Wladimir Klitschko has officially hung up his boxing gloves. The Ukrainian superstar made his announcement official late Tuesday night, which officially puts the rest talk of a possible rematch with current WBA and IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
“I have achieved everything I dreamed of and now I want to start my second career after sports,” Klitschko said in a video posted on his official YouTube account.
Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) was the dominant force at heavyweight for a decade in boxing, breaking down every man he faced between October 2004 when he knocked out DaVarryl Williamson until losing a unanimous decision to Tyson Fury in November 2015. During that span, Klitschko went 22-0 with 16 KOs, beating the best possible opposition in that span.
Klitschko captured his first world title in 2000 when he dominated the elusive Chris Byrd for the WBO belt in Germany. He defended his crown five times before losing it in shocking fashion when Corrie Sanders knocked him out in the second. A knockout loss to Lamon Brewster followed wins over mediocre opposition, and the majority of the boxing world wrote Klitschko off.
However, he rounded with the win over Williamson and worked his way back into title contention by dominating Samuel Peter and then stopping Byrd in the seventh of a rematch for the IBF version of the title in ‘06. From there, he added the WBO title to his collection with a points win over Sultan Ibragimov in ‘08, a version of the WBA strap when he knocked out David Haye in ’11 and defended his belts several times before finally losing them all to Fury.
The last time Klitschko stepped foot in the ring, he fought a wild back-and-forth brawl with undefeated powerhouse Joshua in April. The epic battle saw both men knocked down and nearly out before the younger Joshua rallied down the stretch to clip Klitschko out in the 11th. The fight was so remarkable that many insiders said it was the best fight at heavyweight since the legendary trilogy between Evander Holyfield and Riddick Bowe; a rematch was desired by virtually everybody who fancies himself a boxing fan.
But Klitschko squashed those hopes by retiring at the age of 41. “Dr. Steelhammer” will unquestionably be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame when he’s eligible and was without equal at heavyweight at his zenith.