Posted 12:00 AM | Jul 6, 2009
61 Wins | 3 Losses | 51 KOs
|Birthdate:||March 25, 1976|
As triple Heavyweight and "The Ring Magazine Heavyweight World Champion", Wladimir Klitschko stands head and shoulders above the other title holders in the division. Wladimir's focus as reigning champion of IBF, WBO and IBO is to consolidate all the titles and solidify his supreme reign of the division, taking the heavyweight ranks back to the days of Marciano, Louis, and Ali when there was one recognizable heavyweight champion of the world.
Klitschko (55-3, 49 KOs) took the first step by putting his IBF and IBO heavyweight titles on the line in the first heavyweight unification fight in more than nine years when he scored a unanimous decision against then-undefeated WBO champion Sultan Ibragimov (22-0-1, 17 KOs) on February 23, 2008 at Madison Square Garden. His victory had solidified his position on top of the heavyweight division and with the successful title defenses against Tony Thompson, Hasim Rahman, Ruslan Chagaev, Eddie Chambers, and Samuel Peter he had shown the world that he is the dominant heavyweight champion of the new millennium. In his last three fights, Klitschko filled German soccer arenas Schalke, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt attracting an attendance of more than 150.000 people.
The 1996 Olympic Gold medalist, Klitschko is one of the most talented heavyweights of this era, and his dominance has led him to two heavyweight world titles. After holding the WBO title from 2000 to 2003, Klitschko also won the IBF title from Chris Byrd in 2006 and has made three title defenses with KO victories over Calvin Brock, Ray Austin, and Lamon Brewster.
"I have a lot of experience in professional boxing now," Klitschko says. "I have seen the opposite sides of this sport. I have seen success and I have seen failure."
That's something that can only come from experience at the elite level of boxing, a level Klitschko has been entrenched in for almost as long as he's had gloves on. From Olympic Gold at 20 and his first world championship at age 24, Klitschko has seen the peaks and valleys of this sport. While the wins are surely important, sometimes, it is the defeats which have taught the 34-year old the most.
Wladimir won the gold medal in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. After that he set about achieving success in his two passions - boxing and education. In 2001, Klitschko received his Ph.D from the University of Kiev. It came three months after he won his first heavyweight crown, a 12 round decision over Chris Byrd in Cologne, Germany.
As heavyweight champion Klitschko is able to put his considerable power and influence behind his work with the UNESCO project "Education for Children in Need," a United Nations foundation for the worldwide education of children. Klitschko and his brother, Vitali, raise money to build schools and hospitals in their home country of Ukraine, in Romania, Brazil and Namibia.
"Education is a fundamental of life," Klitschko says. "No education means no future." Klitschko wants to help the children use education to teach them a better way of life. Working with children in Third World countries gives Klitschko a different perspective on life and sports.
After his fight against Sultan Ibragimov at Madison Square Garden, Klitschko made a significant donation to the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, a global charity that funds and promotes the use of sport as a tool for social change. A major part of the gift supported a boxing program in the Bronx that gives children a place to train in the sport of boxing and encourage them in a positive way.
Klitschko realizes that success in the ring affords him the opportunity to be involved in these types of charitable ventures and to have a bigger impact outside the ring.
"I look at things in a different way now," he admits. "I enjoy being a fighter, I enjoy winning the fights, and I work on it everyday to be perfect. And though nobody's perfect, we all try to be."
It's something that took a long time for him to realize, something that comes not only with victories, but defeats. "I created a quote," he says. "From nothing to everything, it's a long way; but from everything to nothing, it's only one step."
Besides being a professional boxer, Wladimir is a popular media figure, appearing on such national programmes as NBC's Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno, as well as CNN International and ESPN's Rome Is Burning, with all of his fights being televised on boxing's supreme network, HBO Sports. Wladimir played a role in the blockbuster "Ocean's Eleven" as well as in the German movie "Keinohrhasen" and "Zweiohrküken". Further, he appeared in Chris Cornell's music video "Part of me". Wladimir is a prominent laudator at gala events such as Laureus, Golden Camera, Echo, MTV Music Awards or Felix Burda Foundation. For his achievements he got awarded with Bambi twice, UNESCO Champion for Sport, GQ "Man of the Year" and Sports Marketing Prize for example. Latetely, Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko's movie "Klitschko" premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in New York. It is an in-depth look of the journey from their humble beginnings in the Soviet Union to achieving their goal of becoming heavyweight world champions. It is in the movies around Germany since June 16.