Vitali Klitschko on sibling rivalry and the reasons he will never fight Wladimir

18 Feb

Alan Dawson – London

The perception that the heavyweight division contains no depth in quality has, in the past, prompted calls for it’s two dominant champions – Vitali Klitschko, 40, and Wladimir Klitschko, 35 – to meet in the ring, taking sibling rivalry to it’s ultimate level in a match-up that would be startlingly reminiscent of the awkward savagery demonstrated by Reggie and Ronald in a famous scene in London mob flick; The Krays. Neither Klitschko brother is interested in booking a professional bout but that does not detract from their general competitive nature with each other, as Vitali explains…

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Brothers in arms and draped in belts. Credit:

“It’s always a competition; any sportsman, any fighter has a personal ego [and a] sports ego,” explained Vitali ahead of the eighth defence of his WBC world title against Dereck Chisora in Munich on Saturday, February 18.

In terms of resume and fighting style, Vitali (43-2-0, 40ko) would have the edge… he has taken on the greater competition, has the career-defining fight (versus Lennox Lewis) and has the distinction of rarely losing a round, never being behind on the scorecards and never receiving a count. He also has an attacking spirit. During his first stint as a champion in boxing’s glamour division, he was notorious for knocking his opponents out early, yet during his second and third reigns, he has become known for his methodical beat-downs that render challengers into a painful submission during the later rounds.

Wladimir (56-3-0, 49ko) holds four alphabet titles (three of them major) as well as The Ring magazine’s belt, however, despite the honours, he is still missing the signature fight that defines a career. Furthermore, he has been knocked down 11 times and is a far more cautious boxer than his older brother. In his own words, Vitali was born a fighter whereas he had to learn to become one, but Vitali refuses to accept that it is he who is the superior fighter and nominates Wladimir as the more talented.

Vitali swims lengths. Credit:

“Between us as two brothers; we have a competition. Who is better? Right now we work together; we work together in training camp. We try to play in training camp who is better at table tennis; ping-pong.

“Who is better? We swim. I remember always when we were running, who will finish first? And, right now, we compete in the swimming pool and it’s always as (good) now as it was in the beginning of our career.”

He continued: “We have big competitions but, to be honest, I have developed my skills by myself. My brother has a big talent in boxing and in sport.

“I know my brother very well. He’s much more talented and right now he’s much younger than me; almost five years. And if we’re swimming in the swimming pool, other than a hairy chest, he’s much better than me. Sometimes in ping-pong, I beat him, but it is more difficult. Just one play where I’m dominate and that is chess.”

Even though the two will never engage in professional fisticuffs, that is not to say it has not gone on in sparring as the two have fought in the gym. According to Emanuel Steward, who trains Wlad and was told of the gym-fight, it was a blood-bath… the ring was caked in claret, the brutality emphasised by the fact that at the end of every round, the bell may have chimed but the power punching never ceased. Steward informed Wladimir that it sounded like it would have made a great fight, but the younger brother replied that they would never do it as it would end in permanent physical damage.

Vitali added that there is a further reason why they will never box – they made a promise to their mother.

“The competition between two brothers – it would be a great fight; one brother’s fight against another brother’s, but we promised our mum never do that and I love my brother so much and that why it’s never happened. So I’m sorry for all boxing fans.

“It’s my personal story and that why I can’t do that. But anyway, the competition between the two of us; we do that every day.”

Related article: Steward on Vitali and Wladimir fighting each other: Permanent physical damage would be caused

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3 Responses to “Vitali Klitschko on sibling rivalry and the reasons he will never fight Wladimir”

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