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Vitali Retires From Boxing

Leonard Washington

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too bad i wanted to see him fight rahman. :(


World heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko hopes his retirement through injury will pave the way for a new champion to revitalise the flagging division.

The Germany-based Ukrainian, who holds the WBC belt, postponed his defence against American Hasim Rahman for the fourth time after spraining his right knee in training last week.

Klitschko, 34, came under heavy criticism for the withdrawal from the fight, which was scheduled to take place in Las Vegas this weekend.

His title was in danger of being taken from him after the latest postponement but by retiring and pre-empting a WBC decision, Klitschko becomes only the third reigning world heavyweight champion to step down after Rocky Marciano and Lennox Lewis.

After failing to respond to medical treatment Klitschko has called it a day having failed to defend his belt since mauling Britain's Danny Williams almost a year ago in his first defence.

That victory over Williams was his first fight since he claimed the belt vacated by Lennox Lewis by beating South African Corrie Sanders in April last year.

Klitschko admitted a succession of injuries convinced him to make the decision, which leaves an already weak heavyweight division bereft of a genuine champion.

"Recently I have been bothered more by my injuries than opponents in the ring," Klitschko said in a statement.

"It was a very hard decision for me to end my professional career. But I want to retire at the top and now make room for my successors.

"I want to thank my team, the media and the fans for their cooperation and their support.

"I seek new social and political challenges in my home country Ukraine."

A torn knee ligament and back injuries had plagued Klitschko's career before he suffered another injury while sparring last week.

The WBC are expected to declare the title vacant and 'interim champion' Rahman will probably meet another contender - Turkey's Sinan Samil Sam is next in line in the WBC rankings should he overcome Oleg Maskaev - to decide the new champion.

Lamon Brewster holds the WBO version of the title with John Ruiz (WBA) and Chris Byrd (IBF) the other champions.

James Toney is another leading contender, having beaten Ruiz earlier this year before the victory was declared void when the former middleweight world champion failed a drug test.

After injuring the knee while sparring, Klitschko had an operation in California on Tuesday.

The surgeon, Dr Neal Elattrache, said after operating on the rupture in Klitschko's torn anterior cruciate ligament and injured medial meniscus: "The surgery took one-and-a-half hours and was a complete success, but Vitali cannot compete in professional sports for the next six months.

"With this severe an injury it would have been absolutely impossible for Vitali to participate in a fight in the near future. The knee was totally unstable and it would have not held up."

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If they really want to revitalize boxing, start putting the Prison fights on pay-per-view. Watching lifers beat the living crud out of each other, just for the sheer morbid enjoyment of it....now that's entertainment. These guys have real legitimate anger inside, and they have nothing to do all day but train and lift. No big pay days. No judging drama. Every fight ends with a knockout.

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