In looking back at the brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko let’s start with the older of the two former world heavyweight champions.
Vitali, known as Dr. Ironfist, 45-2 (41), is now 48 years-old and his name still comes up about coming back into the ring. He started boxing at age 17 as a kick boxer, and was a 6-time champion, twice as an amateur and four times as a pro. He compiled as a pro a record of 34-1 (22).
Vitali didn’t turn professional as a boxer until the age of 25, in November of 1996, in Hamburg, Germany. In June of 1999 he won the WBO World Heavyweight title with his 27th consecutive stoppage stopping Nigerian Herbie Hide, 31-1. in London, UK, in 2 rounds. After two stoppage’s in title defenses he suffered his first defeat on April 1, 2000 due to a should injury after 9 rounds though well ahead at the time by 89-82 and 88-83 twice to Chris Byrd, 30-1, in Berlin, Germany. In Byrd’s first defense he lost to Wladimir Klitschko.
In November Vitali would return to the ring after seven months to win the vacant EBU title defeating Timo Hoffman, 22-0, over 12 rounds. In his next fight he won the vacant WBA Inter-Continental title stopping former WBA World Cruiser title in the first round.
In November of 2002 Vitali stopped Larry Donald, 39-3-2, in a WBA title eliminator. This earned him a title fight with champion Lennox “The Lion” Lewis, 40-2-1, in June of 2003, in L.A., CA, in only his second appearance in the US. He was ahead 58-56 on all scorecards after six rounds due to cuts over both eyes. Lewis would never fight again.
Vital’s next three fights would also be in the US stopping Kirk Johnson, 34-1-1, in a WBC title eliminator in two rounds. In April of 2004 he avenged his brother Wladimir’s loss to RSA’s Corrie “The Sniper” Sanders, 39-2, winning the WBC title in the 8th round. Next up was Danny “Brixton Bomber” Williams, 32-3, who stopped former champion “Iron” Mike Tyson in his previous fight.
Vitali was scheduled to fight Hasim Rahman but suffered numerous injuries forcing his retirement. He would return to the ring almost four years later re-winning the WBC title over Samuel “The NIgerian Nightmare” Peter, 30-1, in 8 rounds, October of 2008, in Berlin.
Next, Vitali would stop former WBC Cruiser champ Cuban Juan Carlos “Black Panther” Gomez, 44-1, in 9 rounds. He would make a total of nine defenses over such challengers Chris “Nightmare” Arreola, 27-0, Kevin “Kingpin” Johnson, 22-0-1, Albert “The Dragon” Sosnowski, 45-2-1, Shannon “The Cannon” Briggs, 51-5-1, Odlanier “La Sombra” Solis, 17-0, Tomasz “Goral” Adamek, 44-1, Dereck “War” Chisora, 15-2, and finally Manuel “Diamond Boy” Charr, 21-0, in September of 2012. In 2018 Vitali was inducted into the IBHOF.
Now, let’s take a look at younger brother Wladimir “Dr. Steelhammner”, 64-5 (53), now 44 years-old. In 1996 he won the Gold Medal at the Olympics in Atlanta, GA, in the Super Heavyweight division.
Turning professional in November of 1996 Wladimir won his first twenty-four fights before losing to Ross “The Boss” Purity, 24-13-1, in 11 rounds, in Kiev, UKR. Three years later brother Vitali would stop Purity.
In September of 1999 Wladimir won the vacant EBU title stopping Axel Schulz, 26-3-1, in 8 rounds in Germany. In his next fight he made his second US appearance stopping Phil “The Enforcer” Jackson, 43-8, in Las Vegas, NV, in two rounds.
In October of 2000, Wladimir would win the WBO World title defeating Chris “Rapid Fire” Byrd, 31-1, in Cologne, Germany, over 12 rounds. He would defend his title five times over challengers, Derrick “D-Train” Jefferson, 23-2-1, Charles Shufford, 17-1, Frans “The White Buffalo” Botha, 44-3-1, Ray “Merciless” Mercer, 30-4-1, and Jameel “Big Time” McCline, 28-2-3. Three fights in US and two in Germany.
In March of 2003 Wladimir was stopped by Corrie “The Sniper” Sanders, 38-2, in the second round in Hannover, Germany. He would return with a pair of stoppages before losing to Lamon “Relentless” Brewster, 29-2, for the vacant WBO world title in five rounds in Las Vegas, NV.
Wladimir returned with three wins with the third over Samuel “The Nigerian Nightmare” Peter, 22-0, in a WBA and IBF eliminator fight. In April of 2006 he won the IBF and IBO titles defeating Byrd for a second time. In his next fight he would stop Calvin “The Boxing Banker” Brock, 29-0, in MSG, New York.
Wladimir won twenty-two fights since his loss to Brewster. He won reverse the loss to Brewster within winning those fights. Included were wins over Sultan Ibragivov, 22-01, Tony “The Tiger” Thompson, 31-1, twice, Hasim Rahman, 45-6-2, Ruslan “White Tyson” Chagaev, 25-0-1, “Fast” Eddie Chambers, 35-1, Samuel Peter, 35-3, David “Hayemaker” Haye, 25-1, Mariusz “The Viking” Wach, 27-0, Francesco Pianeta, 28-0-1, Alexander Povetkin, 26-0, Kubrat Pulev, 20-0, and Bryant Jennings, 19-0, before losing to Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury, 24-0, in November of 2015, over 12 rounds.
In Wladimir’s final fight which was next in April 2017, he was stopped by Anthony “AJ” Joshua, 18-0, having Joshua down once while being downed three times finally losing in the eleventh round. The scoring was 93-96, 93-95 and 95-93 at the time. In August he announced his retirement.
That is a look at the Klitschko brothers who brought quite a bit of excitement to the heavyweight division.