Vitali Klitschko returns to beat Maskaev in April

Former WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko will return to the ring in April, more than two years after injuries forced his retirement.

Vasyl Samokhvalov, who described himself as an "information adviser" to Klitschko, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Klitschko would face Oleg Maskaev on April 21 in Moscow.

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.

Klitschko's last fight was an eighth-round win over Danny Williams on Dec. 11, 2004. The 34-year-old boxer's back and knee problems forced a year layoff afterward, then his retirement with a 35-2 record with 34 knockouts.

Klitschko failed in a recent bid to be elected mayor of Kiev, but remains active in Ukrainian politics and in business.

Klitschko's younger brother, Wladimir, will defend his IBF heavyweight title against American boxer Ray Austin on March 10 in Mannheim, Germany, the AP reports.

He said he had submitted a request to the Russian Federation about the potential fight and expected a decision to be reached in the coming week.

Speaking about his return the 35-year-old said: "I have refilled my energy reserves and am in great shape and ready to return to the ring."

Klitschko had a famous bout with Lennox Lewis in 2003 just before the Briton retired and the Ukrainian said: "I am ready to show a world class performance again."

He underwent back surgery last April.

"I've been in the gym for a couple of weeks," he told the Boxing Press from Hamburg, Germany. "I am returning to the ring to get my (World Boxing Council) Championship back, and with the approval of the doctors. I look forward to reclaiming my title. I want to thank everyone who has been supportive during my short retirement from the ring."

Klitchko, of Kirghizstan, announced his retirement in Cancun, Mexico, Dec. 20, 2005. He was made WBC "Champion Emeritus," and was told he could return whenever was ready, United Press International says.

Maskaev has lost five times in his career but is undefeated since 2003 and has successfully defended his title twice in the last year, says

Source: agencies

Prepared by Alexander Timoshik

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Author`s name Alex Naumov