“Klitschko” Doc Debuts on HBO Saturday



Coaches, athletes and pundits often use the word “brotherhood” to describe a team undergoing a journey so profound that they feel as close as family, or to indicate two athletes bonded in rivalry. The ultimate example of the word in both senses is actual brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, reigning heavyweight champions of the world.

Spanning four decades, the Cold War, an Olympic gold medal, a nuclear disaster, a political campaign and seven world championship titles, the documentary KLITSCHKO presents an intimate look at two brothers’ rise to athletic supremacy when it debuts SATURDAY, SEPT. 8 (5:30-7:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

Other HBO playdates: Sept. 12 (11:30 a.m.), 16 (8:15 a.m.), 20 (12:50 a.m.), 24 (noon), 27 (4:30 p.m.) and 29 (noon)

HBO2 playdates: Sept. 9 (1:00 p.m.), 11 (2:10 p.m.), 19 (7:30 a.m.), 21 (5:05 p.m.) and 27 (midnight)

The film will also be available on HBO On Demand® and HBO GO®.

Directed by International Emmy® winner Sebastian Dehnhardt, KLITSCHKO is a revealing all-access look at the first brothers ever to unify the heavyweight titles. The feature-length documentary recounts the triumphs and pitfalls of the Ukrainian giants through interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, highlighted by archival material and candid insights from trainers, friends, opponents and family, including the brothers’ father, who died shortly after the film’s completion.

Wladimir, 36, and Vitali, 41, who both began their professional careers in 1996, have avenged one another’s losses and worked each other’s corners. Vitali first became world champion in 1999, followed by Wladimir in 2000. Vitali retired in 2004, only to make a comeback in 2008 that led to the brothers’ historic unification of the heavyweight titles.

KLITSCHKO charts the brothers’ ascent from humble beginnings in the Soviet Union, the early successes that brought them to Germany and America, their subsequent professional setbacks and the recent dominance that has resulted in a combined pro record of 102-5, with 91 KOs.

Whether detailing Vitali’s struggles to combat political corruption in his native Ukraine or Wladimir’s allegiance to trainer Emanuel Steward, which led him to ban his brother from training camp, the documentary is a frank portrayal of two similarly strong personalities who are increasingly taking divergent paths.

The Klitschko brothers’ association with HBO Sports began in 2000 and has been highlighted by some of the most memorable heavyweight fights of the last decade, among them Vitali’s valiant battle with then-heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis in 2003. Combined, the brothers’ ring record on HBO is an impressive 21-4, 17 KOs.

In June, the Boxing Writers’ Association of America (BWAA) honored Vitali and Wladimir with the James A. Farley Award for Honesty and Integrity in Boxing.

The debut of KLITSCHKO opens a special day of boxing programming that also features a “World Championship Boxing” tripleheader, which begins at 9:45 p.m. (ET/PT) and includes Vitali Klitschko’s (44-2, 40 KOs) world title defense versus challenger Manuel Charr (21-0, 11 KOs), presented from Moscow.

KLITSCHKO is a production of BROADVIEW Pictures funded by FILM-UND MEDIENSTIFTUNG NRW; directed by Sebastian Dehnhardt; produced by International Emmy® winner Leopold Hoesch; edited by Lars Roland; cinematography by Johannes Imdahl; original score by Stefan Ziehten. Universal Pictures International Entertainment is the global multi-platform distributor for KLITSCHKO (excluding U.S. and Germany).