Vitali Klitschko attacked, sprayed with fire extinguisher, during dramatic protests against new Ukraine law

Kevin Iole
Boxing Experts BlogJanuary 21, 2014

Every fighter who steps through the ropes and into the ring is taking a big risk. Former heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, a potential future president of Ukraine, is putting his life at risk every day in the hope of enacting democratic reform.

Klitschko led a group of 100,000 protesters on Sunday in Independence Square in Kiev against new laws outlawing peaceful protests in the country. Klitschko told television interviewers he is concerned about the possibility of a civil war.

The Klitschko-led Ukraine Democratic Alliance for Reform is angry about government attempts to cut ties with the European Union and seek a closer relationship with the Putin-led government in Russia.

The former WBC heavyweight champion has been urging peaceful protests against the government led by President Viktor Yanukovych. However, a small number of those protesters became violent and the 6-foot-7 Klitschko, holding a red megaphone, urged them to stop the violence.

He was sprayed in the face with a fire extinguisher, though it is not clear whether it was the police or protesters who sprayed Klitschko.

Klitschko expressed worry about the possibility of civil war in comments he made during an interview with Ukraine's Hromadske TV.

We must use every resource to resolve the crisis peacefully.

Klitschko is regarded as a leading candidate for the presidency in 2015. He failed in a previous bid to become mayor of Kiev.