Former World Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko has announced his retirement which of course will cancel his upcoming November rematch with champion Anthony Joshua.
“I have achieved everything I dreamed of, and now I want to start my second career after sports,” said Klitschko.
The two-time former champion, who held the unified title from 2006-2015 before losing to Joshua’s fellow Briton Tyson Fury, ends his career with a record of 64 wins and five defeats.
“I would have never imagined that I would have such a long and incredibly successful boxing career,” he added.
Early in Klitschko’s career he suffered knockout losses to the likes of Lamont Brewster and was known for fading in fights and not being able to take a punch. That all changed with arrival of Emanuel Steward in Klitchsko’s camp. With a revamped style Wladimir went on to dominate the Heavyweight division from 2006 until 2015 when he lost a decision to Tyson Fury.
Klitschko came back to challenge Anthony Joshua a few months ago for the Heavyweight title and lost a tremendous battle which saw him floor Joshua and looked to be on the brink of regaining his crown. The much younger Joshua rallied to eventually stop Klitschko in the 11th round.
A rematch was being negotiated for November in Las Vegas, but of course those negotiations have now been scrapped.
The Germany-based fighter announced his retirement in a video posted on his website, with so many people trying to access it that the server crashed.
In his video statement, Klitschko said: “Twenty-seven years ago I started my journey in sport. It was the best choice of a profession I could have made. Because of this choice I have travelled the world, learned new languages, created business, built intellectual properties, helped people in need.
“At some point in our lives we need to switch our careers and get ourselves ready for the next chapter – obviously I am not an exception to this.
“I am expecting and hoping my next career, which I have already been planning and working on for some years, will be at least as successful as the previous one, if not more successful.”
As for Joshua he must now face mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev before 2 December or risk being stripped of his IBF belt. Bulgarian Pulev, 36, has a record of 25 wins and one defeat, which came to Klitschko in 2014.