Vitali Klitschko has not fought since his September 2012 victory over Manuel Charr. Given both his age and his increasing involvement in the Ukranian parliament, there have been questions about his future as of late, with rumors of a possible retirement. Now, it seems that the rumors are perhaps premature.
Klitschko told ESPN that, while a hand injury will keep him out of the ring for the remainder of 2013, he does aim to return to boxing in 2014.
Unhappy about this news is Bermaine Stiverne. The mandatory challenger has been very outspoken about his frustration, as he told ESPN:
"I would hate to think the WBC treats some fighters more highly than others," Stiverne said. "I don't understand. [Timothy] Bradley was stripped when he was injured, but I've read that the WBC would never strip Vitali. Do they have favorites? All fighters should be treated the same. We haven't heard anything directly from the WBC. The WBC isn't respecting us or its own rules.
"I remember when [then-heavyweight titleholder Oleg] Maskaev was hurt before his fight with [Sam] Peter, and Peter was named the WBC interim champion. This isn't fair or respectful, and it's bad for boxing."
Whatever Stiverne may think, for now at least, he's stuck waiting out Klitschko. Hopefully he'll get his shot at Vitali in 2014.
In the meantime, it's up to younger brother Wladimir to defend the family name. He next faces Alexander Povetkin on October 5.