Wladimir Klitschko has retired from boxing, ending any hopes of a rematch with Anthony Joshua in Las Vegas.
Joshua defeated Klitschko at Wembley in April in a thrilling fight where both men were knocked down before the 27-year-old KO'd his opponent in the penultimate round. The victory allowed Joshua to unify the WBA, IBO, IBF world titles.
The rematch was due on November 11, but Klitschko ended any chance of that fight going ahead with his decision. A statement was was posted on his website, that subsequently crashed due to the volume of traffic.
Klitschko ends an incredible 27-year career as a fighter.
The fight in April drew a record 90,000 fans to Wembley - and the magnitude of the fight brought together network rivals HBO and Showtime - who both televised the fight in the United States. Showtime, who have an exclusive deal with Joshua, showed the live broadcast - while HBO, who had a deal with Klitschko, televised the delayed broadcast.
Klitschko was dropped in the fifth round, but rallied and then dropped Joshua in the sixth. He took over the fight, but then Joshua rallied to drop Klitschko twice more in the eleventh round for the TKO win.
Klitschko entered that fight after a long layoff and a disappointing decision loss to Tyson Fury in November 2015.
Even though he was stopped by Joshua, many critics felt Klitschko put in one of the finest performances of his entire career.
“I deliberately took a few weeks to make my decision, to make sure I had enough distance from the fight at Wembley Stadium. As an amateur and a professional boxer, I have achieved everything I dreamed of, and now I want to start my second career after sports.I would have never imagined that I would have such a long and incredibly successful boxing career. I´m very thankful for this. Thanks to everyone who has always supported me. Especially my family, my team and my many fans," Klitschko said.
Bernd Bönte, Managing Director of Klitschko Management Group: “Especially after this terrific fight at Wembley Stadium it was a very tough decision for Wladimir to make. But he has always emphasized that he wanted to retire if he didn’t have enough motivation anymore. Therefore this is definitively the right decision. Wladimir accomplished everything in his unique boxing career. He dominated the Heavyweight division for over a decade. He fought in sold-out arenas and stadiums worldwide and millions of fans around the world watched his fights on TV. It has been a privilege for me to accompany Wladimir on this unique journey. ”
The 41-year-old Klitschko is one of the most successful professional boxers of all time.
The highlight of his great amateur career was his Gold Medal at the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996. Afterwards Wladimir Klitschko started his impressive professional career. From 2000-2003 and from 2006-2015 he was the reigning World Heavyweight Champion. Behind the legendary Joe Louis, he is the second-longest reigning Heavyweight World Champion in boxing history.
He unified the Heavyweight titles of WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO. From 2008 to 2012 the Klitschko brothers (Vitali as WBC Champion) were World Champions at the same time and held all the important heavyweight world titles.
Wladimir Klitschko’s professional career stands at 64 wins in 69 bouts, 54 by KO. He competed in 29 world title fights, which is a unique record in heavyweight boxing.
For his outstanding performances and career achievements Wladimir Klitschko received several awards such as the Golden Camera, the Bambi Award (twice), the Sport-Bild Award, the German Television Prize and the GQ-Award.