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Ukraine’s Next Great Hope?

Vitali Klitschko is a very rare bird, and at 6 feet, 7 inches and 245 pounds a very big rare bird. He holds a Ph.D. in sports science, boxing’s world heavyweight championship title, a seat in the Ukrainian Parliament, and is head of one of the main opposition parties, UDAR — which in English means “Punch.”

In October, Mr. Klitschko, whose popularity has surged in the turmoil enveloping Kiev, announced his intention to run for president in 2015. But is a man who has spent decades studying the “sweet science” of cracking heads in the sometimes seedy realm of professional pugilism really prepared to take the helm of a rudderless nation? Perhaps.

In the world of flying fists, the 42-year-old Mr. Klitschko, who began his professional boxing career in 1996, is something of an enigma. He has always been a strategic and cautious combatant, yet he is a deadly power-puncher with a record of 45-2, with 41 knockouts — the highest knockout-to-win ratio of any heavyweight champion in history.

When studied carefully, the sweet science (a term coined by the 19th-century British sportswriter Pierce Egan) has a lot to teach about life outside the arena...


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