WBC heavyweight champion Vitaly Klitschko has put preparations for a bout with Polish boxer Tomasz Adamek on hold after hearing of the arrest of Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.
”When I learned about what is happening in Ukraine, I stopped my training for the match and returned to Kiev, as I understand that the real battle for democratic values takes place here – in Ukraine – and I can’t be a bystander in this situation. Tymoshenko was jailed on the eve of the anniversary of the Ukrainian independence. This shows that democracy in our country, which has lasted for just twenty years, is now being destroyed. If this will continue, we’ll always live under dictatorship and total corruption and may forget about the development of civil society,” Klitschko wrote in his blog.
Yulia Tymoshenko was arrested on Friday on charges of disrupting the functioning of the court where she was being tried for abuse of power in connection with gas contracts during her term as prime minister in 2009.
“Cases against the opposition leaders are initially politically engaged. So, if our justice is selective – who will be next to go behind bars? Are the authorities planning a war against its own people, in order to jail all of those who oppose their methods of governing the country? The consequence of these events may be the international isolation of Ukraine, which will put an end to the desire of Ukrainians to live in a free democratic country, where European values are cherished,” the boxer concluded.
40-year-old Klitschko is not only a boxing champ, but also a leader of the UDAR (or “punch” in English) opposition party.
The elder of the Klitschko brothers is scheduled to step into the ring against Tomasz Adamek in the Polish city of Wroclaw on September 10, but politics may now hamper those plans.