Ukraine. As a general observer, the fray he will be entering is much more dangerous than any of his recent boxing opponents. He has always been a winner however, and when his brother Wlad was winning Olympic gold, he was thrown off the team for using PEDs, so he will cut corners if needed, so political opponents beware as well.
What will be more interesting is what happens in the Heavyweight divisions. As he has been less active than his brother, he is basically ceding the number one spot in Heavyweigt boxing to his brother.
There have been calls, including calls by some respected people in the world of boxing, for the two brothers to fight. Now that it appears that this will never happen, it remains for a new set of fighters to define what the Heavyweight division will look like in the coming years. The WBC is looking at a tournament type of format to fill the vacated belt with such fighters as Bermane Stiverne, Chris Arreola and Deontay Wilder being mentioned.
Arreola is a bit of a re-tread and is coming off a loss to Stiverne, but when focused is still a talented Heavyweight. Stiverne is still a bit of an unknown but his win over Arreola has shot him into relevance. Wilder has an impressive 30-0 record and will be stepping up to bigger competition to go for the vacated belt.
Expect the big mouth of Tyson Fury to pop up as well as he tries to talk himself into a Heavyweight title.
But with Vitali out of the way, the world of Heavyweight boxing can say 1 down 1 to go, as we await the retirement of Wladimir. Maybe Vitali needs a VP?