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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Klitschko in Maskaev Title-Fight Comeback

APKlitschko demonstrating in Kiev.
BERLIN -- Former world heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko is planning a comeback in April.

"I am returning to get my WBC championship back," said the Ukrainian in a statement Wednesday. "In November 2005, due to a serious knee injury, I retired without having lost the WBC belt in the ring.

"At the WBC gala on December 20, 2005 in Cancun, Mexico, the WBC designated me as 'WBC Champion Emeritus' and assured me that whenever I was ready to return, I would become the immediate mandatory challenger for the title."

Klitschko plans to return against holder Oleg Maskaev on April 21 in Moscow.

"I'm back and I have requested the WBC sanction a bout between me and Oleg Maskaev," he said.

Last month, Maskaev retained his WBC heavyweight crown with a unanimous decision over Peter Okhello in the first world title fight held in Russia. Klitschko attended the fight.

"I look forward to reclaiming my title and want to thank everyone who has been so supportive during my short retirement."

Vasyl Samokhvalov, who described himself as an "information adviser" to Klitschko, said the knee injury that Klitschko sustained in December 2004 had all but gone away.

The bout will be Klitschko's first since an eighth-round knockout win over Briton Danny Williams on Dec. 11, 2004.

Knee and back problems prevented the Ukrainian from making a title defense against American Hasim Rahman and eventually forced the champion into retirement with a 35-2 win-loss record, including 34 knockouts.

Following his retirement, Klitschko ran for mayor of Kiev.

The 35-year-old did not win the election but continues to play an active role in Ukrainian politics.

Klitschko's brother Wladimir is scheduled to defend his IBF and IBO heavyweight titles against American Ray Austin in Germany on March 10.

"I look forward to seeing us all together soon and I am also excited about having the opportunity to fulfill the dreams of the Klitschko brothers being heavyweight champions at the same time," Vitali said.