- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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Vitali Klitschko will make the ninth defense of his third heavyweight title reign when he meets Manuel Charr on Sept. 8 in Moscow, K2 Promotions announced Monday.
The fight could serve as the 40-year-old Klitschko's swan song from boxing as he plans to turn his attention following the fight to his political career. Klitschko, who has previously run unsuccessfully for mayor of Kiev in his native Ukraine, plans to participate in the Ukrainian parliamentary elections on Oct. 28 as a leader of the UDAR party.
If Klitschko wins political office, he has previously said he would be unable to continue boxing. On Monday, however, he said only time will tell.
"I would like to continue to fight and I will make my decision after the election," Klitschko said.
As for the fight against Charr, it will take place at SC Olimpiyskiy Sports Arena, one of Europe's largest indoor arenas, and will be set up for more than 30,000.
"Charr is young, hungry and undefeated," Klitschko said. "He is afraid of nobody, always marching forward. I know that he will be extremely motivated against me and that is why I will definitely not make the mistake to underestimate him. I will give my answer to all his trash talking inside the ring on Sept. 8. It is great that the fight takes place in Moscow, one of the most fascinating cities in Europe. I am sure it will be an unforgettable show."
Klitschko (44-2, 40 KOs), who is 14-2 in world title fights, is coming off a lopsided decision win against England's Dereck Chisora on Feb. 8. During the fight, Klitschko suffered a ligament injury in his left shoulder and fought most of the bout using one hand, although he has recovered.
The 6-foot-3 Charr (21-0, 11 KOs), who has never faced a top-level opponent, will be at a significant height disadvantage against the 6-7 Klitschko, although they both typically weigh in the 240s for their fights.
"Vitali will see in my eyes that he cannot win the fight," said Charr, 27. "Many think I will come to lose but I am coming to win. I will shock Vitali and the boxing world and get his title."
Charr, who was born in Lebanon and lives in Germany, is coming off a 12-round decision win against fringe contender Taras Bidenko on March 30. Charr and Klitschko, however, have both faced England's Danny Williams. Klitschko knocked him out in the eighth round of a 2004 title defense one fight after Williams had knocked out Mike Tyson.
Williams, now long past his best days, was stopped in seven rounds by Charr 13 months ago.
The announcement of Klitschko-Charr comes just a few days before Wladimir Klitschko, Vitali's younger brother, defends his world heavyweight title belts against mandatory challenger Tony Thompson in a rematch Saturday in Berne, Switzerland.
Vitali Klitschko will make the ninth defense of his third heavyweight title reign when he meets Manuel Charr on Sept. 8 in Moscow