Wladimir Klitschko has retired from boxing, ending all speculation of a possible rematch with heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
The 41-year-old lost to Joshua at Wembley in April after the Brit climbed off the canvas to secure a stunning knockout in the eleventh round, with both men taking huge kudos for an unforgettable heavyweight brawl in North London.
With a professional career ranging 21 years, ‘Dr. Steelhammer’ has notched up an impressive 64 wins, with 53 coming by the way of knockout, and only five losses on his record with the most recent two coming in the form of Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua.
His legendary status has been secured for sometime in the boxing world, and despite finishing his career on a loss, the respect Klitschko gained for his efforts at Wembley Stadium will never be forgotten, and in some ways was a perfect way to bow out with the ‘changing of the guard’ in the heavyweight division.
Making his professional debut in 1996, Klitschko started as he meant to go on in demolishing Mexican Fabian Meza in Hamburg inside the first round. Notching up a further 16 wins, ‘Wlad’ made short work of a collection of heavyweight hopefuls ranging from Carlos Monroe, Salvador Maciel to the Congolese challenger Biko Botowamungu who was disqualified after his corner-man refused to leave the ring.
He sealed his first world honour in 1998 after he knocked out American Marcus McIntyre in three rounds to claim the vacant WBC International heavyweight title, and from then on made several defences until reaching his first career stumbling block – losing his crown to Ross Purity in Ukraine.
Klitschko came back with a vengeance, and during a 16 fight winning streak ‘Dr. Steelhammer’ became WBO world champion after defeating Chris Byrd in a unanimous decision in Cologne.
Shock losses followed at the infamous hands of Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster, until the Ukrainian found a second-wind in his career and cemented his legacy as one of the most successful heavyweights of all time.
With wins over David Haye, Jean-Marc Mormeck, Hasim Rahman, Tony Thompson and Alexander Povetkin, Klitschko unified the division claiming the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and Ring Magazine belts, in a stretch that would last until that fateful Dusseldorf night against Tyson Fury.
With a methodical, robotic style, Klitschko has struggled to find genuine fans outside of his home countries, but with dominance and professionalism lasting over two decades the sport has lost a true icon and more importantly a exemplary role model.
Klitschko has released the following statement on his website…
Enjoy retirement, champ!
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