Ukrainian heavyweight boxer and opposition politician Vitaly Klitschko announced on Thursday that he would run for president of Ukraine in 2015. During his announcement Klitschko rejected legislation that may disqualify his candidacy after he spent many years taining in Germany.
The 42-year-old WBC heavyweight champion made his declaration to parliament after his opponents, and current ruling Party of Regions, amended a law on tax legislation in such a way that it could disqualify him. Rumors of his potential candidacy began to surface in August of this year.
Current incumbent Viktor Yanukovich is expected to seek a second term, despite a huge slump in his popularity during an economic crisis.
During his speech Vitaly Klitschko passionately declared, “Everything that has taken place in parliament today with texts of laws, directly backed by ruling party deputies, does not intimidate me and will not stop me. To head off all this conjecture and attempts to eliminate me as a possible candidate, I want to declare this: I will run for president.”
The heavyweight boxer used his time in the spotlight to condemn widespread corruption in Ukrainian society. He urged voters to bring him into power so he can create a more democratic society like that of other European countries.
Vitaly will likely use his popularity as the countries most famous boxer and his lack of domestic politics to his advantage. Playing the outside man in a country that is fed up with its government could help his candidacy.
In current polls Vitaly Klitschko is running even with Yanukovich.
In 2005 Klitschko ran for the mayor of the Ukrainian capital Kiev, a race he failed to win. While he didn’t claim office he did help set up a pro-Western liberal party known as UDAR (Punch in Ukrainian). UDAR last year claimed 42 seats in the country’s 450-seat parliament.
Klitschko isn’t just a heavy hitting boxer, he also earned a PhD which has earned him the name “Dr. Ironfist.”