Former heavyweight champ Klitschko elected mayor of Kiev

Vitali Klitschko and other anti-government protesters carry a wounded man during clashes with riot police in Kiev on Feb. 18, 2014. Ukrainian riot police approached Kiev's main opposition camp on Feb. 18 after at least seven people were killed in the bloodiest day of clashes in nearly three months of protests. Klitschko called on women and children to quit the encampment on Kiev's iconic Independence Square over fears of a possible police assault.  

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Former heavyweight champ Vitali Klitschko has been elected mayor of Kiev, the pinnacle in a decade of political activism in his homeland of Ukraine.

"All change will begin in Kiev," Klitschko declared after winning 57 percent of the vote. The 42-year-old had been at the forefront of the protests that ousted the country’s Russian-backed regime in February and ran in tandem with billionaire Petro Poroshenko, who won the presidential election.

Klitschko, 42, and his brother, Wladimir, dominated boxing’s heavyweight divisions for years and held all the belts when Vitali hung up his gloves last year. Klitschko went 45-2 with 41 KOs. He won the WBO heavyweight title by knocking out Herbie Hide in 1999 and defended it twice; he won the WBC title from Corrie Sanders in 2004 and defended it once before retiring and vacating it in 2005. He came out of retirement in 2007 and regained the WBC title by stopping Samuel Peter in 2008. He defended the WBC title nine more times before retiring again in 2013.

"My focus is on politics in Ukraine and I feel the people there need me," he said at the time.

Klitschko’s only losses came against Chris Byrd in 2000, after suffering a torn rotator cuff, and then to Lennox Lewis in 2003, when the fight was stopped in the sixth round due to a cut under his eye. Klitschko was leading on scorecards in both fights. He never got a rematch with Lewis, who retired in 2004.

Klitschko’s political career began in 2004 when he became an ally of the pro-democracy Orange Revolution, and in 2006 he was elected to the city council in Kiev. He later became an advisor to then-President Viktor Yushchenko and was elected to Parliament in 2010 as the leader of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform.