WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, a 42-year-old veteran who announced his presidential candidacy in Ukraine in October, has vacated his title and been named "Champion Emeritus" by the organization, which will soon determine the top two fighters to participate in an eliminator bout that will yield the successor to the belt that belonged to Klitschko.
"I want to thank the WBC and its president Don Jose Sulaiman for the support in our fight for democracy and freedom in the Ukraine. It was and is a great honor to hold the WBC title and I`ve always done it with pride," said Klitschko, whose 37-year-old brother, Wladimir Klitschko, is THE RING, IBF, WBA and WBO champion.
"The offer of the WBC gives me the theoretical possibility to return to the boxing ring, which I cannot imagine at all to the current state. Right now, my full concentration is on politics in Ukraine, and I feel that the people need me there. My brother Wladimir will ensure more sporting success and I will -- as always -- support him as much as he currently supports me in my political fight."
The WBC`s next highest-ranked heavyweights, are, in order, from 1-to-3, mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne, Chris Arreola, and Deontay "The Bronze Bomber" Wilder, according to WBC Secretary General Mauricio Sulaiman. The next three are, in order, from 4-to-6, Bryant Jennings, Mike Perez and Dereck Chisora.
"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," read a statement from Mauricio Sulaiman, in part.
"Vitali Klitschko is fighting the fight of his life; this time outside the ring. Vitali is showing to the world what is 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."