East Side Boxing Speaks With Wladimir Klitschko


30.09.05 – Interview by Geoff McKayHello Mr. Klitschko

WK: Hi Geoff

ESB: The first question I should ask given recent developments concerns Lamon Brewster. Now that he has beaten Krasniqi, will you look for a fight with him?

WK: Now he has won and I think the fight is going to be pretty hard to get it done. It’s not an easy fight because of the promoter, but I think that this fight is something very very hard.

ESB: It’s been a couple of days now since you beat Samuel Peter. How does if feel to sit back, relax and watch everything unfold?

WK: You exactly said what I feel right now, I just sit back and waiting for fights, you know, who’s going to win and so on, because you know, my positions are safe, I’m number one contender in both versions, so we’ll wait for the fight on Saturday between Williamson and Byrd, so hopefully I’ll get the world championship as soon as that goes..

ESB: Could you take us quickly through the fight? Was Peter what you expected?

WK: I was preparing for the fight, and I was going 120 rounds with eleven different sparring partners, and I’ll tell you one thing, those sparring partners, they were not sparring partners they were fighters, young fighters, young blood, very aggressive and good and I hadn’t received any bruise under my eye or something on my face, and I didn’t get any blows from them and so on. Preparation went very good and I was surprised when I went down in the fifth round the first time, I was really surprised because I hadn’t expected those blows behind the head, but I had to get up and continue to fight. Also in the tenth round I was down another time, and I was actually surprised that Samuel Peter was really well prepared; I didn’t expect that it should go for 12 rounds.

ESB: Did those punches behind the head really hurt you, or was it more a loss of balance?

WK: It caused more loss of balance, but it’s something which you never train (laughs) to even pay attention too because it is forbidden in Boxing. But anyway, I don’t want to have any discussions with the referee and so on, I just have to continue to fight and just take care of myself.

ESB: You drilled him with some pretty hard right hands without knocking him down. In the heat of the fight, does that affect you at all that a guy eats your best shots? Or is it something you don’t really think about?

WK: Actually I expected that this guy can take a punch, but I know that if you’re constantly landing punches, after 100 punches on the 101st he is going to fall down. But he needed 200 punches instead of 100, so an excellent 12th round, I couldn’t bring the fight to the end to knock him out, but were surprised, he took really bad blows, and he’s got a pretty good chin.

ESB: I wanted to ask you about the short left hook you hit him with in the 12th. It is a devastating weapon but it seems as though we have seen it less since you teamed up with Manny Steward.

WK: It depends, maybe my style is a little bit changed but that’s actually my style, exactly what I was looking for, exactly what I need and I feel pretty confident with that style and if it’s necessary I can throw all different kinds of punches, it’s not like you need to throw mainly left hooks but if it’s necessary I can. It depends on the fight; it’s difficult to give any comments.

ESB: At the end of the 11th round you went to your corner smiling and looked like you were enjoying yourself. In the 12th you came out and had your best round. Tell us a little about that point in the fight.

WK: I think that fight was the best answer and best comment for all critics which I had in the past about my chin, my stamina. I don’t need any words to commentate it; I think the fight is the best answer.

ESB: How about some predictions? How do you see the fight between your brother and Rahman unfolding?

WK: I think Rahman will be coming up very motivated, because he is an experience fighter. He was fighting Lennox Lewis, and Lennox is a big fighter, almost like Vitali, Vitali’s taller but he’s almost like Vitali, and I think that there are some strong sides from Rahman but also some weaknesses, weak sides which I don’t want to mention because Vitali is going to win this fight. It’s very important that he goes to defend his title, and it’s very important for me to get another title so that both brothers can be champions. We were going and looking for it for a long long time, and we got some bumps on the end, but we have our goal and hopefully we will get it soon.

ESB: How about James Toney vs. Dominick Guinn?

WK: I think that if Dominick Guinn is going to box, he is going win the fight. That’s what you have to do against Toney. Toney is very strong puncher and good fighter, experienced fighter, but he pretty often out of shape, and I think Dominick Guinn is a young fighter and he just has to box. If he’s going to box and will not fight, like trying to force something, then he should win pretty easily.

ESB: You’ve mentioned that you might fight again before your next title fight. Can you give us any ideas who your opponent might be?

WK: That’s right, I am looking to fight in December, and… I’m not ready right now to tell you when exactly, so one day in December, (chuckles).

ESB: So I have a couple of final question not necessarily about boxing but more to let our readers get to know you a little. I know you brothers won’t fight each other so tell me, who is the better chess player?

WK: (laughs) we played actually once officially and it was a, ummm, a draw.

ESB: It was a draw?

WK: Uh Huh, (laughing)

ESB: How has the situation developed in the Ukraine since Victor Yushenko became president?

WK: Ukraine got a really really huge win in the image of the country, especially in the international image of the country because of the Orange Revolution, how it went, and how friendly the people in the Ukraine are. They are not aggressive at all and the peaceful and democratic movement went pretty good without any drop of blood and violence, and it was a major point. Right now the situation is two different sides, one side is the politics on the outside and the other side is internal politics. It’s not easy because the whole country was working different for many years and now we have to change in a short time everything, and it takes time, you know, and Ukrainians are ready for it, it goes not in an easy way but anyway, it takes a little bit of time. But nothing really bad is wrong, nothing particularly some huge major things, bad things is wrong. You know it’s just some changes because the President changed the positions of people, and I think he knows what he is doing and I just really hope the people in the country will go the good way and democracy will continue to improve. I really want to try to find an understanding for it because it is really not easy for the President to handle all of it because the country was working in a different way and people were thinking different you know, and now we have to really, to break the neck, lets say this way, the old neck, and build the new style of thinking and so on. It’s not easy.

ESB: It’s the same in our country. Although changes might be made at the top, the bureaucracy is usually very slow to respond.

WK: Exactly. It’s actually not my issue, but I was following hurricane Katrina live on television and it’s really really sad to look at the pictures for six days, and it’s not like they were on the North Pole, it was right in the country, and for six days people didn’t get minimal help. It’s kind of difficult to understand.

ESB: On a lighter topic, is it true that you are a helicopter pilot?

WK: It wouldn’t be right if I’m going to say I am a helicopter pilot, but I take lessons. (chuckles)

ESB: A magician?

WK: The same, because a friend of mine, he is a professional magician, and 12 years ago I took my first classes and I just keep doing it because people are so excited about it. Actually both of us, Vitali and myself, we did some magic tricks on the major shows in Germany, and we were working in a circus for two days as magicians, and it’s like, a special show in Germany, Stars on the Podium, so we took this part, and also I think it was on Fox and Friends, in the U.S. we showed some flying Lennox Lewis. (Laughs). Lennox Lewis was flying, actually his name, one of the guys wrote the name of Lennox Lewis and Lennox Lewis was flying in between us and we let him go down and out, (laughs), and we showed some tricks as well. Muhammad Ali is a big magician as well and when we met in Los Angeles we were showing tricks to each other. Were amateurs, were not professionals but we exchanges some tricks to each other. (Laughs) It was really fun?

ESB: You didn’t give away all your secrets did you?

WK: No No, I gave my trick to him, and he gave me one, so we exchanged tricks.

ESB: I know Vitali really wanted to rematch Lennox. Does the fact that he didn’t get a rematch still bother him?

WK: I think Vitali doesn’t bother anything, because he was looking for a title, he didn’t win the title, but I think he won the fight. Later on, Vitali got Lennox Lewis’s title, you know, and everybody was asking Lewis, what’s going on? (Laughs). Everybody was bothering Lewis, because Vitali is active, and Vitali doesn’t have any botherings. Lennox should have it because he promised to fight Vitali. I’ll tell you one thing, in my opinion Lennox, he stood too long, he should have retired after the Mike Tyson fight. Now, on the end of the day you are as good as your last fight, and the last fight of Lennox wasn’t good. So that’s why it actually should bother Lennox.

ESB: I think it does bother Lennox.

WK: I think he’s a great champion, he fought different types of guys and he deserves to be a great champion, but I think this last fight should really bother him.

ESB: Do you think Vitali was going to beat Lennox that night if the fight hadn’t been stopped?

WK: I defiantly think that besides the blood, Vitali was going to fight the same pace, and Lennox Lewis was falling down in that round, if you can see it in the corner, and Vitali was going to knock Lennox Lewis out. Lennox got really lucky on that.

ESB: Can you tell us a little about your doctoral thesis?

WK: I was starting with the sport when I was 14, and I went to this sports school in the Soviet Union. We had different kinds of trainers and programs and so on. It wasn’t only boxers in this sports school, it was different types of sports, and I saw how many guys, in the age between 14 and 19 years, how they got treated, how many of them got broken psychologically or physically, and how many of them were going through that and becoming first results and really great champions. So I saw both sides, negative and positive, and I was going through this system and later on I decided to make from my experience, and Vitali’s as well, a scientific work. It’s not about chemistry or something else which is far away from our way of thinking; it’s about sports and our experience in sports. It’s about pedagogical control by kids, or young people who start with the big sports in the age between 14 and 19 years. Because from a guy who is going to be a man and a girl who is going to be a woman, biologically, with 14 year’s, it’s a lot of changes in the body, and psychological changes, so first results are very important for those kids, that’s why I created this work. We presented this work in Germany through different Universities in German, but we didn’t get it done in the U.S. First of all our language could have been much better to represent it but hopefully one day we can do it. It’s pretty interesting. It’s not about only talking because we are on the stage, we have a screen and a pointer so different examples you can. Understand what it is about.

ESB: Did you have a hard time learning German when you first arrived?

WK: Ohhh, really hard time. (laughs) You can’t even imagine it. Really hard time. But you know who is the best teacher?

ESB: Who’s that?

WK: I was going through different classes and different teachers and this and that, and after a year I quit. I said “Wladimir, you are stupid” (laughs) “You can’t get it, it doesn’t work”. But later on I met a beautiful girl, my ex girlfriend, and three months later my German was unbelievable. (Laughs). It works well when you are in the country, and everyone speaks German, and you have fun, and you know, girlfriends are the best teachers.

ESB: Your education relates to training and teaching. I realize it is a long time away, but when you retire from boxing will you do any training or teaching?

WK: My mother is a professional teacher, so she used to work in a school and so on, and I think that I will really be taking care of my kids, teach them, but I don’t think I will do more.

ESB: A big issue right now is injury in Boxing, especially with the death of Leavander Johnson. Many people feel that boxing is a violent sport with no place in a modern, enlightened society. How would you address this issue?

WK: Honestly, I will tell you one thing, this sport is great, the sport itself is great. If we are talking about aggression, if we are talking about brutality, then I tell you, we have to stop any kind of sports. It’s official information that boxing, with injuries, is less than with any other sports. Less than soccer, less than American football, and death folds are existing in football, in soccer, in baseball, in whatever kind of sports. Horse racing, it’s crazy. Formula one, and in the U.S. you have Nascar, and so many death falls, you can’t even imagine. In this way we have to stop every kind of sport because it isn’t violence about the human being body, because you go to reach higher results, and you have to gain on one point and give up on another point. But I’ll tell you one thing, boxing, I am really glad I am a boxer and not a soccer player because otherwise you have to spend the whole year with the team, I have to go to different training camps, I have to stay with the team the whole time, and I have no time for myself. In boxing I have only two to three events a year and also with the injuries boxing is really nothing. Because, listen what happens. On the big field, if you see football, players are playing football, one got hurt, doctor came on the field, they took the player out, and at the end of the day the public, the audience, is looking for who won. Maybe later on, in the paper somebody is going to write, “oh, one player got hurt, neck was broken” you know, and, “this and that”, and nobody is interested in that. In boxing there are only two athletes in the ring, and like, 20 camera’s, and little cut, they just bore into this cut and of course if your sitting at home, you see this cut on the whole screen, and it’s really brutal. But, to make the long story short, I just wanted to tell you that the sport is great. The politicians of the sport, it’s a question mark, but the sport itself is really really great. We don’t have any boxing union because boxers are just by themselves. If they have success, all right, they get money and they can take care of themselves, but many boxers that are going to have success, they spend their money, their time, they invest their time and at the end of the day they get hurt or they have no success and that’s it, they are out, and nobody takes care of them. No union exists to take care of boxers. There is a screen actor’s guild, and they pay some percentage on it and if something goes wrong, if they can’t work anymore, at least they have got a pension, so they get security in their life. But in boxing it doesn’t exist. The sport itself is good, but the rules and the politicians should be much better because there are many examples which are unpredictable, and (sighs) it’s sometimes even heavy to think about it.

ESB: Anything you would like to add Wladimir?

WK: I appreciate you asking me those questions, and I’m just trying to do my best to do what I do in sports and try to get back and be a champion again.

ESB: Thank you very much Wladimir for taking the time to speak with us.

WK: You’re welcome. It’s was very good talking to you, thank you for hearing me and we will catch up in the future.

In closing I would like to say that I was very impressed with how forthright, polite and accommodating Wladimir and his Manager Bernd Boente have been. I first requested an interview before the fight and was told that Wladimir was busy in training, but that we could possibly talk after the fight. Mr. Boente was true to his word and contacted me yesterday. I would also like to say that in person Wladimir came across as thoughtful, humble, and articulate. I look forward to watching his fights in the future.

Comments may be emailed to: geoffmckay@monarch.net