WBC World Heavyweight Champion Vitali Klitschko has decided to vacate his title in order to pursue his political career in his native Ukraine, stating: "I am now concentrating on the politics in Ukraine, I feel people need me there."
In the wake of his announcement the organisation have given him 'emeritus' status, which gives him the chance to fight for the title if he were to decide to come out of effective retirement.
Klitschko, 42, has held the WBC version of the belt since defeating Nigeria's Samuel Peter in 2008. That fight was his first after a long injury layoff, and a title shot he was given through his champion emeritus status at the time.
Having been given emeritus status now for a second time, Vitali is playing down talk of a future comeback as he steps up his work as leader of the opposition in his homeland, saying: "This offer makes it theoretically possible to return to the ring, which I cannot imagine at all happening as things stand now."
The WBC also released a statement on their decision to award their champion emeritus status for the second time in his career, effectively allowing him to return to the sport when he wants.
'The WBC is proud and honored to confirm the status of Vitali Klitschko as WBC Heavyweight World Champion Emeritus. Undoubtedly, Vitali has earned that distinction through his actions inside and outside the ring,' the announcement read.
Vitali Klitschko is fighting the fight of his life, this time outside the ring. The Ukrainian is showing to the world the true heart of a champion by leading his countrymen to battle in the streets in their search of human equality, rights and peace for the great country of the Ukraine.
The WBC will conduct a very special ceremony to award Klitschko his WBC Emeritus Champion distinction in the very near future.
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