By James Slater: With WBC heavyweight king Vitali Klitschko, it’s a case of enjoy him while you can. Like Pound-for-Pound #1 Manny Pacquiao, Vitali is currently juggling his two passions – boxing and politics – and “Dr. Iron Fist” is looking ahead towards leaving the ring and embarking on a full-time career in Ukrainian politics very soon.
The 40-year-old, speaking on Ukraine T.V show TVI, said, “I am now finishing my sports career.”
“I will have one more fight, maybe two at most,” he added.
Vitali said he will pass the torch to younger brother Wladimir, allowing the 35-year-old to rule the heavyweight division in his absence.
So, with just two fights at the most to look forward to from the 43-2(40) giant, who should Vitali fight so as to go out on a high note, pleasing his fans?
With David Haye now retired and saying no amount of money will tempt him back, Vitali has no obvious next challenger. There has been talk of reigning WBO cruiserweight Champ Marco Huck moving up (Team-Klitschko said Vitali would be available for February), but such a fight looks like a mismatch on paper (and would the fans buy a fight that involved Vitali facing another cruiserweight after what he did to the more heavyweight-proven Tomasz Adamek?).
Scan the heavyweight rankings, and it becomes apparent there are precious few available challengers out there for Vitali right now. Robert Helenius has a fight coming up in December and probably isn’t yet ready for either Klitschko anyway, Tony Thompson and Eddie Chambers face each other next, Chris Arreola is reportedly aiming for a shot at Wladimir next spring, and Tyson Fury has admitted he is not yet ready for either Klitschko.
Of the top ten according to Boxrec, that leaves just Alexander Povetkin (who is busy with Cedric Boswell next, and must then accommodate WBA # mandatory Hasim Rahman), Alexander Dimitrenko and the still-developing Kubrat Pulev. The reigning European Champ against Vitali would be somewhat intriguing, if nothing more than because of Dimitrenko’s size. But will Dimitrenko take the fight even if it is offered to him?
No wonder Vitali is retiring soon: not only does he love politics; there is nobody out there for him to fight!