Born Vitali Wladimirowitsch Klitschko on July 19, 1971 in Belowodsk, Kyrgyzstan.
Winner of 195 out of 210 amateur bouts, the 6-foot-7 Klitschko turned pro in 1996 in Germany and scored 27 consecutive knockouts. He reigned twice as EBU heavyweight champion (1998-99, 2000) and in 1999 he won the WBO title. Following two defenses he was ahead on all scorecards until a torn rotator cuff led to a 9th round TKO loss to Chris Byrd in 2000. He rebounded, including wins over Orlin Norris (KO 1), Ross Puritty (TKO 11) and Larry Donald (TKO 10) before meeting Lennox Lewis for the WBC title in 2003. Ahead on all scorecards, the bout was stopped in the 6th round due to cuts on Klitschko’s eyes. Lewis retired and Klitschko stopped Corrie Sanders in 2004 for the vacant WBC strap (TKO 8). After one defense, he retired in 2005 but returned to reclaim the title in 2008 with an 8th round TKO over Samuel Peter. An impressive string of nine defenses followed including stoppage wins over Juan Carlos Gomez (TKO 9), Chris Arreola (TKO 10), Shannon Briggs (W 12), Tomasz Adamek (TKO 10) and Dereck Chisora (W 12) before retiring in 2012 following a 4th round TKO win over Manuel Charr.
“Dr. Ironfist,” who has a Ph.D. in Sports Science, posted a record of 45-2 (41 KOs) and an 87.23 knockout percentage. Active in politics, Klitschko was elected mayor of Kiev, Ukraine in 2014.
Born: July 19, 1971