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Wladimir Klitschko wants 'undisputed' status, gunning for Vitali's old belt

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Only one Klitschko is heavyweight champion. In December, Vitali Klitschko, 42, who had not defended his WBC heavyweight title in 15 months, was forced to relinquish it.

However, the WBC granted him "champion emeritus" status, meaning he can get an immediate WBC title shot when or if he chooses to return to the ring.

"I want to thank the WBC and its president, Don Jose Sulaiman, for the support in our fight for democracy and freedom in Ukraine," Vitali Klitschko said.

"It was and is a great honor to hold the WBC title, and I've always done it with pride."

"Right now, my full concentration is on politics in Ukraine, and I feel that the people need me there. 

"My brother [and unified heavyweight champion] Wladimir will ensure more sporting success and I will, as always, support him as much as he currently supports me in my political fight."

"The offer of the WBC gives me the theoretical possibility to return to the boxing ring which I cannot imagine at all in the current state."

Already RING Magazine Heavyweight Champion, Wladimir Klitschko (61-3, 51 KO) wants to become the first "undisputed" heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis in 1999. At the time, Lewis concurrently held the WBC, IBF and WBA heavyweight titles.

"Of course, it is my goal to bring the WBC title back into the Klitschko family," the 37-year-old Wladimir, the current WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion, told German daily Bild.

What's the difference between the RING Magazine Champion and undisputed champ?

A lineal champion (or RING Magazine Champion) is the "true" champion because he occupies the direct lineage that traces back to the first champion in his division(s).

RING Magazine, often referred to as the 'Bible of Boxing,' was founded in 1922, and began awarding world championship belts upon its establishment. The RING Magazine, although not a sanctioning body, has the most coveted belt.

And unlike sanctioning bodies, The RING Magazine has no financially-motivated agenda and receives no reward for its services.

A fighter with boxing's RING Magazine title (i.e. the lineal distinction) is best described as "the man who beat the man" and can hold that prestigious title without owning a world title belt from a sanctioning body. (For example, if Sergio Martinez was stripped of his WBC Middleweight title due to politics, he'd still be that division's RING Magazine Champion).

An undisputed champion is simply one who occupies the titles of all four major sanctioning bodies. Today, those bodies are are WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO.

Wladimir already owns the RING Magazine title, the lineage to the original championship dating back to John L. Sullivan in 1885.  

Already the "consensus undisputed champion" anyway, winning the WBC belt would be another 'feather in his cap' as he could claim concurrent ownership of all of the major world belts.

Hence, Wlad would become the RING Magazine and undisputed heavyweight champion.

With the WBC title vacant, it appears mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne of Canada will face Chris Arreola or Deontay Wilder to determine its new owner.

Regardless of who is victorious, rest-assured Wlad will be looming in the background as a possible future opponent. 

Quotes source: ESPN


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