Evander Holyfield Takes Shot at Klitschko Brothers for 'Hugging, Not Fighting'

© AP Photo / Nick Potts/PAWladimir Klitschko's with his brother Vitali, right, after losing to British boxer Anthony Joshua following their fight for Joshua's IBF and the vacant WBA Super World and IBO heavyweight titles, at Wembley Stadium, in London, Saturday, April 29, 2017
Wladimir Klitschko's with his brother Vitali, right, after losing to British boxer Anthony Joshua following their fight for Joshua's IBF and the vacant WBA Super World and IBO heavyweight titles, at Wembley Stadium, in London, Saturday, April 29, 2017 - Sputnik International
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Things are looking up for heavyweight boxing fans since the end of the Klitschko brothers' era, during which spectators "lost interest" in the division because the fights were won "without throwing punches," four-time world heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield has said.

Boxing legend Evander Holyfield has criticized the fighting style of brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, who dominated the heavyweight division during the 2000s and early 2010s.

"The heavyweight division changed because of the Klitschkos. The judges had to score hugging sessions instead of fights. You go in there to throw punches, but at one point the fights were just hugs," Holyfield said, BoxingScene.com reported.

"When I faced Mike Tyson you knew that you were going to throw punches, but you also knew that you were going receive, and when I threw punches at you, you knew what you had to do — to avoid that punch and respond, you took advantage of those opportunities."

© AP Photo / Asam NadelHeavyweight boxer Mike Tyson, left, appears at a news conference to promote his heavyweight title rematch against World Boxing Association heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, right, Monday February 3 1997 in New York. The fight, announced by promoter Don King, center, took place June 28 1997 at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas
Heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson, left, appears at a news conference to promote his heavyweight title rematch against World Boxing Association heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, right, Monday February 3 1997 in New York. The fight, announced by promoter Don King, center, took place June 28 1997 at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas - Sputnik International
Heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson, left, appears at a news conference to promote his heavyweight title rematch against World Boxing Association heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, right, Monday February 3 1997 in New York. The fight, announced by promoter Don King, center, took place June 28 1997 at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas

Wladimir Klitschko announced his retirement in August 2017 after losing to current WBA and IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in London in April. His brother Vitali, who is currently Mayor of Kiev, left boxing in 2013. 

Wladimir holds the record for the longest reign as world champion of several different heavyweight titles, having held the IBF, WBA and WBO titles for 9 years and 7 months. Vitali was WBC champion for 5 years, 2 months and is the only world heavyweight champion to have never been knocked down in any fight.

Evander Holyfield is the only four-time world heavyweight champion and the only boxer to have reigned as undisputed champion in both the cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions; these achievements earned him the nickname, "The Real Deal."

© RIA Novosti . Grigory Sissoev / Go to the photo bankWladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin's bout in Moscow, October 5 2013
Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin's bout in Moscow, October 5 2013 - Sputnik International
Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin's bout in Moscow, October 5 2013
In 2011, the WBC reportedly agreed for a heavyweight title match for Holyfield against Vitali Klitschko, but the fight never took place. Holyfield's last fight took place that year, against veteran Danish fighter Brian Nielsen.

Holyfield said that the current generation of heavyweight boxers, including Joshua, WBC champion Deontay Wilder and WBO champion Joseph Parker, are more entertaining for fans than the so-called "Klitschko Era."

"I do not understand how those fighters who used to tie up their opponents won the fights, they won without throwing punches, because you had to use your skills more often. This division has lost interest because of the lack of action, but good things are coming," Holyfield said.

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