Heavyweight boxer Vitali Klitschko has surprised many people in his homeland of Ukraine by pulling out of the upcoming presidential election on May 25.

Klitschko said he has withdrawn as a candidate and will instead support billionaire businessman Petro Poroshenko. The boxer also announced that he’ll now be running for the mayor of Kiev, which is Ukraine’s capital city. Klitschko is currently the head of the opposition UDAR Party.

Many political experts in Ukraine feel the move was made to ensure that both Poroshenko and Klitschko will be voted in to powerful positions and this will block former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko from returning to power.

Ukraine has been in a political mess during the past few months as some citizens want to rejoin Russia and others prefer to become a part of Europe. This has resulted in some violent protests and clashes with the loss of life over the past several weeks.

The 42-year-old Klitschko and 48-year-old Poroshenko were instrumental in the recent protest movement which saw President Viktor Yanukovych lose power in February.

Yanukovych wanted to form closer ties with Russia while shinning the European Union. However, in doing so, he was accused of corruption and taking away citizens’ rights to democratic freedoms.

Klitschko said it makes sense for Poroshenko to run for the presidency since he has the support of so many people. He said it wouldn’t be a good idea if he remained in the presidential race since he would rather have Poroshenko receive all of the votes rather than split them with him.

Poroshenko is a very popular figure in Ukraine as he has served as the country’s foreign minister, and owns a candy factory as well as a local television station. In addition, he’s leading in the polls and experts believe he has enough support to defeat Tymoshenko.

Vadim Karasyov, a Ukrainian political analyst said, “The alliance of Poroshenko and Klitschko will fundamentally change the configuration of the political field and will cancel out the chances of other candidates. It is clear that Klitschko is not fighting for the post of president, but for a future faction in parliament.”

But while Ukraine is preparing itself for the elections, there’s still fear of a Russian invasion into eastern Ukraine. However, Russia has stated that it doesn’t plan on interfering with the country and no military action will be taken against the former Soviet nation.

President Barack Obama has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to remove troops from the Ukraine border in hopes of peace in the region.

Putin remarked, “We have absolutely no intention or interests in crossing the borders of Ukraine.”

Klitschko announced last year that he’d be taking a break from professional boxing, and in fact may never fight again due to his involvement in politics.

He turned pro back in 1996 and racked up a record of 45-2 along with 41 KOs. He held several versions of the world heavyweight title and was the reigning WBC champion from 2004-12.

His only losses came to former champions Chris Byrd in 2000 and Lennox Lewis in 2003.


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