Thursday 19 July 2018

Wladimir Klitschko retires from boxing to end chances of Anthony Joshua rematch

Anthony Joshua post-fight with Wladimir Klitschko. Photo credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Anthony Joshua post-fight with Wladimir Klitschko. Photo credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire Newsdesk Newsdesk

Wladimir Klitschko has retired from boxing after opting not to fight Anthony Joshua in a heavyweight world title clash in Las Vegas.

Klitschko had been deliberating over whether to take on Joshua for a second time this year, with a fight provisionally agreed for Nov 11 at the T-Mobile Arena.

But he has decided not to pursue the rematch and will instead quit the sport with immediate effect.

"I have achieved everything I dreamed of, and now I want to start my second career after sports," said Klitschko.

"I would have never imagined that I would have such a long and incredibly successful boxing career."

Klitschko, 41, was defeated by Joshua in a thrilling title fight at Wembley Stadium in April. The Ukrainian was stopped in the 11th round, having at one point looked certain to win.

His decision to retire means Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn will now have to find a new opponent for November. The Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev appears the most likely option.

Klitschko has been a fixture at the top level of the heavyweight division ever since he won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

He retires with a record of 64-5-0, having held the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO titles for much of the last decade.

Joshua had admitted earlier this week that Klitschko's delay over whether to accept a rematch suggested he was considering his future.

He said: "It is interesting. It can't be age, because for instance Floyd Mayweather is the same age as Klitschko and Floyd Mayweather is fresh, Klitschko is fresh.

"I think it's just he's achieved a lot. He took a lot away, even in loss, he gained a lot of credit, so if you can hang your gloves up with the world supporting even in defeat, he's got the respect that he wants to walk away with.

"Whether he wants to come back in and do it one more time - the delay is more of a mental decision I think. Not physical, because I know he's still fresh, he can still fight.

"It's a mental blockage of whether he wants to fight or not. It's a tough time for him, he's got family. His brother is probably advising him not to do it again. It's the voices around you that sway your decision as well."

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