Wladimir Klitschko

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Wladimir Wladimirowitsch Klitschko

Russian: Владимир Владимирович Кличко, Ukrainian: Володимир Володимирович Кличко
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Semey, East Kazakhstan Region, Kazakhstan
Immediate Family:

Son of Vladimir Rodionovich Klitschko and Private
Husband of Private
Partner of Hayden Panettiere
Father of Private
Brother of Vitali Klitschko

Occupation: professional boxer
Managed by: Alex Bickle
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Wladimir Klitschko

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wladimir_Klitschko

Wladimir Wladimirowitsch Klitschko (born 25 March 1976) is a Ukrainian professional boxer. He is a former world heavyweight champion of four sanctioning bodies, having held the titles of the WBA, IBF, WBO (twice), and IBO, in addition to holding the Ring magazine and lineal titles. A highly strategic boxer, Klitschko is considered to be one of the greatest heavyweight champions of all time, and is also thought to be among the hardest punching knockout artists in the history of the division, with his strong jab, straight right hand and left hook being his best weapons.

As an amateur, Klitschko represented Ukraine at the 1996 Olympics, winning a gold medal in the super-heavyweight division. After turning professional later that year, he defeated Chris Byrd in 2000 to win the WBO heavyweight title. Klitschko's first reign as champion ended in an upset knockout loss to Corrie Sanders in 2003, which was followed by another knockout loss to Lamon Brewster in 2004. It was during this time that Klitschko hired Emmanuel Steward as his trainer, which began an eight-year partnership that lasted until Steward's death in 2012. In particular, Steward was credited with Klitschko's transition from an aggressive puncher to a more defensively-oriented boxer, just as he had done with Lennox Lewis in 1995 to 2003.

In 2006, Klitschko regained a portion of the world heavyweight championship after stopping Chris Byrd in a rematch to win the IBF and IBO titles. He won the WBO title for a second time by defeating then-unbeaten champion Sultan Ibragimov in 2008. Following his defeat of Ruslan Chagaev in 2009, Klitschko was awarded the Ring and lineal titles, and lastly he won the WBA title from David Haye in 2011. Until his defeat by Tyson Fury in 2015, Klitschko was also recognized as champion by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, while the WBA recognized him as one of its "Super champions", a distinction given to boxers who hold that title in addition to those by other sanctioning bodies in the same division.

Overall, he became the second longest reigning heavyweight champion of all time, and has the second most successful title defenses total of any heavyweight boxer with 23 (including his initial reign as WBO champion), behind Joe Louis (25) and ahead of Larry Holmes (20) and Muhammad Ali (19). On 14 September 2015, BoxRec rated Klitschko as the number one fighter in the world, pound for pound. On 15 November 2014, he reached a career peak of number two on The Ring's pound for pound list. Klitschko has fought in 28 heavyweight title fights, more than any heavyweight champion in the sport's history. He also holds the record of having defeated the most boxers with an undefeated record, at 12.

Wladimir's older brother, Vitali Klitschko, is also a former WBC, WBO, and The Ring heavyweight champion. From 2006 until 2015, Wladimir and Vitali dominated heavyweight boxing, a period typically known as the "Klitschko Era" of the division.

Early life

Klitschko was born in Semipalatinsk, Kazakh SSR (now Semey, Kazakhstan). His father, Vladimir Rodionovich Klichko (1947–2011), was a Soviet Air Force major general and a military attaché of Ukraine in Germany; he was also one of the commanders in charge of cleaning up the effects of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 and was afterward diagnosed with cancer. Wladimir's mother is Nadezhda Ulyanovna. He is the younger brother of former WBC, WBO and Ring magazine heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, the current Mayor of Kiev.

Amateur career

In the early 1990s, Klitschko was coached in Poland's Gwardia Warszawa boxing club, where, according to Jerzy Kulej, "He and his brother used to demolish our boys." In 1993, he won the Junior European Championships as a heavyweight. In 1994, he received 2nd place at the Junior World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. In 1995, he won the gold medal at the Military Championships in Ariccia, Italy, defeating Luan Krasniqi, who he had lost to in the third round of the World Championships in Berlin, Germany earlier that year. In 1996, he captured 2nd place as a Super Heavyweight at the European Championships in Vejle, Denmark. He had an amateur record of 134–6.

Known as "Dr. Steelhammer", he first achieved world attention at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. He defeated Paea Wolfgramm to win the Super-Heavyweight gold medal. He is announced as "Dr. Steelhammer", a nickname similar to his brother, Vitali, who goes by "Dr. Ironfist." Both brothers hold PhDs.

Professional career

Klitschko turned professional with Universum Box-Promotion in Hamburg under the tutelage of Fritz Sdunek, often being featured on fight cards alongside his elder brother Vitali. After building an undefeated record of 24–0 with 22 KO's, he suffered his first loss to 24–13–1 Ross Puritty, in what was Klitschko's first and only professional fight in Ukraine. Klitschko's coach, Fritz Sdunek, stopped the fight. On 18 March 2000, Klitschko fought Paea Wolfgramm, whom he fought previously in the 1996 Super Heavyweight Olympic Finals. In their professional rematch, Klitschko knocked Wolfgramm out in the first round.

Klitschko vs. Byrd; five title defenses

On 14 October 2000, in Cologne, Germany's Kölnarena, Klitschko won the WBO Heavyweight Championship from American Chris Byrd by a wide unanimous decision by scores of: 120–106, 119–107 and 118–108, flooring his opponent twice. Byrd had previously upset his elder brother Vitali (who pulled out injured during their bout).

Klitschko registered five successful title defenses, all by TKO over: Derrick Jefferson, Charles Shufford, former IBF champion Frans Botha, former WBO champion Ray Mercer and Jameel McCline.

Klitschko vs. Sanders, Brewster

Klitschko suffered an upset TKO loss to Corrie Sanders on 8 March 2003 in Hanover, Germany. Sanders dropped Klitschko twice in the opening round and scored two more knockdowns in the second round before the bout was stopped by the official. The fight was named The Ring magazine Upset of the Year for 2003.

After winning two minor bouts in Germany and enlisting the services of legendary boxing trainer Emanuel Steward, Klitschko again fought for the vacated WBO title on 10 April 2004, in Las Vegas, against Lamon Brewster. Klitschko sent Brewster to the canvas in the fourth round; however, things turned around in the fifth when Brewster's punches began backing him up. Not defending himself and leaning into ropes for support, Klitschko took a standing eight count. On unsteady legs, Klitschko fell to the canvas after the bell and the referee stopped the fight for his safety.

Klitschko vs. Williamson, Castillo, Peter

Following his loss to Brewster, Klitschko began his journey back towards the top of the heavyweight division. First, he defeated DaVarryl Williamson by technical decision. The fight was stopped due to a Klitschko cut caused by an accidental headbutt. He then knocked out undefeated Cuban contender Eliseo Castillo. Klitschko then signed to fight undefeated power puncher Samuel Peter in an IBF and WBO eliminator. Though Peter scored three knockdowns (two in round 5, one in round 10) Klitschko withstood the Nigerian's power and went on to outbox Peter for the majority of the rounds.

Klitschko vs. Byrd II, Brock, Austin

On 22 April 2006, in Mannheim, Germany, Klitschko defeated Chris Byrd for a second time, this time by technical knockout, in a contest for the IBF and IBO Heavyweight Championships. Referee Wayne Kelly stopped the fight in the seventh round after a knockdown. Byrd beat the count, but his face was battered and bloody, and the fight was waved off.

He returned in November, defeating Calvin Brock at Madison Square Garden. Klitschko then defeated mandatory challenger Ray Austin on 10 March 2007, at the SAP Arena in Mannheim, Germany by a second-round knockout with four consecutive left hooks to Austin's head.

Klitschko vs. Brewster II, Ibragimov, Thompson

Klitschko then avenged one of his previous losses as he defeated Lamon Brewster on 7 July 2007, in Cologne, Germany. Brewster's corner asked the referee to stop the fight at the end of the sixth round. It was later revealed that Klitschko fought most of the fight with a broken middle finger on his left hand.

Klitschko defeated WBO Heavyweight Champion Sultan Ibragimov at Madison Square Garden in New York City on 23 February 2008 to unify the IBF, IBO and WBO Heavyweight titles. The Klitschko-Ibragimov fight was the first heavyweight unification since Holyfield-Lewis in 1999. The unification clash with Ibragimov proved to be a huge disappointment for fans. Klitschko was very dominant from the first bell. He backed Ibragimov into a corner and proceeded to push down Ibragimov's glove with his left hand so he could not throw a punch. Though Klitschko won every single round, the crowd in New York began booing after the second round. The boos and jeers increased as the fight progressed in the same fashion. Ibragimov's corner was almost silent from the sixth round onwards, unable to give their man any meaningful advice.

On 12 July 2008, at the Color Line Arena in Hamburg, Klitschko faced mandatory challenger Tony Thompson, in a good action fight. Klitschko controlled the fight with his jab and right hand; Thompson had his moments but was outworked and out skilled for the majority of the rounds. Klitschko floored Thompson with a right hand in the 11th round and Thompson didn't beat the count.

Klitschko vs. Rahman, Chagaev, Chambers

Klitschko was scheduled to defend his titles against Alexander Povetkin later in 2008, but on 25 October, Povetkin withdrew from the fight due to an ankle injury. Instead, Klitschko faced Hasim Rahman on 13 December 2008 and won by TKO. This was the third time Klitschko fought at the SAP Arena in Mannheim, Germany. He dominated the fight, winning every round while making good use of his left jab. From the first bell the difference in physical strength was profound. Rahman seemed unable to withstand Klitschko's punch power. The referee finally called a stop to the one-sided contest in the 7th round after Rahman failed to respond to a series of good shots.

Klitschko was scheduled to face David Haye, who pulled out within weeks of the fight complaining of a back injury. Salvaging the 20 June 2009 date and venue, Klitschko instead retained the IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight titles and also won the vacant Ring magazine heavyweight title by defeating replacement opponent and Ring No. 3 ranked Ruslan Chagaev when Chagaev retired after an onslaught of punches towards the end of the ninth round. As Chagaev was WBA Champion, the title was not on the line.

Klitschko's win over Chagaev was seen as one of his most impressive performances in the ring. He controlled the tempo of the fight from the very beginning and hit Chagaev at will with the jab. He hit Chagaev with several hard right crosses and never allowed him to build momentum. Towards the end of the second round Klitschko caught Chagaev off-balance and sent him to the canvas. Chagaev recovered but was dominated thereafter. This win had added significance because even though the WBA title was not on the line, many saw Klitschko as the rightful champion.

On 9 December 2009, Klitschko's management group, K2 Promotions confirmed that a bout with Eddie Chambers has been agreed to take place in Germany on 20 March 2010. This mandatory title defense, originally scheduled for December 2009 had to be delayed due to a hand injury that Klitschko sustained in training that required surgery.

Klitschko defeated Chambers by knockout five seconds before the end of the final round. He was criticized between rounds by his trainer Emanuel Steward for not fighting aggressively enough and began punching more often during the final round than he had done before which eventually led to his left hook hitting Chambers to the forehead. The punch made Chambers fall forwards and lost consciousness for an extended period of time. The referee stepped in and called an end to the contest instantly.

Klitschko vs. Peter II

Klitschko in 2010 Following the match with Chambers, a unification fight between Klitschko and David Haye, who, as of May 2009, had held the WBA title, appeared to be in the offing. Klitschko called out the Briton on YouTube in April 2010, stating, "I want to send this message to boxing fans and directly to David Haye. David, you've bitched out on fighting both Klitschko brothers twice already and now's the time to make it happen. On behalf of the boxing fans around the world, I am officially calling you out to fight me. You can't run away from me forever and you need to follow through with this fight if you want to be respected. I'm ready. What're you waiting for?"

Haye's trainer, Adam Booth, indicated that Haye would be willing to accept the challenge. Both sides began negotiations for a potential fight and the bout was targeted for September. As the negotiations continued to move forward, the unification fight between Klitschko and Haye was expected to take place in Germany rather than England. The IBF set a deadline to end negotiations on 17 May. A few days before the deadline to make the unification bout, Haye said he was interested in fighting the older Klitschko, Vitali, rather than Wladimir. The fight did not materialize and Klitschko was set to take on mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin. On 17 May 2010, the 30-day period of negotiation began for Klitschko to defend his championship against Povetkin. Within this period, discussions to make a fight with Haye were still ongoing.

The bout between Klitschko and Povetkin was initially tentatively scheduled to take place in Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany, on 11 September 2010. In July 2010, it was confirmed that the bout would be taking place in Frankfurt. However, Povetkin, under trainer Teddy Atlas, backed out of the $2 million purse fight. Samuel Peter replaced Povetkin for the scheduled fight. Klitschko faced Peter for a second time, as they had fought in 2005 previously. Peter fought Klitschko on 11 September 2010, for the Ukrainian's IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight titles. Klitschko won again, by knocking out Peter in the 10th round. Peter weighed in at 241 pounds, two pounds lighter than their first fight. Klitschko came in at a career heavy of 247 pounds. Both fighters had promised knockouts in the pre-fight build up. Peter started the fight very aggressively and caught Klitschko with a good left hook in the opening minute, although Klitschko ended the round well. Peter was caught with three hard right-hands in the second round, one of which seemed to stun him. Peter tried to duck under the Klitschko jab, but was being tied up on the inside. After four rounds, the fight became one-sided in Klitschko's favour. Peter's right eye was closing and he was taking heavy punishment. After the ninth round, Peter's trainer Abel Sanchez said he would give him one more round. Emmanuel Steward also implored Klitschko to be more aggressive. Peter swung wildly in the tenth and Klitschko put him down with a concussive combination. Referee Robert Byrd did not start a count and waved the fight off, awarding Klitschko the win by knockout. Klitschko, however, was set to fight Dereck Chisora on 11 December, but the fight was later called off on 8 December due to Klitschko tearing a muscle in his abdomen.

Klitschko vs. Haye

On 5 January 2011, it was announced that Dereck Chisora would get his fight with Klitschko. This enraged David Haye's trainer Adam Booth, who described the move as a "disgrace" on a heated live phone-in with Sky Sports News. Booth alleged Haye had met every single one of Klitschko's demands. The fight against Dereck Chisora was rescheduled for 30 April 2011 and was going to take place in SAP Arena, Mannheim. However, on 4 March, it was announced that Klitschko had pulled out of the fight due to not being fully recovered from a torn abdominal muscle. On 5 March, it was instead announced that the highly anticipated fight against David Haye would take place on 2 July 2011. The fight was contingent on Klitschko's recovery from a torn abdominal muscle injury. The contract was written so that if Klitschko was not fully healed, then Haye would fight his brother, Vitali.

Klitschko fought David Haye in a heavyweight unification fight for the WBA (Super), WBO, IBF, IBO and The Ring Heavyweight titles. The fight took place at the Imtech Arena, Hamburg, Germany on 2 July 2011. Klitschko dominated the fight, statistically outlanding Haye nearly 2 to 1. Haye revealed afterwards that he had a broken toe. Klitschko won by unanimous decision.

After winning the WBA title, all of the major Heavyweight titles were in the hands of the Klitschko family. Wladimir and Vitali became the first and only pair of brothers to hold all of the heavyweight titles simultaneously.

Klitschko vs. Mormeck, Thompson II, Wach

On 6 October 2011, Klitschko announced his next fight. It was originally to be on 10 December 2011 against the former two time unified World Cruiserweight Champion, French Jean-Marc Mormeck. The fight would have taken place at Esprit Arena, Düsseldorf. It was to be Wladimir's first title defense of the WBA (Super) belt, he won against David Haye. The fight was billed Alle Gürtel. Ein Champion. (All belts. One Champion). However, on 5 December 2011, the fight was cancelled because Wladimir checked into a hospital to have a kidney stone removed. After the removal operation he suffered from fever and inflammation. The fight was rescheduled for 3 March 2012, with Wladimir Klitschko knocking out Jean-Marc Mormeck in the fourth round. On 7 July, he faced Tony Thompson in a rematch in Stade de Suisse Wankdorf, Bern, Switzerland. Tony Thompson had been named as Wladimir Klitschko's mandatory defense by the IBF.

On 7 July 2012, Klitschko faced Tony Thompson for a second time who had worked his way into a mandatory position. Klitschko stopped Thompson in the sixth round after putting him to the canvas with flush right hand shot. It was his 12th consecutive title defense, the 3rd most in heavyweight history.

Klitschko defended his belts in Hamburg on 10 November 2012 via one sided unanimous decision. His opponent for the fight was former undefeated 27–0 (15 KO) polish contender Mariusz Wach. The fight with Wach was the first time in his 16-year pro career he had faced an opponent taller than himself. At 2.02 metres tall, with a reach of 2.08 metres and weighing 251 pounds, the Kraków-born Wach, who is based in the United States, is 4 centimetres taller than Klitschko with a reach two centimeters longer. The fight with Wach was the first fight under Johnathon Banks' coaching.

Klitschko vs. Pianeta, Povetkin, Leapai

At the end of 2012, the World Boxing Association ordered its super-champion Klitschko to fight WBA regular-champion Alexander Povetkin of Russia by 24 February 2013, but the two sides couldn't reach an agreement. WBA let Klitschko have another voluntary title defence before taking on Povetkin, but there should have been a signed contract with Povetkin before 28 February, with a new deadline for their bout no later than 31 July.

Klitschko took on another undefeated contender, Italian Francesco Pianeta, on 4 May. From the start, he systematically broke down the Italian, consistently landing flush straight right hand shots. He dropped Pianeta with a right hand in round four, a left hand put Pianeta down in the fifth; the fight ended at 2:52 in round six when Klitschko put Pianeta down for the third time.

Klitschko vs. Povetkin took place in October 2013, his third undefeated consecutive opponent. The bout was marred with over 160 clinches, most initiated by Klitschko, followed by several repeated roughhouse tactics throughout the match against Povetkin. This included leaning on his opponent and pushing his head down and throwing Povetkin to the canvas, which resulted in the referee scoring some as knockdowns. Klitschko won by unanimous decision scoring a knockdown in round 2 from a flush jab, and 3 knockdowns in round 7 including one prompted from a big right uppercut. All 3 judges scored it 119–104 on the scorecards.

In his next fight, Klitschko defended his titles against WBO mandatory challenger Alex Leapai on 26 April 2014 in Germany. He knocked Leapai down three times, and referee Eddie Cotton stopped the fight with fifty-five seconds remaining in the fifth round.

Klitschko vs. Pulev, Jennings

On 15 November 2014 he faced undefeated Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev for the IBF title in Hamburg. Klitschko knocked Pulev down twice in the first round and once in the third round, before knocking Pulev out on a thunderous left hook to end the match.

He then faced undefeated American heavyweight Bryant Jennings on April 25, 2015 at Madison Square Garden, defending his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO and The Ring heavyweight titles. He defeated Jennings by effective use of his jab and nullifying Jennings' offensive game on the inside, especially by holding Jennings, which resulted in the referee deducting a point in the 10th round for excessive holding, although Klitschko did end up winning via unanimous decision with scores of 116–111, 116–111, 118–109.

Klitschko vs. Fury

Klitschko was scheduled to take on undefeated heavyweight contender Tyson Fury, the WBO mandatory challenger, on 24 October 2015 in an unprecedented 28th heavyweight world title appearance. On 25 September 2015, Klitschko postponed the fight, citing a calf injury. It was rescheduled for Saturday, November 28, 2015. In a very lactic affair, Klitschko lost the fight by unanimous decision, with scores of 116–111, 115–112 and 115–112 all in favor of Fury. It was the first defeat Klitschko had suffered in over ten years and marked the end of the so-called 'Klitschko Era' referring to the time period where both Klitschko brothers (particularly Wladimir) dominated the division.

Klitschko vs. Fury II

Klitschko was entitled to a rematch with Fury as part of the contract for their first fight. The rematch was eventually announced on 8 April 2016 and set to take place in Fury's home town at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England on 9 July 2016. However, Tyson Fury announced via a YouTube video that the fight will now be postponed due to an ankle sprain he received during training. He apologised to his fans and confirmed the fight will be rescheduled for a later date. On Thursday 7 July, Fury announced via his Twitter account that the rescheduled fight will now take place on October 29 at Manchester Arena.

Other interests

Klitschko appeared with Lennox Lewis in the motion picture Ocean's Eleven. He is an avid chess player, kitesurfer, golfer and humanitarian. Both Klitschko brothers have been involved in charitable activities dedicated to supporting the needs of children around the world. Both brothers have formed their own charities that contribute to children in need in Africa and South America. They won humanitarian awards for their "Sport for Good" projects in 2002 and 2007. In 2002, the Klitschko brothers announced that they had agreed to work specifically for UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), which supports more than 180 projects in 87 countries.

Klitschko is also a passionate golfer and was seen playing in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland. The tournament was played over three courses in 2008 including St Andrews, Carnoustie, and Kingsbarns in Fife and Angus. Klitschko was named curator of the Ukrainian pavilion at the 2009 Venice Biennale. Klitschko starred in the music video for Chris Cornell's song "Part of Me" in 2008, alongside rising dancer Carlos Kerr Jr. and Method Man.

Personal life

In 2009, Klitschko began dating American actress Hayden Panettiere. Panettiere has appeared ringside at some of Klitschko's fights, including at Klitschko's 10th-round KO victory over Samuel Peter. The couple broke up in May 2011, but as of April 2013 had rekindled their relationship. In October 2013, Panettiere confirmed that she and Klitschko are engaged, which had been rumoured since the summer. On 6 December 2013, Klitschko and his fiancée Hayden Panettiere visited the Euromaidan-protests in Kiev. His brother Vitali was one of the leading figures of these protests. He and his fiancée addressed the crowds. In late 2014, Panettiere and Klitschko welcomed their first child together, a daughter named Kaya.

Some media reported that Klitschko had been previously dating Yvonne Catterfeld; the relationship was played up in German comedies Keinohrhasen and Zweiohrküken. After Wladimir's photo session held for Vanity Fair magazine with Karolína Kurková, she claimed to have a romantic relationship with the boxer.

Klitschko speaks four languages: Ukrainian, Russian, English and German.

Klitschko was friends with the deceased German heavyweight legend Max Schmeling.

On 29 March 2012, during a charitable auction in Kiev, Ukraine, Wladimir auctioned off his 1996 Olympic gold medal to a buyer who bid $1 million. Klitschko said he would use the money to help the dreams of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian children. After the sale, the buyer immediately returned the medal out of respect for Wladimir and because he wanted it to remain with the Klitschko family.

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Wladimir Klitschko's Timeline

1976
March 25, 1976
Semey, East Kazakhstan Region, Kazakhstan