Business Insider recently predicted who would win, Russian President Vladimir Putin or Ukrainian opposition leader Vitali Klitschko, if they settled the international crisis in the old-fashioned way -- with their fists.
Both Putin and Klitschko have outstanding martial arts backgrounds. Putin has a black belt in judo and spent five decades studying the sport. He even made his own instructional judo DVD. Klitschko was a professional boxer for sixteen years and is still recognized as a heavyweight “champion emeritus,” said BI.
To find out who would be the victor if they were put into a ring to decide the crisis in the Ukrainian region of Crimea, BI consulted two martial arts experts who gave similar opinions about the result.
“Basically, a good judoka usually can beat a boxer pretty good,” professor Edwin Maley, an eighth dan black belt in judo who was chosen as the Black Belt Hall’s Judo Instructor of the Year in 1980, told BI. However, he emphasized that this would only be possible if Putin “was good enough” to overcome the size difference. Putin is reportedly 5’7” while Klitschko stands at 6’7”.
Brian Michelino, a gym manager and instructor at Long Island, New York, told BI that he has trained and competed in Brazilian jujitsu for “about a good five years” and expressed his opinion about a fight between a judoka and a boxer. “A judoka would generally have an advantage against a boxer of comparable skill.”
However, Michelino stressed that a judoka could only win if the fighter had a similar amount of experience and all things were equal, which was not the case here. He said, “Putin would get ‘crushed,’” since despite Putin’s love for the martial arts he still is a politician while Klitschko was a professional boxer for 16 years.
Klitschko has a physical advantage against Putin, not only in height. The Russian leader is 61 years old while Klitschko is 42 years old.
Maley, the professor, told BI, “I was just thinking today, if all of the judokas got together and wrote a letter to Putin and asked him to cut out the garbage,” it might help diffuse the Crimea crisis.
Ultimately, because of his “conditioning, Klitschko probably has the edge,” BI concluded.
By Ha Ji-won, Intern reporter (firstname.lastname@example.org