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Vitali Klitschko vacates heavyweight title

The SportsXchange

Vitali Klitschko, who has not defended his WBC heavyweight title in 15 months and is involved in the political unrest in his native Ukraine, vacated his title Monday.

As a result, the WBC named him the organization's "champion emeritus." If Klitschko, 42, decides to fight again, he will have the opportunity to fight for the title.

Vitali Klitschko is the older brother of Wladimir Klitschko, who successfully defended his WBA, IBF, WBO and The Ring heavyweight titles with a unanimous decision over Alexander Povetkin in October.

Even the WBC left the door open for though Vitali Klitschko to return, it does not sound as if he intends to fight again.

"I want to thank the WBC and its president, Don Jose Sulaiman, for the support in our fight for democracy and freedom in Ukraine," Vitali Klitschko said. "It was and is a great honor to hold the WBC title and I've always done it with pride. The offer of the WBC gives me the theoretical possibility to return to the boxing ring, which I cannot imagine at all to the current state.

"Right now, my full concentration is on politics in Ukraine, and I feel that the people need me there. My brother [and unified heavyweight champion] Wladimir will ensure more sporting success and I will, as always, support him as much as he currently supports me in my political fight."

This is the second time Vitali Klitschko has been designated as a "champion emeritus."

He vacated the title and retired in 2005 because of injuries, but returned in 2008 and beat titleholder Samuel Peter to regain the title.

Vitali Klitschko is 45-2 with 41 knockouts. The Klitschko brothers have said they would never fight each other in a unification bout.
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