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Vitali Klitschko finally vacates the WBC belt to focus on Ukrainian politics

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According to ESPN.com, Vitali Klitschko relinquished the WBC belt on Monday to focus on the political unrest that is ravaging his native Ukraine.

The 6-foot-7, 247 pound Klitschko (45-2, 41 KOs) and other opposition leaders are seeking to force the resignations of President Viktor Yanukovych and his cabinet members.

Klitschko, who recently oversaw the toppling of Vladimir Lenin’s statue, has demanded the immediate release of all detained demonstrators and political prisoners.

Regardless of interests outside of the squared circle, after roughly 15 months of inactivity, Klitschko had to vacate the crown and become a "champion emeritus."

"I want to thank the WBC and its president, Don Jose Sulaiman, for the support in our fight for democracy and freedom in Ukraine," said Klitschko, 42, who in October announced his candidacy for the 2015 Ukrainian presidential election.

"It was and is a great honor to hold the WBC title, and I've always done it with pride. 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 [and unified heavyweight champion] Wladimir will ensure more sporting success and I will, as always, support him as much as he currently supports me in my political fight."

A natural commander who has the strong backing of Ukrainians, Klitschko led the UDAR (Punch) party to a surprising third place finish last autumn.

In addition to being a talented politician, “Dr. Iron Fist” is one of the premier prizefighters ever.

Yanukovych and his flunkies will ultimately get floored and Klitschko has a tremendous opportunity to become the face of Ukraine.

Clearly, Klitschko’s “full concentration is on politics” and he could no longer hold the WBC hostage.

Likely “never to return to the boxing ring,” Vitali Klitschko was a great pugilist who should always be remembered for fighting “with pride.”

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