Wladimir Klitschko (left) once was the world’s most dominant heavyweight boxing champion with a 65-4 record and even earned a Gold Medal in the 1996 Olympics. His older brother, Vitali Klitschko (right), also a heavyweight boxing champion and member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, was elected mayor of Kyiv in 2014. Together the brothers hope to inspire other Ukrainians to join them in their fight against Russian aggression. Photos courtesy of Instagram. Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.
Former heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, 50, who is also the mayor of Kyiv, said he plans to join the Ukrainian Army to help repel Russia’s invasion. Klitschko, an athletic hero of Ukraine, took up politics after his boxing career and became mayor in 2014 after promising to enact change in hopes of a better future. He served as the head of the Kyiv City State Administration, and once led peaceful protests in opposition to Russia but now anticipates a fight.
“It’s already a bloody war,” Klitschko said Thursday on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, according to ESPN. “I don’t have another choice. I have to do that. I would fight.”
Klitschko’s younger brother, Wladimir, 45, also a heavyweight boxing champion and, like his older brother, a member of the boxing hall of fame, enlisted in Ukraine’s reserve army earlier this month as fears of invasion became imminent.
Former heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Ukraine's capital of Kyiv, plans to take up arms to defend against Russia's invasion along with his brother, Wladimir.
— ESPN (@espn) February 25, 2022
“Now, the Russian president [Vladimir Putin] is using war rhetoric … He makes it clear that he wants to destroy the Ukrainian state and the sovereignty of its people,” Wladimir Klitschko wrote on LinkedIn on Thursday, according to ESPN. “Words are followed by missiles and tanks. Destruction and death come upon us.
“We will defend ourselves with all our might and fight for freedom and democracy.”
Vitali Klitschko was 45-2 as a heavyweight boxer. Wladimir was considered one of the most dominant heavyweights for a decade, earning a Gold Medal in the 1996 Olympics and retiring with a 64-5 career record. Together the brothers are leading the charge of prominent Ukrainian citizens volunteering to defend Ukraine from Russian aggression.
Matt Fratus is a history staff writer for Coffee or Die. He prides himself on uncovering the most fascinating tales of history by sharing them through any means of engaging storytelling. He writes for his micro-blog @LateNightHistory on Instagram, where he shares the story behind the image. He is also the host of the Late Night History podcast. When not writing about history, Matt enjoys volunteering for One More Wave and rooting for Boston sports teams.