Boxing Champ Running For President in Ukraine

Vitali Klitschko announced he will run in 2015

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Ukrainian heavy weight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko announced Thursday that he’s running for president in 2015.

Klitschcko, who BBC reports is the first declared contender against the incumbent Viktor Yanikovych, made the made the announcement on the heels of the parliament’s adoption of a bill that tweaks the tax code. Now, if a Ukrainian national is a permanent resident in another country they will not be considered a resident of Ukraine.

Under the country’s constitution, presidential candidates are required to have been residents for 10 years before the election. Though Klitschcko has permanent resident status in Germany, he says it will not keep him from running.

“To head off these various schemes and attempts at getting even with me as a possible candidate, I want to declare this: I will run for president,” he said.

The 42-year-old boxer, who is head of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms and has campaigned against what he calls the current president’s “authoritarian politics,” isn’t the first athlete to run for office in the country. Soccer star Andiry Shevcenko retired from the sport in 2012 to pursue a political career. His party, Ukraine—Forward!, failed to secure a seat in Parliament after receiving only 2 percent of the vote.