It’s the end of a boxing era: After 64 victories in 20 years – including 54 knock-outs and just 5 defeats – Ukrainian heavyweight boxer Wladimir Klitschko (41) will this year end his professional career. In recognition of his outstanding achievements and to crown a legendary sporting career, Klitschko will be presented with the Bambi award for “Sport”.
“Wladimir Klitschko is one of the most successful boxers of all time and was the world heavyweight champion for many years. As an athlete, he symbolises endurance, discipline and fairness; as a boxer, he will be remembered for his intelligent technique, his hard right straight-arm punch and one of the best jabs in boxing history”, say the Bambi jury. “He is idolised by millions of fans all over the world who have dubbed him ‘Dr Steelhammer’ – a play on his steely punch and his PhD in sports science.”
Klitschko began his sporting career at the age of 14. Three years later, he became the European junior heavyweight champion. One of the highlights of his amateur career was winning Gold in the super heavyweight category at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. As a professional, Wladimir Klitschko is a two-time world heavyweight champion, having held the WBO, WBA, IBO and IBF titles and defending them over many years. After the legendary Joe Louis, Wladimir Klitschko is the longest-reigning world heavyweight champion in boxing history. He competed in a total of 29 world title fights, more than any other heavyweight in boxing history, and has sold out arenas and stadiums worldwide. He fought his last match on 29 April 2017 in London’s Wembley Stadium against British IBF world champion Anthony Joshua. After a fantastic battle, he lost in the 11th round following a technical knock-out. He turned down the opportunity for a rematch, worth several million dollars, choosing to end his professional career instead. “At some point in our lives we need to, or want to switch our careers and get ourselves ready for the next chapter”, Klitschko explained in a video to his fans.
Wladimir Klitschko is engaged to the American actress Hayden Panettiere, with whom he addressed anti-government demonstrators in Kiev’s Independence Square in 2013. He and his brother Vitali founded the Klitschko Foundation, which aims to help young people to a successful future through sport and education. He also works to help children in Africa, South America and Asia, and the Klitschkos have been named “Heroes for Kids” by UNESCO in recognition of their commitment.