Vitali Klitschko, protesters stand against riot police in Ukraine


Vitali Klitschko, a 42-year-old Ukrainian presidential candidate, was at the center of a deadly uprising in Kiev that began on Tuesday and by Wednesday had left at least 26 people dead, according to The Associated Press.

A 6-foot-7 former WBC heavyweight titleholder, Klitschko, who is an opposition leader against PresidentViktor Yanukovych, urged anti-government protesters to defend their camp even as Ukranian riot police armed with stun grenades and water cannons moved in against them.

Having announced his presidential candidacy in October, Klitschko (45-2, 41 knockouts) vacated his title, for which Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola will fight likely in April.



Puerto Rican junior lightweight Jose "Sniper" Pedraza (15-0, 10 KOs) will face Mexico's Alberto Garza (26-6-1, 21 KOs) on March 22 in Ponce, Puerto Rico, according to a release from promoters Gary Shaw, Lou DiBella and Universal Promotions.

"I feel 2014 will be another great year for me. Against Garza, it will be Puerto Rico versus Mexico, a rivalry I always look forward to.   With every fight I'm getting better and better. Most of my fights have been against rough challengers who come to fight. That's why I feel I'll be more prepared for the next level of competition," ," said Pedraza, 24.

"I'm ready to challenge any of the top fighters in my division. First I need to take care of Garza. I want to make Puerto Rico proud every time I step in the ring. I fight for my countrymen, and I want them to know how much I appreciate their support. I'm happy to carry the weight of my people on my back. I want to bring prominence back to Puerto Rico."

Pedraza has scored knockouts in four of his past five bouts, and was last in the ring for a third-round stoppage of Alejandro Rodriguez in October.

"After fighting multiple times on global networks, Pedraza has quickly become a big star in Puerto Rico," said Shaw. "The objective is to keep him fighting on a regular basis as he marches up the rankings. I have a tremendous amount of confidence in Pedraza that he will make great progress in 2014. There are many big fights right around the corner."

Garza is coming off a seventh-round knockout of Eduardo Rios in January that helped him to bounce back after having been stopped in the fourth round by Nicholas Walters in November.
"Pedraza is going to have a huge 2014. ," said DiBella. "I'm very excited about his popularity in Puerto Rico, because he was born to be a star. It all starts March 22 against a tough opponent in Garza."



Two of Puerto Rico's top amateurs, Luis Paredes and Jean Rivera, will make their professional debuts on the Pedraza-Garza card after having signed with Shaw. Paredes, 20, is a southpaw who will fight as a featherweight, and Rivera, 18, will compete as a bantamweight.