Brussels is used to seeing political heavyweights sparring over foreign policy or fighting for budget allocations. So it takes a slugger like Ukrainian boxing champ Vitali Klitschko to be able to knock out the hardy pros in the European Commission.
While waiting for a meeting with the EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele, a large number of Eurocrats lined up to get an autograph (for their children of course) or have their picture taken with the current holder of the WBC heavyweight belt.
Even the commissioner himself seemed a bit in awe and asked if he could pose in front of the cameras in a "boxing position" with both fists raised. Klitschko politely declined saying that "he doesn't fight friends."
Dr. Ironfist, as Klitschko is known, has been an avid supporter of closer ties between the EU and Ukraine but his ringside success has so far not translated into support at the polling booth.
His party, the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform
, which he has headed since last year, will probably not get over the 3 percent threshold needed to enter the country's parliament next year.
Klitschko has complained that he doesn't get enough coverage in the political media at home. Maybe his sparring partner Fuele and his starstruck staff in the Commission could help him with that.
-- Rikard Jozwiak