|birth date||1976-03-25 / age 36|
|rating||1 / 10791 / 24|
|height||6′ 6½″ / 199cm|
|reach||81″ / 206cm|
|alias||Steelhammer / Dr.|
|birth place||Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan|
|birth name||Volodymyr Klychko|
|Click Here for Ring Record!|
Volodymyr Volodymyrovych Klitchko (Ukrainian: Володимир Володимирович Кличко, [ʋɔlɔˈdɪmɪr klɪtʃˈkɔ];
Wlad adds WBA title! Click here for Recap
Between them, Wladimir and his brother have dominated the division for the past decade, with Wladimir owning at least one of the four linear titles since 2000.
Wladimir was born in Kazakhstan but moved to the Ukraine, where a keen sportsman, he took up boxing as part of the military training programme – which he admits was tough; too tough for some.
The young Klitschko though, thrived on the discipline and determination needed and even admits to enjoying it. It set him up for a successful amateur career and aged 17 was crowned European Junior champion, two years later he won gold at the Military Championships in Italy, before topping it off with super-heavyweight gold at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.
He is also a bright man and had to balance his education with his boxing. In the same summer of 1996 he was accepted to a post-graduate course at Kiev University and would go on to earn a PhD in Sports Science some five years down the line. Before that though, he turned professional at the end of 2006 and inside two months he had rattled off his first four wins, boxing seven rounds in the process.
Like his brother Vitali, he was placed under the guidance of German Fritz Sdunek, although by then the two brothers had long given up sparring and vowed, never to meet each other in the ring, doing as their mother Nadezhda Ulyanovna, had told them. They still remain competitive but Wladimir admits the only time they really compete is when they sit down for their regular game of chess.
In the ring, Wladimir breezed through another 13 professional fights – seven lasting less than two rounds – before he picked up his first title in May 1998, beating Cody Koch for the WBC International heavyweight title. His first two years as a pro had taken him around Germany where he and Vital are worshipped, but having moved there, it was time for a homecoming in 1998.
In December 1998 he and Vitali topped the bill at the Sport Palace in Kiev, the Ukraine capital, but the party fell flat when American journeyman Ross Purrity stopped him in the 11th round, coach Sdunek jumping in to save his young charge from more damage, if not a defeat. He returned to Germany and resumed winning ways and in his fifth fight he hammered the rated Axel Schulz to bruising defeat in eight rounds to claim the European title.
That put Wladimir on the map and next up he made his Las Vegas debut, crushing Phil Jackson in November 1999. By April 2000 he had boxed at the sporting mecca that is Madison Square Garden and in July that year came to England to batter Monte Barrett – the only opponent he and David Haye have in common – at the Docklands Arena.
It was the precursor to his first world-title in October when he took the WBO heavyweight strap from Chris Byrd, flooring him three times to exact some sort of revenge for Vitali, who had been forced to retire in his fight with the American six months earlier, with a shoulder problem. Little brother though, was now a name to be feared in his own right.
He made five impressive defences before disaster struck in March 2003, when he was stunned by the fast start and fasts fists of Corrie Sanders and stopped in two. Sanders would vacate to take on Vital for the WBC version, leaving the WBO up for grabs. In the meantime Wladimir had enlisted the help of the great Emanuel Steward, the man behind Lennox Lewis, the last of the unified heavyweight champions.
Their working relationship couldn’t have got off to a worse start as Klitschko was stunned by Lamon Brewster for his second defeat in 10 months and those two losses, he says, made him as a fighter. It was the last time L was to appear on his record and by the middle of 2006, he had prised the IBF version from Byrd, having come through some worrying wobbles in an eliminator with hard-hitting Samuel Peter.
Klitschko walked through Calvin Brock and Ray Austin before exacting revenge on Brewster in seven rounds and then became a double world champion, adding his old WBO belt to his IBF with a trademark distance win over Sultan Ibragimov. Labelled chinny, as he is to this today, Wladimir and Steward had devised a fighting style that kept his chin at a very, very long arm’s length. He has barely been rocked since.
Tony Thompson, Hasim Rahman and Ruslan Chagaev all fell foul of the attritional tactics that had become Wladimir’s forte, all promising much in the build-up only to fail in the fight, fading badly down the stretch as Klitschko came on strong. By now though, a new cocky young heavyweight had moved up and when David Haye appeared on an escalator midway through a promotional trip to London, boxing’s unstoppable siblings had a rival.
Wladimir though, kept plodding through his mandatories, packing out football stadiums in his adopted Germany as thousands flocked to see him in Cologne, Mannheim, Gelsenkirchen and Dusseldorf. He and Vitali may have moved to the States, but they were still major stars in Germany and, increasingly important political figures back in the Ukraine.
In March 2010 he took Eddie Chambers into the last round before landing the knockout five seconds from the end and once Peter had gone the same way, lasting two rounds less, Wladimir had won 10 world title fights in four years, with both IBF and WBO belts on the line in six of them. He signed up to defend them against Britain’s Dereck Chisora again in December, but an abdominal injury – both he and his brother had a torrid time with fitness – forced him to withdraw just two days before the fight.
It sparked rumours that a secret deal was being done with Haye, although having seen their first proposed fight fall through when Setanta Sports went the same way and Haye picked up a mystery back problem, Wladimir was far from impressed with the Londoner’s behaviour. He offered Chisora another chance in April but then in March pulled out again with the same abdominal problem.
They very next day, the news broke that he would be fighting Haye. Should he take the WBA off the Briton, he will achieve his and Vitali’s lifelong ambition to own all four major titles at the same time.