Vitali Klitschko steps down as WBC heavyweight champion ahead of political run

Vitali Klitschko has stepped down as WBC heavyweight champion so he can concentrate on running for president of his native Ukraine. Klitschko, 42, has not defended his title in some 15 months. Accordingly, the WBC has named him champion emeritus, meaning if and when he decides to continue his career, he can challenge the champion at that time.

This could mean that Bermane Stiverne and Riverside’s Chris Arreola, the Nos. 1- and 2-ranked contenders, will fight for the vacant title. But if Stiverne does not settle his litigation with his promoter – Don King – and is unable to fight, Arreola and No. 3 Deontay Wilder could fight for the title.

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Wladimir Klitschko to make another defense

If you are waiting for something to watch Saturday as a prelude to the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero welterweight title fight in Las Vegas (on Showtime pay-per-view), catch heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in his title defense against Francesco Pianeta from Mannheim, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany (on Epix) at 1:30 p.m.

Klitschko, 37, of the Ukraine, will be defending all three of his major belts. He is 59-3 with 50 knockouts, and has made 13 successful defenses. Pianeta, 28, of Italy, is 28-0-1 with 15 knockouts.

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