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SBD Global/December 12, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Ukrainian Boxer Klitschko Profiled As Example Of Power Of Globalized Sport Amid Conflict

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Ukrainian world boxing champion and popular opposition leader VITALI KLITSCHKO "is no MUHAMMAD ALI," according to Bruce Arthur of the NATIONAL POST. He "is a flat-nosed giant with old-world power and a stone chin, and he has won fight after fight with them, nothing fancy." Still, like Ali, "he is becoming a significant political figure, and like Ali, he is on the front lines of a genuine fight." Ukraine has been gripped by protests for the past three weeks after President VIKTOR YANUKOVYCH pulled out of a deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties to Russia; "the streets filled, a statue of Lenin was torn down, riot police were sent in to dismantle barricades and there have been tense moments." It "could have become violent." At one of those moments Sunday night, it was Klitschko who stepped in, "calming the crowd with a megaphone." He is already well known in Ukraine’s political arena; he was associated with the Orange Revolution in '04, "in which Yanukovych's fraudulent election was peacefully toppled; he heads the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform party, which is pro-Western and anti-corruption, and was elected to parliament" in '12. He "may yet run for president." If you watch the video from Sunday, as the 6-foot-7 Klitschko "is hoisted on somebody's shoulder and begins barking into the megaphone, the crowd's frenzy visibly dissipates." They listen. The 42-year-old Klitschko "is an example of the power of sport and its globalization; if he had been born 20 years earlier, he would never have boxed outside the Soviet system; when the revolution came, he might not have been able to calm a crowd with words" (NATIONAL POST, 12/10).
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