“It is the first time I watch a boxing, match, but I cannot support the lack of taste… When will we finally understand that it is not enough to embroider ‘Warrior’ in golden thread on shorts and put on airs? You need to work. And be a Professional! Klitschko won quietly and naturally,” wrote Ksenia SOBCHAK on Twitter after the historical fight between the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO champion Volodymyr KLITSCHKO and Russian regular WBA champion Aleksandr POVETKIN. Last Saturday, the Olympic Sports Complex in Moscow hosted the most expected in the world during the past few years boxing match. Ukrainian boxer turned out to be stronger in the fair fight, who dominated throughout 12 rounds and in the end gained convincing victory with a score 119:104. The statistics of the match proves the sports supremacy of the Ukrainian boxer. According to the American TV channel HBO, Klitschko carried out 139 precise hits on the head (43 of them hit the left side of Povetkin’s head, 45 – the right side, and 51 blows landed on jaw). Instead, the Russian boxer hit Klitschko on the head only 31 times and torso – only 28 times. According to the preliminary agreements, Klitschko receives 17 million dollars, and Povetkin – about 6 million.
However, the match is to be remembered not only thanks to the sportsmen’s professional achievements. Long before it, there was a special atmosphere in the media, the status of the event was discussed a lot. The meeting of the two boxers was nearly portrayed as a confrontation of two different worlds… Orthodox Slavic and European. Sportsmen’s opposite behavior types and positioning proved that opinion to some extent. Povetkin entered the ring in a black robe with “Rosneft” logo on it. Under the robe, he was wearing a T-shirt with “Russian warrior” printed on it (Povetkin’s nickname). And his entrance was accompanied with a song by Nikolai Yemelin “Rus.” Instead, Klitschko traditionally entered the ring in his trademark red robe while a song by Red Hot Chili Peppers was playing. The anthem of Ukraine was performed by Jamala, and the anthem of Russia – by Iosif Kobzon. In general, as reporters of the Russian TV channel Dozhd noted, “the external emotional background for Russian boxer Aleksandr Povetkin and for his competitor were as different, as foreign policies of Ukraine and Russia are.”
“GOOD” AND “EVIL”
Political analyst Viktor Nebozhenko explains what the fight between Klitschko and Povetkin has really meant for Ukraine and Russia. He points out that this time Russia staked on promoting the “Russian world” and Orthodox Slavic values again. But did it get any result?
“This fight was portrayed by the Russian side as a competition for Ukraine’s choice between the Orthodox Slavic civilization and ‘rotten’ West. Look, in what light was this fight served in Russian mass media: the German Ukrainian boxer Klitschko against the symbol of the Orthodox Slavic world. Some presented the announcements almost as a fight between light and darkness, between good and evil, between the obstinate European Klitschko, who, along with Ukraine, represented the ‘hopeless West’ and noble and great ‘Russian Warrior.’ According to the Kremlin’s scenario, the spirit and power of the Orthodox civilization should have defeated West. But everything happened in a different way. The consequences are obvious. If Povetkin was supposed to carry the Olympic flame after the fight and receive a state award on Putin’s birthday, now it is clear this is not happening.”
“HAS KLITSCHKO LEFT?” THIS IS A CAPTION ON PHOTOMONTAGE WITH NIKITA MIKHALKOV / Photo from the website DEMOTIVATION.ME
Nebozhenko is convinced that for Ukrainian boxing fans, it was a fight between the champion Klitschko and an interesting, promising, but not very well-known in Ukraine boxer Povetkin. No more than that. Ukrainians did not demonstrate any peculiar political associations with this match.
“Ukrainians were happy for this victory, they were not fanatically ecstatic about it. Journalists in media, and people on the Internet, especially on social networks, were happy that Klitschko defended his champion status. But it was nothing more than happiness. I have not noticed any excessive gloating,” Nebozhenko says.
“DO NOT LISTEN TO THE REFEREE! HIT HIM ON THE BACK OF THE HEAD!”
If Klitschko clearly dominated in the ring throughout the whole fight (and the most he can be accused of is sober-minded and not too spectacular style of fighting), the mood in the hall was just the opposite. Behavior of Russian fans became more and more surprising with every Klitschko’s successful blow.
It is possible to understand regular chants “Po-vet-kin!” (normal support for your favorite sportsman), but shouts “Finish him off!”, “Don’t listen to the referee! Hit him on the back of the head,” and deafening whistling of the crowd after Klitschko was announced a winner, were disappointing. Klitschko took the microphone and thanked the Russian boxer for the good fight, but spectators in over 150 countries, where the fight was broadcasted, could not hear his words, since the audience in the hall was booing and whistling madly. And one should keep in mind that it was not some scum present during the fight, it was basically Russian elite: politicians, businessmen, sportsmen, and showmen. In particular, such celebrities as Yelena Isinbayeva, Arkady Dvorkovich, Igor Sechin, Nikita Mikhalkov, Nikolai Valuev, Andrey Ryabinskiy were spotted. In order to watch the fight live, one had to afford to buy tickets for 10 to 20 thousand dollars (“Ticket prices for seats in the stalls vary from 12 to 20 thousand dollars. And it is impossible to get tickets for the ringside for any sum,” wrote Ryabinskiy in his blog). According to Nebozhenko, such behavior is “the Russian government’s attempt to show that the Kremlin and the people are united.”
“I can explain the whistling in the hall after Klitschko won by actions of Russian political engineers, who try to show the unity of Russian political elite (which was present at the fight) and common Russians (who watched the fight on TV). The ‘elite,’ wound up by the propaganda, got wild and whistled when a stronger sportsman won. This is not normal,” Nebozhenko says.