Vitali Klitschko’s Japanese suitor

15.10.06 - By Mark Pickering: Retired former heavyweight boxing king, Vitali Klitchsko, recognised as the last great heavyweight of the modern era, is the subject of interest from the kickboxing orientated martial arts organisation K-1. Klitschko, 35, who was originally a kickboxer in his native former Sovet Union, retired from boxing last year while still WBC Heavyweight Champion, citing politcal aspirations and a mounting series of injuries.

The much-admired Ukranian sports a professional kickboxing record of 37-4, and has recently been training alongside four-time K-1 World champion Ernesto Hoost at the Vos Gym in Rotterdam, Holland.

The 6’8, 245-pounder suffered his only knockout loss in professional competition while representing CIS (Russia) against British kickboxer and K-1 vet Pele Reid at the European Kickboxing Championships in 1992.

Japan’s K-1 organisation has a rich association with the boxing science and has recruited an abundance of the sport’s most accomplished pugilists, notably Ray Mercer and Francois Botha, both of whom have had limited success since making the popular transition.

“Dr. Iron Fist”, whose repeatedly refuted talk of a rematch with retired Brit Lennox Lewis, is a reported priority for K-1 matchmaker Sadaharu Tanigawa, who would likely pit Klitschko in a series of superfights against the sport’s most acclaimed fighters.

Article posted on 16.10.2006

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