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Vitali Klitschko: from Boxer to President?

August 31st, 2013 at 6:16 PM
By Phil Clark

It's not as uncommon as one might think for someone to go from a world perceived to be seedy and full of dishonest people like boxing to politics, a world infinitely full of seedy and dishonest people. In some ways it makes sense, in other ways it may seem like a freak show or a publicity stunt; it really depends on the individual making this move.

Current WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko has not only made the move into politics, currently he's a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, but he seems to be aspiring to get to the top of the political world the same way he's gotten to the top of the boxing world. Currently, Klitschko is done boxing for 2013 and is focusing his energy on a possible run for the Ukrainian Presidency.

To really nail home the point made above about how Vitali's move into politics isn't even that rare, one only has to look at one of the most famous boxers on the planet, Manny Pacquiao. Currently, Pacquiao is a representative in his native Philippines and though he's never explicitly said it, a Presidential run is very likely at some point after Pacquiao retires from boxing, whenever that may be.

There's also Alexis Arguello who went from a noteworthy boxing career to a short and somewhat controversial political career in his native Nicaragua.

To fully understand how common this kind of athlete getting into politics has become, one also has to understand that mixed martial arts and even pro wrestling have been represented in the political world by former competitors.

Chris Lytle became the first MMA fighter to enter into politics after his retirement from the sport in 2011. Lytle ran in the Republican primary in an attempt to win a State Senate seat in Indiana. Unfortunately, Lyle finished second out of three in the primary, but has vowed to run again.

Pro wrestling has been represented in politics prominently both in the U.S. and Japan over the years.

One of Japan's most famous wrestlers, Antonio Inoki, is the one who could be given a good amount for making a move from pro wrestling into politics not seem like something crazy. Inoki was elected into Japan's House of Councillors in 1989, but lost his attempt at re-election in 1995. Inoki then made a political comeback in 2013, winning election to one of the 48 seats in Japan's Upper House branch of government.

Inoki's influence as far as getting into politics has lead to other Japanese wrestlers getting into politics. Such wrestlers include The Great Sasuke, one of the most famous masked wrestlers of the 1990's, and Atsushi Onita, Japan's most famous hardcore wrestler.

In American politics, there's no pro wrestler that made a bigger instant impact than Jesse “The Body” Ventura. Running as a member of the Reform party, Ventura shocked the political world by winning election and becoming governor of Minnesota, being sworn into office in January 1999.

What this writer is getting at is nothing Vitali is doing is new, except for the office he may be aiming to win election into.

It's one thing to run for a seat as a representative or even for governor, but president is a totally different thing. It's no longer about just working for your constituents or governing a state, it's about representing and governing an entire country.

However, it is somewhat refreshing to see boxers having a social conscience outside of just doing some charity work. There's nothing wrong with doing charity work, but we are talking about someone trying to help society on a much larger scale. It's something that hasn't been seen in boxing for a long time, but better late than never, right?

It may not involve the U.S., but we are hopeful that there will be a day where two prominent former boxers are presidents of their native countries. One can always hope, right?

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Tags: Alexis Arguello, Boxing, Manny Pacquiao, politics, Vitali Klitschko

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