Saturday 24 March 2018

How Wladimir Klitschko's shock retirement could have ramifications for Katie Taylor

Wladimir Klitschko and Katie Taylor
Wladimir Klitschko and Katie Taylor

Sean McGoldrick

The surprise decision of former World heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko to quit boxing could jeopardise Katie Taylor’s dream of fighting for a World title in Las Vegas in November.

Klitschko was being lined up for a multi-million dollar re-match against newly crowned World title holder Anthony Joshua in Las Vegas later this year.

Katie Taylor’s promoter Eddie Hearn indicated after her successful US debut in Brooklyn last weekend that the former Olympic champion would fight for the World belt on the undercard of the proposed Klitschko v Joshua showdown in Las Vegas.

It had been anticipated that this fight would be formally confirmed next week. Significantly, however, Klitschko never said that he would take up the offer of a re-match against Joshua. He dropped the bombshell today by announcing he was quitting the ring. “I have achieved all I want in the sport,” said the 41 year old Ukrainian.

Joshua will now almost certainly faced 36 year old Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev in a mandatory defence of his IBF World belt before the end of the year. Taylor could fight for her World belt on this bill.

But a Joshua-Pulev fight is not nearly as big a box office attraction as a rematch between Klitschko and Joshua and it remains to be seen whether it will take place in Las Vegas.

A gold medallist in the super heavyweight division at the 1996 Olympics, Klitschko was one of the outstanding champions in the modern era. A two-time former world heavyweight champion, he won all but five of his 69 professional fights.

Earlier this year, he was involved in one of the most dramatic heavyweight showdowns in the history of boxing, in front of a post war record crowd of 90,000 at Wembley Stadium when he surrendered his title to Joshua.

In a high octane contest Joshua – who himself looked in trouble in the fifth round – sent his opponent to the canvass in the 11th round. Klitschko rose but Joshua knocked him down for the second with a deadly left hook.

Klitschko bravely tried to continue but when Joshua trapped him on the ropes and landed a succession of punches the referee intervened and stopped the fight. And it has now transpired that loss marked the end of his career.

Online Editors

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