By Keith Idec
As much as Bernd Boente wanted to see Wladimir Klitschko avenge his loss to Anthony Joshua, Klitschko’s manager thinks the former heavyweight champion made the right decision to retire.
Boente believes a lack of “fire” and “motivation” led the 41-year-old Klitschko to pass on a lucrative rematch with Joshua and walk away from boxing. Klitschko announced his retirement on his website Thursday.
His announcement came as a surprise to many, including Joshua and his promoter, Eddie Hearn. They had hoped Klitschko would fight Joshua again November 11 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“I think that [retiring] was the right step because he said in every fight money wasn’t his motivation,” Boente told Sky Sports News on Thursday. “Therefore, I think it is more than understandable. I think it’s really the motivation, the fire, that wasn’t there anymore.
“He took his time to think it out and feel it out. And he also realized there was a chance to beat Anthony Joshua maybe in the rematch. But on the other hand, he knew it would again be a tough fight and no doubt about it, was one that the fans wanted to see. But at the same time, he had to go through a 10-week training camp again and if you don’t feel the fire, then it is definitely better to finish your boxing career.”
Ukraine’s Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) and England’s Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) engaged in an entertaining slugfest April 29 that generated interest in an immediate rematch. Joshua dropped Klitschko in the fifth round, but had to overcome a sixth-round knockdown to win by 11th-round technical knockout before a gigantic crowd of roughly 90,000 at Wembley Stadium in London.
Now that Klitschko has retired, Boente said he’ll be one of Joshua’s biggest fans.
“After the Joshua fight, he was totally disappointed because he’d done everything in the preparation,” Boente said. “He felt fantastic and he had Anthony on the floor. A couple of punches more and he would’ve been the winner. But on the other hand, Anthony won the fight. Anthony’s a fantastic champion.
“I think and I honestly cross my fingers that Anthony Joshua is that person [to take over]. He and his team will deserve it. He’s a fantastic personality and I personally cross my fingers that he dominates the division as long as Wladimir did. I think also Wladimir crosses his fingers that he and his team will be as successful as he was and his brother was.”
Klitschko lost his last two fights to far younger British boxers – Joshua and former champion Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 KOs). Before England’s Tyson Fury upset him by unanimous decision in November 2015, Klitschko had made 18 consecutive defenses of the IBF heavyweight he won from Chris Byrd in April 2006.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.