WBC heavyweight titleholder Vitali Klitschko, who previously ran for mayor and is campaigning for a seat in parliament, “is fine” following an incident of protest on Wednesday during which he was sprayed with tear gas in his hometown of Kiev, Ukraine, according to Tom Loeffler of the Klitschko’s promotional company, K2 Promotions.
According to reports, tear gas was dispensed to quell a riot, and Klitschko was photographed with blood streaming from a gash on his right hand. Klitschko was protesting a Russian language bill passed by parliament that makes Russian, not Ukrainian, the official language in some formal settings in the country that was once a Soviet republic.
But Loeffler said that Vitali Klitschko worked out on Friday alongside his 36-year-old brother, Wladimir Klitschko (57-3, 50 KOs), who is THE RING champion and will be after his 16 straight win against Tony Thompson on Saturday night in defense of his IBF, WBA and WBO belts in Switzerland.
“Vitali is fine, no cuts on his hands, it was just a scratch,” wrote Loeffler in an e-mail to RingTV.com. “Vitali was training with Wladimir in the ring today.”
Vitali Klitschko (44-2, 40 KOs) also accompanied Wladimir to Friday’s weigh-in for the Thompson fight, and will pursue his 13th straight victory in defense of his belt against Manuel Charr of Germany (21-0, 11 KOs) on Sept. 8 at Olympisky Sport Hall in Moscow.
Vitali Klitschko, who will turn 41 on July 19, is coming off a unanimous decision over Dereck Chisora in March. Klitschko’s last loss was more than nine years ago by disputed sixth-round technical stoppage (on cuts) to Lennox Lewis in June of 2003.
After facing Charr, Klitschko plans to return to his political duties. As leader of the UDAR Party, Klitschko will take part in the Ukrainian Parliament elections on Oct. 28.
“I would like to continue to fight,” said Klitschko earlier regarding thoughts on retirement. “I will make my decision after the election.”
Photos by KMG Management
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org