Boxer Klitschko knocked out in mayor fight

Voters in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev appear to have backed the current mayor over former heavyweight boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko.

According to preliminary results Leonid Chernovetsky is leading the field amid a huge array of candidates.

According to those figures, ex-boxer Klitschko would finish third, lagging behind second-placed Aleksandr Turchinov, a member of Ukraine Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko’s Bloc.
Seventy names were on the ballot in Sunday's election.

The election was sparked by Timoshenko, who accused Chernovetsky of embezzlement and illegally selling land in the capital.

But it appears that Chernovetsky has been again won the support of voters, meaning a knock-out blow for Klitschko. The retired boxer was quick to put his defeat down to the way the elections were run.

“The whole election campaign this time was marred by unfair moves and dirty technologies,” he said. “We registered a lot of violations at polling stations in the course of the voting. And our lawyers will later establish the scale of falsifications.”

But Klitschko still insists it is a good result for him, as his bloc will now have more seats in the city’s administration. He says he might have lost a battle, but not the war.

From boxing to politics

In a decade long career, Klitschko’s jabs and uppercuts won him the WBC heavyweight boxing championship belt and the Dr Iron Fist nickname.

But in the last three years he has become increasingly prominent in Kiev's political circles, even if his younger brother, Vladimir, continues his success in the ring.

Klitschko the elder made a bid for the mayor's seat in 2005, but was pipped to it by businessman Chernovetsky. Undaunted, he tried again, and attracted some heavyweight support to his campaign in the form of New York's former mayor Rudolph Giuliani.