A protest in Ukraine over the advancement of the Russian language turned violent on Wednesday, and WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko found himself right in the middle of the action. Fortunately, he was not seriously injured. Klitschko is an important political figure in the Ukraine, as he is running for mayor of Kiev and is the leader of Ukrainian political party UDAR.
According SI.com, police had to use batons and tear gas to subdue the crowd when things got out of hand. Klitschko, who is set to defend his title in two months against Manuel Charr, felt the effects of the tear gas and suffered a minor cut to his left hand, but other than that his mananger Bernard Boente said the champ is “totally fine.”
“I have spent a lot of time in Germany, in western Europe, in the U.S.,” Klitschko told SI.com in February. “I want the western life standards for my country. Ukraine is a young democracy with huge potential, but it doesn’t have those standards. I don’t want to wait for changes in my country. I know what has to change.”
Klitschko’s political party has been opposing a Russian language bill passed by parliament that would make Russian, not Ukrainian, the primary language in the former Soviet nation. Vitali is no stranger to violence outside of the boxing ring, but his fans are no doubt breathing a sigh of relief that he was able to escape the violent protest without serious injury.
H/T Off the Bench
Photo credit: Witters Sport-US PRESSWIRE