The Captain: Dr Ironfist

The Captain: Dr Ironfist

The Captain: Dr Ironfist

First published in Sport

A seismic change is taking place as the boxing hall of fame welcomes the ‘Champion Emeritus,’ Vitali Klitschko into the fold.

For what seems like an age, the big Ukrainian has held doggedly on to the WBC Heavyweight title, making the odd mandatory title defence, but otherwise contributing little to what has been a woefully dull period for heavyweight boxing.

That is not to discredit his achievements. Klitschko has seen off every pretender to have dared challenge him for the belt.

Since his first title success in 1999 Dr Ironfist has ruled with just that, an iron fist.

Along with brother Wladimir the two have held all the heavyweight belts for the last decade or so, but now the 42 year-old has  hung up his gloves in favour of a run at the presidency in his native Ukraine.

Klitshcko is highly educated, bilingual and possesses the ability to both unite a nation and deliver a devastating uppercut - useful traits to have in the murky world of Ukrainian politics.

So all in all not bad for a man who's spent most of his adult life getting smacked in the head (when his opponents managed to get close enough that is).

 

Falmouth Packet:

Vitali Klitschko

But his time had passed, and now a new and unexpected  sliver of light is illuminating the sport of boxing’s flagship weight division.

And about time. The two brothers’ dominance has left the heavyweight division stagnant and in need of a shake up. Recent bouts have seemed a far cry from the bright lights of Las Vegas where the real money lives.

But who will define this new era?

Well, David Haye is essentially retired and now no longer the most marketable heavyweight out there given the disappointment of his last two cancellations against Tyson Fury, for whom the giddy heights of stardom and bright lights of the US await. 

Fury is by no means the answer to the perennial problem of how to rip a world title away from a Klitschko, and will in no way pose a real threat to the domination of Wladimir, but he at least will add a different dimension to heavyweight encounters.

Both he and Dereck Chisora could find themselves in a position to fight for the vacant WBC belt by the end of 2014, possibly against each other.

But for Tyson Fury, a man who nearly knocked himself out in an early professional fight with a wayward uppercut, Vitali's retirement represents his best opportunity to get a world title.

Whether that is actually deserved or not is neither here nor there, he will provide a completely different style of boxing to rejuvenate the division.

His is a style that will suit any pretender to the crown, all out attack. But more importantly he is willing to fight anyone.

It could be a big year for Fury and Chisora but an even bigger year for heavyweight boxing.

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