Boxer Wladimir Klitschko fights against nuclear power plants

Los Angeles: Brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko are Ukrainian heavyweight boxers and the first siblings to hold all Heavyweight World Championship titles between them.

Today, 40-year old Vitali lives in the Ukraine and is the leader of the political party UDAR, which has an anti-corruption and pro-European platform. Last month he also won his 12th consecutive fight, retaining his WBC Heavyweight title.

Wladimir, 35, holds five heavyweight titles and will defend them on March 3 when he takes on French boxer Jean-Marc Mormeck in Dusseldorf, Germany. He spoke to Reuters about boxing and his plans for the future.

Q: You`re about to take on your 60th fight in 15 years. Does it ever get old?

A: "The feelings I get are different for every fight. You`re always putting everything on the line and this time, it`s going to be five titles on the line in my fight, so every one is very different and very special. This is going to sound funny, but I`m a very peaceful person. But it`s just so enjoyable to beat up people for a living!" (laughs)

Q: Last year, you and your brother were the subject of a documentary, "Klitschko." If your boxing opponents see the film could they have an advantage over you after noting your strengths and weaknesses?

A: "That`s what they think! Everyone has a plan until they get hit. If it helps them, then I`m happy for them, but nothing will be changed in the ring during the fight."

Q: How much longer will you keep boxing? Your brother has branched into politics. What are your plans?

A: "I will not just stay focused on sports. I`ve been building up my second life aside from sports for many years. At the moment, I want to keep it to myself and not raise the flag too early. It has nothing to do with politics, though. It`s going to be more in economics."

Q: Was boxing always just one part of a larger career plan?

A: "When we were growing up, Ukraine was part the Soviet Union. Back then it was a different country, a different way of people planning their lives. You had to be a politician or an athlete to get out of the country, otherwise you had no chance.

"I wanted to travel badly. As a sportsman, I could go beyond the Iron Curtain. My brother and I had a talent for boxing. It`s a great gift of nature, of genetics, that I`m able to practice this sport and have this chance to be heavyweight champion of the world."

Q: You`re currently working on a documentary about nuclear reactors. Is that because of your personal ties to it? Your father was one of the commanders in charge of cleaning up the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.

A: "My brother and I are children of Chernobyl and it is part of our history. Today we`re facing really serious issues with nuclear power plants worldwide. Radiation is something you cannot smell, cannot see, cannot feel, cannot touch. It`s out there and could be everywhere. The (effects) of Fukushima will be there for thousands of years. They cannot clean it up just like that. And (the effects) Chernobyl are still being felt.

"I`m definitely against nuclear power plants. Germany gave a good example to the world when they made a political decision to get rid of nuclear power plants -- to close them and look for alternative energy."

Q: Your father passed away last summer from cancer - likely a result exposure to radiation. As children, you and your brother played in the contaminated Chernobyl water because no one knew any better. Do you fear there may be side effects for you both?

A: "No. We have been checked up and down and inside out. We are good, thankfully."

Q: You appeared in Steven Soderbergh`s "Ocean`s 11" and a couple of German productions. Is acting in your future as well?

A: "I`d do it as a hobby but it`s not the core of my dreams. I`ve been asked lots of times to play certain parts in movies, but I`m playing a very important part right now -- the part of heavyweight champion of the world. That takes up all my time. I don`t want to mess around with that!"

Bureau Report