Former world heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko says that he contemplated coming out of retirement to challenge Anthony Joshua following younger brother Wladimir’s April 2017 TKO defeat to the Englishman.
Joshua felled the younger Klitschko in a dramatic fight at London’s Wembley Stadium nearly two years ago after both fighters had traded knockdowns earlier in the bout.
Vitali was in his brother’s corner for what would prove to be the final fight of Wladimir’s career and is understood to have advised ‘Dr. Steelhammer’ to push for a knockout following his sixth round knockdown of the Londoner.
However, as Klitschko pushed forward in the final rounds he was caught by a Joshua combination which ended the fight – and some have blamed Vitali’s corner advice as a contributing factor to his brother’s loss.
Speaking to Ukrainian media, Vitali said that the result of the bout left him wanting to extact his own revenge on Joshua.
“I had a great desire to get into the ring after the bout between Wladimir and Anthony Joshua,” he said to Bookie Ratings. “There was a desire to tear off Anthony’s head.”
“In fact, in the career of the Klitschko brothers there was such an interesting component – I once lost to Chris Byrd – I was injured, but Wladimir in the next fight went against Chris and took revenge for his brother by knocking him out.
“Then Vladimir lost the fight to Cory Sanders and then the elder brother came out, knocked him out and took revenge for him.
“Now I had no such opportunity, although the desire wasgreat. There was a desire to tear off Joshua’s head, but opportunities no longer allow.”
Now 47 years old, Vitali’s opportunities in the ring were stymied by his pursuit of a political career, where he currently serves as the mayor of the Ukrainian capital and is also the head of the Kiev City State Administration.
Throughout his 47-fight career, his only two losses came to Lennox Lewis and Chris Byrd and were the result of a shoulder injury and cut above his eye rather than more traditional TKO’s. His 87 percent knockout rate through his career is considered one of the best records of a champion in history.
When he retired in 2013, Vitali was announced as WBC ‘champion emeritus’, which means that if he opted to reverse his retirement decision he would be handed a world title bout immediately without the requirement of any fights beforehand.
The current WBC champion is Deontay Wilder, though it remains extremely unlikely that Vitali would seriously consider a return to boxing.