|Role Mayor of Kiev|
Preceded by Volodymyr Bondarenko
Height 2.01 m
|Religion Ukrainian Orthodoxy|
Siblings Wladimir Klitschko
Name Vitali Klitschko
|Full Name Vitali Volodymyrovych Klychko|
Born 19 July 1971 (age 44) Belovodskoye, Kirghiz SSR, Soviet Union (1971-07-19)
Political party Petro Poroshenko Bloc (2015–) Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (2010–2015)
Children Yegor-Daniel Elizabeth-Victoria Max
Alma mater Pereiaslav-Khmelnytsky Pedagogical Institute Taras Shevchenko National University Kyiv University of Physical Science and Sports
Spouse Natalia Klitschko (m. 1996)
Parents Vladimir Rodionovich Klitschko, Nadezhda Ulyanovna Klitschko
Organizations founded Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform
Similar People Wladimir Klitschko, Tyson Fury, Natalia Klitschko, Hayden Panettiere, Deontay Wilder
Preceded by Halyna Hereha (Acting)
Knockout wisdom pearls from kiev mayor ex boxing champ vitali klitschko
Vitali Volodymyrovych Klitschko (; Ukrainian: Віта́лій Володи́мирович Кличко́, [ʋiˈtɑʎiɪ̯ klɪtʃˈkɔ]; born 19 July 1971) is a Ukrainian politician and former professional boxer. He currently serves as Mayor of Kiev and head of the Kiev City State Administration, having held both offices since June 2014. Klitschko is a former leader of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc and a former Member of the Ukrainian Parliament. He became actively involved in Ukrainian politics in 2005 and combined this with his professional boxing career until his retirement from the sport in mid-December 2013.
- Knockout wisdom pearls from kiev mayor ex boxing champ vitali klitschko
- Exclusive: Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko on ending the Ukraine conflict
- Kickboxing and amateur boxing career (1985–1996)
- Professional boxing career (1996–2013)
- Klitschko vs. Hide: First Heavyweight title
- Klitschko vs. Byrd
- Klitschko vs. Lennox Lewis
- Klitschko vs. Sanders: second heavyweight title
- Klitschko vs. Williams
- 2005–2007 retirement
- Klitschko vs. Peter: third heavyweight title
- Klitschko vs. Gómez, Arreola and Johnson
- Klitschko vs. Sosnowski, Briggs and Solis
- Klitschko vs. Adamek, Chisora and Charr
- Stepping back from boxing
- Political career (since 2005)
- Political positions
- Personal life
As a boxer, Klitschko is a three-time world heavyweight champion, and has the third longest combined world championship reign in history. He held the WBO title from 1999 to 2000; the Ring magazine title from 2004 to 2005; and the WBC title twice, from 2004 to 2005 and from 2008 to 2013. Standing at 2.01 metres (6 feet 7 inches), Klitschko was renowned for having exceptional ring dominance. With an 87.23% knockout percentage, he holds one of the best knockout-to-fight ratio of any world champion in heavyweight boxing history, while also possessing a highly durable chin. His two losses came via a shoulder injury and a deep cut above his eye, both of which were recorded as stoppages rather than outright knockouts; in both fights he was leading on the judges' scorecards.
Klitschko is the only heavyweight boxer to receive the WBC honour of "Eternal champion", as he has never lost the title and successfully defended it ten times. He is also the only world heavyweight champion to have never been knocked down in any fight. Alongside George Foreman he is the only heavyweight boxer in history to defend a world title after turning 40. Being the first professional boxing world champion to hold a PhD degree, and in reference to his punching power, Klitschko's nickname was "Dr. Ironfist". His younger brother, Wladimir, is a former unified world heavyweight champion. From 2006 until 2015, Vitali and Wladimir dominated heavyweight boxing, a period typically known as the "Klitschko Era" of the division.
Klitschko formally began his political career in 2006 when he placed second in the Kiev mayoral race. In 2010, he founded the party Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR) and was elected into parliament for this party in 2012. He was a leading figure in the 2013–2014 Euromaidan protests, and he announced his possible candidacy for the Ukrainian presidency but later withdrew and endorsed Petro Poroshenko. He was elected Mayor of Kiev on 25 May 2014. Klitschko headed the election list of the winner of the 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election, the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, but he gave up his parliamentary seat to stay on as Mayor of Kiev. On 28 August 2015 the UDAR party merged into Petro Poroshenko Bloc. Klitschko thus became the new party leader. Klitschko was reelected as mayor on 15 November 2015.
Exclusive: Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko on ending the Ukraine conflict
Kickboxing and amateur boxing career (1985–1996)
Originally, Klitschko was an amateur kickboxer with a record of 34–2 with 22 knockouts .
1995 Super Heavyweight Gold Medalist at the Military World Championships in Ariccia, Italy. Results:
In 1996, he turned professional and compiled a record of 34–2 with 22 knockouts. He was a world champion six times (professional and amateur).
Professional boxing career (1996–2013)
As an amateur, Klitschko won the super-heavyweight championship at the first World Military Games in Italy in 1995. In the same year he won a silver medal at the World Championships in Berlin, Germany, where he was defeated by Russia's Alexei Lezin in the final. In his autobiography, published in Germany in 2004, the boxer revealed that he tested positive for a banned steroid in 1996. He attributed the presence of the drug to treatment of a leg injury, but was dismissed from the Ukrainian boxing team and missed the Atlanta Olympics. His brother Wladimir moved up from heavyweight to super heavyweight to take his place in the squad and won the Olympic gold medal. His amateur record was 195–15 with 80 knockouts.
Klitschko vs. Hide: First Heavyweight title
Klitschko began his professional boxing career in 1996, winning his first twenty-four fights by either early knockout or technical knockout. He and Wladimir signed with the German athlete-promotion company Universum. With both brothers holding PhDs and being multilingual, their refined and articulate personalities made for mainstream marketability when they moved to Germany and Universum. In time, they became national celebrities in their adopted home country. In his 25th pro fight on 26 June 1999, Klitschko won the WBO Heavyweight title from Herbie Hide of the United Kingdom by a second-round knockout. He successfully defended the title twice. He defeated Ed Mahone by knockout in the third round and beat Obed Sullivan, who retired after the ninth round.
Klitschko vs. Byrd
By April 2000 Vitali Klitschko was unbeaten and a rising star in the heavyweight division, having won all 27 of his contests by knockout. On 1 April, Klitschko had a third title defense against the American Chris Byrd, who was a late replacement. Byrd made himself a difficult target and tried to thwart Klitschko's offense by being elusive. Klitschko won most of the rounds and was heading towards a comprehensive points victory when he suffered a serious shoulder injury. After the ninth round, Klitschko notified his corner that he had a shoulder pain and threw in the towel, thus handing Klitschko his first defeat and awarding Byrd the win by RTD. At the time of the stoppage, Klitschko had won 8 of 9 rounds on one judge's scorecard, and 7 of 9 on the two others. Klitschko, who was later diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff, received much criticism for quitting the fight. Klitschko rebounded from his loss to Byrd by reeling off five victories in a row, earning himself a shot at WBC Heavyweight Champion Lennox Lewis.
Klitschko vs. Lennox Lewis
The fight between Lewis and Klitschko was to take place in December 2003, and Klitschko signed for a tune-up fight on 21 June 2003 as part of the undercard of Lewis' fight with Kirk Johnson for the IBO title, as the WBC would not sanction the fight for their title. Johnson, however, pulled out of the fight due to injury and Klitschko, due to his being in training for a fight on the same day as Lewis, took the fight on short notice. Immediately after he accepted, the WBC elected to sanction the fight as a title match and Lewis' The Ring title was also up for grabs in addition to his lineal title.
Klitschko, a 4–1 underdog, dominated the early going with many harder punches. He stunned Lewis in the second round with two hard rights, leaving a cut under on Lennox's left eye. In the third, Lewis landed a big right hand that opened a deep cut above Klitschko's left eye. Before the seventh round, the ringside doctor inspected the wound and deemed it severe enough to threaten eye damage if struck again, stopping the fight despite Klitschko's pleas to continue. Klitschko was ahead on all three judges' scorecards 58–56 (4 rounds to 2) at the time of the stoppage, but because the wound was a result of punches from Lewis, Lewis won by technical knockout.
Negotiations for a 6 December rematch began. After negotiations collapsed, Vitali defeated Kirk Johnson in a WBC Eliminator bout on 6 December date, setting up a mandatory rematch with Lewis. In January 2004, the WBC announced that it would strip Lewis of the belt if he let pass a 15 March deadline to sign for a rematch with Vitali. Shortly thereafter, Lewis announced his retirement and vacated the title. For years after this fight, Klitschko would still occasionally call out Lewis, despite the fact that Lewis has been retired since early 2004, for a rematch.
Around this time the Klitschko brothers moved from Hamburg, Germany to Los Angeles. In January 2004 they notified Universum that they would not re-sign when their contracts expired in April. Universum sued the brothers, arguing that their recent injuries had triggered a clause binding them beyond April. The suit was ultimately resolved in favor of the Klitschkos in November 2009.
Klitschko vs. Sanders: second heavyweight title
Klitschko faced South African Corrie Sanders on 24 April 2004 for the WBC heavyweight championship and The Ring belts that had been vacated by Lewis. Sanders had stopped younger brother Wladimir in the second round (TKO) on 8 March 2003. Klitschko was rocked in round one by Sanders, but by using upper-body movement and accurate punching he broke down Sanders, forcing referee Jon Schorle to stop the bout. Vitali landed 60% of his power punches.
Klitschko vs. Williams
Klitschko's first WBC title defense was against British boxer Danny Williams. Williams had become suddenly marketable from a KO over Mike Tyson in round 4. Klitschko scored a technical knockout against Williams in 8 rounds on 11 December 2004, while wearing an orange cloth to show support for the Ukrainian presidential opposition movement. Klitschko knocked Williams down in the 1st, 3rd, 7th, and 8th rounds before the fight was stopped. Immediately afterward, Klitschko dedicated his victory to democracy in his native Ukraine and also to the Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko, whom he supported in 26 December 2004, election revote.
On 9 November 2005, Klitschko announced his retirement from professional boxing and vacated his title. He had been training to fight Hasim Rahman, however, nine days before the fight, he injured his leg while sparring. He snapped his anterior cruciate ligament, which with surgery would take up to a year to heal and possibly prove career ending. To avoid keeping the title out of use he retired. The WBC was grateful for his consideration. On other occasions he cited regrets about his suddenly mounting injuries, a desire to leave the sport while still on top and political aspirations in his home country of Ukraine. Following his retirement, the WBC conferred "champion emeritus" status on Klitschko, and assured him he would become the mandatory challenger if and when he decided to return.
Klitschko vs. Peter: third heavyweight title
On 3 August 2008 the WBC awarded Klitschko a chance to regain his WBC Heavyweight title. After Vitali's retirement, his younger brother had established dominance in the division, winning two of the four world titles available. The reigning WBC Champion was Samuel Peter (who had lost a decision to Wladimir in a thrilling fight in 2005). At the time, there was interest in a potential Peter vs. Wladimir unification match. Instead, Vitali took advantage of his champion emeritus status and secured a title challenge against Peter. The fight was arranged on 11 October 2008 at O2 World, Berlin. It would be one of the most anticipated heavyweight fights in the past few years. Both men had a rightful claim to being the champion and the stakes for the future of the heavyweight division were high. Despite some questioning Vitali's decision to return after four years, he managed to regain his title in dominating fashion. Klitschko had Peter intimidated from the first round and stunned him with accurate hard punches. Klitschko kept the hard-punching Nigerian off with an effective left jab and took control in the center of the ring. Over eight rounds, Klitschko completely dismantled and outfought the younger champion. After the eighth round, Peter slumped on his stool, shook his head and asked that the bout be stopped. With the Samuel Peter victory, Klitschko technically became one of the few men to ever hold a version of the World Heavyweight Championship three times – WBO (1999–2000), WBC (2004–2005) and WBC (2008–2012).
Klitschko vs. Gómez, Arreola and Johnson
On 21 March 2009, Klitschko defeated Juan Carlos Gómez by TKO in the ninth round. Gómez tried to use his movement to thwart Vitali, but seemed unable to cope with the power and physical strength of his opponent. As the rounds progressed, Klitschko began imposing himself on Gómez more and more. Gómez soon became wary of Klitschko's power and also began to tire physically. By the sixth round, Vitali was in total control. The end came when the referee stopped the fight in the ninth round as Gómez appeared unable to withstand any more hits.
On 26 September, Klitschko earned a one-sided TKO victory over Chris Arreola at the Staples Center in Los Angeles when Arreola's trainer, Henry Ramirez, asked the referee to stop the fight. Arreola was considered at the time one of the division's hardest punchers; however, Klitschko kept Arreola at bay with his left jab and hit him almost at will with his right. Arreola had been influenced by Samuel Peter's defeat to Klitschko in 2008, in which Peter had tried to box from the outside. He therefore employed a game-plan which involved applying constant pressure to Vitali in order to force him into a high tempo fight. Despite his best efforts, the bout became one sided very quickly. Klitschko consistently proved himself faster, sharper and much fitter than Arreola.
On 12 December, Vitali defeated Kevin Johnson by unanimous decision, winning almost every round. Johnson, a skillful fighter, tried to negate Klitschko's strength with angles and head movement. Though he proved hard to hit, he failed to launch any sustained attack of his own. After the Johnson bout, Klitschko's camp began negotiations for a potential fight with former WBA Champion Nikolai Valuev, but the match failed to materialize due to economic disagreements.
Klitschko vs. Sosnowski, Briggs and Solis
On 29 May 2010, Vitali Klitschko defeated Polish heavyweight contender Albert Sosnowski by KO at 2:30 in round 10 of 12. Sosnowski was knocked down by a right hand in the 10th round, prompting referee Jay Nady to immediately wave off the fight. The fight took place at Veltins Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany.
Vitali Klitschko weighed in at 112 kg (247 lbs), while Sosnowski weighed in at 110 kg (242.5 lbs). This voluntary defense was Vitali's 4th defense of the WBC Heavyweight title. Sosnowski was the No. 11 ranked heavyweight according to the WBC prior to this bout.
On 17 August 2010, it was announced that Klitschko would defend his WBC title against Shannon Briggs on 16 October of that year. Klitschko completely dismantled his challenger with superior hand speed. Briggs struggled to land any meaningful punches, as Klitschko won every round decisively. After a few rounds, Briggs was receiving a vicious and sustained beating which caused him serious facial injuries. Considering the beating he was receiving, there was some suggestion that the referee should have stopped the bout during the last few rounds. Klitschko had retained his belt with official scores of 120–107, 120–105, and 120–107.
During the post-fight interview, the American boxer Briggs said: “I’ve fought George Foreman, I’ve fought Lennox Lewis, and Vitali’s the best.” While Klitschko did not knock down Briggs, the latter collapsed after the fight and was hospitalized with facial fractures and a torn biceps.
Klitschko's next fight was against mandatory challenger Odlanier Solis. The bout was tentatively scheduled for March 2011. On 11 January, it was officially confirmed that the fight between Klitschko and Solis was going to take place in Cologne, Germany on 19 March 2011. The fight lasted less than one whole round, as a right hand to Solis's temple wobbled Solis, who then twisted his knee. Klitschko won by KO.
Klitschko vs. Adamek, Chisora and Charr
Now aged 40, Klitschko retained his WBC heavyweight title against Tomasz Adamek on 10 September 2011 in Poland, winning by TKO in the 10th round. The referee stopped the bout after Adamek received punishing blows and was ruled out, as he was no longer able to defend himself.
After turning 41 on 19 July 2012, Vitali became one of the oldest Heavyweight Champions in history. Despite having a four-year hiatus from the sport, Vitali has proven to be a remarkably effective and dominant Heavyweight Champion once again. Alongside his brother Wladimir, he also fights on for their shared ambition of holding all four Heavyweight Championship belts together, an ambition that was realised on 2 July 2011 when brother Wladimir defeated David Haye to win the WBA Heavyweight Championship.
In January 2012, he was awarded WBC Fighter of the Year for 2011. Klitschko was in negotiations for a possible bout with former WBA Heavyweight title holder David Haye on 3 March 2012.
After Wladimir Klitschko had to cancel his fight with Jean-Marc Mormeck, it was thought that Vitali was likely to fight on 25 February 2012. Sources in Germany reported that he was likely to fight British contender Dereck Chisora on 18 February 2012 in Olympiahalle, Munich, Bayern.
It was confirmed on 12 December 2011 that Dereck Chisora would be Vitali Klitschko's next opponent. Vitali Klitschko retained his WBC Championship belt unanimously in a dominant display in Munich. The fight was fought against a backdrop of antagonism displayed by the contender Dereck Chisora at the weigh in. Chisora slapped Klitschko across the face causing a red mark to be left. The next day Chisora spat water over the face of Vitali's brother Wladimir.
Vitali won the majority of the rounds boxing a disciplined fight with changing angles and superior footwork. Chisora, constantly coming forward delivering punishing body shots, failed to wear down the older man. The scores were: 118–110, 118–110, and 119–111. The next day Vitali visited a hospital to check his shoulder, claiming he injured it in the fight. A doctor confirmed a ligament tear was suffered in his left shoulder. Klitschko said he "suddenly lost strength in the left hand" and was forced to only use his right. The injury was believed to have happened in the second or third round. Klitschko's trainer, Fritz Zdunek, believes this is the same kind of injury Vitali suffered in his fight with Byrd.
At the post-fight press conference, a brawl ensued between Haye and Chisora. After the altercation, Chisora challenged Haye to a fight in the ring and said, "I am going to shoot David Haye." Chisora was later arrested at a German airport along with his coach, Don Charles. His comments and actions were later condemned by Frank Warren, his promoter, and Wladimir Klitschko.
On 2 July 2012, it was announced that Vitali Klitschko will defend his WBC Heavyweight title on 8 September at the Olympic Indoor Arena in Moscow, Russia. His opponent for the fight was the then undefeated Manuel Charr 21–0 (11 KO). Klitschko won the fight via technical knockout when Charr had to be stopped due to a cut received from Vitali's punches.
Klitschko was expected to face Bermane Stiverne in a mandatory title defense, but was forced to pull out due to injury.
Stepping back from boxing
On 15 December 2013, Vitali Klitschko stepped back from boxing. He was announced champion emeritus, which means that if he wants to return to boxing, he can fight the WBC Heavyweight Champion without having any fights beforehand. But (right after his retirement from boxing), Klitschko stated "That is something I currently cannot imagine". The WBC title was vacated and later contested by Chris Arreola and Bermane Stiverne. Commenting on his decision, he stated "My focus is on politics in Ukraine and I feel the people there need me". He also added, "I thank the WBC and its president Jose Sulaiman for the support in our battle for democracy and freedom in Ukraine". Since his retirement, he has maintained a low key level of training and has been in his brother's corner for most fights, most famously when he had an altercation with Anthony Joshua after Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko.
Political career (since 2005)
During the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election and the following Orange Revolution, the Klitschko brothers openly supported the candidacy of Viktor Yushchenko. In 2005, (Vitali) Klitschko was appointed an adviser to President Yushchenko. In October 2006, he was promoted to full-time adviser.
Klitschko began campaigning for Mayor of Kiev shortly after his retirement in 2005. He lost the 2006 mayoral election to Leonid Chernovetskyi but placed second with 26% of the vote, ahead of the incumbent Oleksandr Omelchenko Klitschko campaigned on an anti-corruption platform and lead the bloc "Civic party" PORA-ROP (the parties PORA and Reforms and Order Party) in the simultaneously held local elections for the Kyiv City Council. Analysts stated his relatively late entry into the campaign might have cost him votes. Still, Klitschko was elected as a people's deputy to the Kyiv City Council since "Civic party" PORA-ROP won 14 seats in the 2006 election.
In the May 2008 Kyiv local election, he ran again and won 18% of the vote. Klitschko simultaneously led the Vitaliy Klychko Bloc that won 10.61% of the votes and 15 seats and again, he was elected into the Kyiv City Council. His campaign hired Rudy Giuliani as a consultant for the campaign. In 2008, he was also appointed to the Ukrainian delegation of the Congress of the Council of Europe.
Klitschko became the leader of the political party Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR) in April 2010. During the 2010 Ukrainian local elections, the party won representatives in (Ukrainian) municipalities and Oblast Councils (regional parliaments).
Klitscho and UDAR became a partner of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany in November 2011. UDAR is supported by the German government and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and received support in particular from Angela Merkel and also politicians from the conservative European People's Party. According to information gained by the German magazine Der Spiegel, the target was to "set up Klitschko purposefully as a new strong man in Kiev – in order to counter this way the Kremlin's growing influence". Support consisted in logistics, training and joint performances. Assistance was also promised by Christoph Heusgen, Ronald Pofalla and Guido Westerwelle.
In October 2011, Klitschko announced that he would run in the 2012 Kiev mayoral election.
During the 2012 Ukrainian parliamentary election, Klitschko was elected (he was top candidate on UDAR's party list) into the Ukrainian parliament; when his party won 40 seats. Klitschko was chosen the leader of the party's faction in Parliament.
Klitschko announced on 24 October 2013 that he intended to take part in the next Ukrainian presidential election that was then set for 2015. Experts and lawyers then argued that it was unclear if Klitschko could take part in these elections. Under Ukrainian law, a presidential candidate must have had his residence in Ukraine for the past ten years prior to election day; and Klitschko had lived for many years in Ukraine and Germany, where, according to media reports, he has a residence permit. Opinion polls since early 2011 showed that the predicted percentage of votes that Klitschko would gain in the first round of the 2014 Ukrainian presidential election enlarged from 4.8% in December 2011 to 15.1% in February 2013, and an October 2013 Razumkov Centre poll predicted 19.3%.
Klitschko was one of the dominant figures of the Euromaidan protests. During these protests, he retired from boxing. He confirmed on 28 February 2014 that he would take part in the (early) 2014 Ukrainian presidential election. But on 29 March 2014 announced that he had changed his mind and would run for the post of Mayor of Kiev in the 2014 Kiev local election (including Mayoral elections) set for 25 May 2014. In the 2014 Ukrainian presidential election Klitschko endorsed the candidacy of Petro Poroshenko. Klitschko won Kiev's mayoral elections with almost 57% of the votes. He was sworn in as mayor on 5 June 2014. The same day the Ukrainian parliament had deprived Klitschko of his MP mandate (Ukrainian MPs are not entitled to combine parliamentary activities with any other public employment). Poroshenko was elected President of Ukraine on 25 May 2014.
Poroshenko appointed Klitschko as head of Kiev City State Administration on 25 June 2014.
Klitschko headed the election list of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc in the late October 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election, but he vowed not to resign as Mayor of Kiev. On 21 November 2014 Klitschko gave up his seat in the new parliament. Petro Poroshenko Bloc won the election with 132 seats.
On 28 August 2015 the UDAR merged into Petro Poroshenko Bloc. Klitschko became the new party leader.
In the 2015 Kiev Mayoral election Klitschko was reelected with 66.5% of vote. For this he needed a second round of Mayoral elections between him and Boryslav Bereza after incumbent Klitschko scored 40.5% of the vote and Bereza 8.8% in the first round. (Bereza gained 33.51% of the vote in the second round of Mayoral elections.)
Klitschko resigned as Petro Poroshenko Bloc chairman (on 26 May) after a new law barring a head of administration to be chairman or a member of a political party took effect on 1 May 2016.
Klitschko is in favor of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union. He sees the European Union as Ukraine's "model for [Ukraine's] future political and economic development." He believes former President Viktor Yanukovych and his government were "deliberately destroying the integration (into Europe) prospects of Ukraine" and that Ukrainian politicians have no right to let them "rule after 2014". Klitschko is also in favour of NATO-Ukraine cooperation.
Klitschko's main concern is social standards and the economy of Ukraine. He believes "the issue of language is not the top priority". Klitschko wants less corruption and more transparency in Ukrainian politics. He also advocates lower taxes to stimulate the economy. Klitschko did accuse in October 2011 President Yanukovych and the Azarov Government of "doing everything to manipulate the rules to stay in power longer"; furthermore (in December 2011) he assert(ed) "every statement of the government" as "a continuation of lies and disinformation." He has also taken part in rallies for former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's release.
In December 2011 Klitschko described the judicial system of Ukraine as "complete degradation" and accused it of violating human rights and humiliating its prisoners. According to him Ukraine lacks independent and unbiased judges because "The Ukrainian judiciary is currently a closed clan; lifelong judges and appointments through administrative leverage". He wants to ensure the independence of judges by switching from a system of appointed judges to a system of elected judges.
In July 2012 party-leader Klitschko stated his party UDAR will not cooperate with the Party of Regions in the Ukrainian Parliament.
In early April 2013 Klitschko called for early presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine.
Klitschko is a member of the International Republican Institute's International Advisory Council.
Klitschko's father, Vladimir Rodionovich Klitschko (1947–2011), was a Soviet Air Force major general and a Soviet military attaché in East Germany. The elder Klitschko was also one of the commanders in charge of cleaning up the effects of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster in 1986 and was afterward diagnosed with cancer. His mother is Nadezhda Ulyanovna.
Klitschko has been accused of working as a debt collector in the 1990s for mafia boss Viktor Rybalko. Klitschko has vehemently denied links to Rybalko.
Vitali Klitschko is married to Natalia Egorova, a former athlete and model. They met in Kiev and got married on 26 April 1996. He has three children, Yegor-Daniel, Elizabeth-Victoria and Max (named after the former World Heavyweight Champion Max Schmeling).
In 1996, Klitschko graduated from the Pereyaslav-Khmelnytsky Pedagogical Institute (Ukraine) and was accepted into the postgraduate study program at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. On 29 February 2000, he presented his doctoral thesis on "talent and sponsorship in sports" at the "Kyiv University of Physical Science and Sports" and his PhD in Sports Science was conferred.
Klitschko has lived for years in Germany (in addition to residing in Kiev). According to Klitschko "Germany adopted me, I really love Germany, but I'm not German".
Both Vitali and his brother are avid chess players. Vitali is a friend of former world chess champion Vladimir Kramnik and the two have played, with Kramnik always winning. Vitali has commented that "chess is similar to boxing. You need to develop a strategy, and you need to think two or three steps ahead about what your opponent is doing. You have to be smart. But what's the difference between chess and boxing? In chess, nobody is an expert, but everybody plays. In boxing everybody is an expert, but nobody fights."
Vitali and his brother also have been involved in charitable activities dedicated to supporting the needs of schools, churches and children. In 2002, the Klitschko brothers announced that they had agreed to work for UNESCO. Vitali and his brother never fought each other in a professional fight as their mother made them promise to never fight each other.