Friday 19 January 2018

Off The Ball: Klitschko steps away from ring for toughest fight yet

Ukrainian has already had political impact -- but defeating government is a huge ask

Vitali Klitschko
Vitali Klitschko

Donny Mahoney, Diarmuid Lyng, Michael McCarthy, Colm Parkinson

There's a photo of Vitali Klitschko taken in the moments after he was defeated in the sixth round of his heavyweight title fight against Lennox Lewis in 2003.

The right side of his face is beaten to a pulp. His eye is black. His cheek is cut up and bloodied. Beside him, his then largely unknown brother Wladimir comforts him. Despite the savagery written all over face, Vitali still looks defiant. He would only lose one more bout.

On Monday, Vitali essentially called time on his boxing career. The 42-year-old is now squaring up to a much more dangerous opponent.

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