News / Europe

Ukrainian Boxing Champ Enters Parliament

Heavyweight boxing champion and UDAR (Punch) party leader Vitaly Klitschko attends a news conference at his party's election headquarters in Kiev, October 29, 2012.
Heavyweight boxing champion and UDAR (Punch) party leader Vitaly Klitschko attends a news conference at his party's election headquarters in Kiev, October 29, 2012.
VOA News
Vitali Klitschko, the reigning world heavyweight boxing champion, is about to engage in a different kind of fight.

He is set to enter Ukraine's parliament as a lawmaker and the head of the UDAR party, following Sunday's parliamentary elections. UDAR stands for Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms. The word also means "punch" in Ukrainian.

The over 2-meters-tall athlete conducted a campaign in which he was critical of corruption and cronyism in the government of Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych. Klitschko said after preliminary voting results that he would join the opposition alliance.

Klitschko is not an entire newcomer to the political process. He has twice staged unsuccessful runs to become the mayor of Kiev. In a statement on his website, he says he has entered politics because he wants to help his country "toward a better future."  He says his country continues to lag behind its Eastern European neighbors. Ukraine is the second largest nation after Russia to emerge from the former Soviet Union.

Klitschko is only the fourth boxer - besides Muhammad Ali, Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis - to win a heavyweight belt for the third time.

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