If someone who doesn’t like boxing likes a boxing movie, that says something. It was a fact I first learned with the great boxing film Thrilla in Manila. The fact has been continued with the fascinating documentary Klitschko, about the Ukrainian brothers who worked their way up the ladder to become boxing heavyweight champions. And not just one of them. Both.
Born and raised in the Soviet Union to a career military father, Vitali and Wladimir recount their childhood which included a stint at Chernobyl during the disaster. After becoming interested in boxing, Vitali soon started in the amateur circuit and experienced great success. It was only a matter of time until his younger brother, Wladimir, followed in his footsteps and later would win an Olympic gold medal for an independent Ukraine.
The film follows their rise to success in the professional boxing world, their failures and then their return to even greater things, including a career in politics for the elder brother. Klitschko also features interviews with many sports journalists in the United States as well as the brothers’ adopted homeland of Germany as well as boxers including Lennox Lewis and Chris Byrd.
Many athletes can come off as arrogant, spoiled and not very intelligent in interviews. Part of it is understandable, especially in a sport like boxing: to intimidate their opponents. But both Klitschko brothers seem remarkably down to earth in their interviews for the documentary. The documentary explores not just the physical aspect of boxing but the mental and emotional sides. Klitschko is a boxing documentary that will please boxing fans and non-boxing fans alike.