Former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko announces retirement

Posted: 04/08/2017 in Boxing, Sports
Tags: , , , ,

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Wladimir Klitschko, whose second of two title reigns was the second-longest in heavyweight boxing history, announced his retirement from the sport on Thursday, a little over three months after he was stopped in the 11th round of a thrilling, back-and-forth fight with up-and-coming star Anthony Joshua.

Klitschko, 41, held a rematch clause with England’s Joshua, but opted for retirement following a sensational 21-year pro career which included an all-time record 29 heavyweight championship fights.

“I deliberately took a few weeks to make my decision, to make sure I had enough distance from the fight at Wembley Stadium,” Klitschko said, per ESPN. “As an amateur and a professional boxer, I have achieved everything I dreamed of, and now I want to start my second career after sports. I would have never imagined that I would have such a long and incredibly successful boxing career. I’m very thankful for this. Thanks to everyone who has always supported me especially my family, my team, and my many fans.”

The Ukrainian, known as “Dr. Steelhammer,” won the super heavyweight gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. He claimed the WBO heavyweight title in an October 2000 win over Chris Byrd, defending it five times before an upset knockout loss to Corrie Sanders in March 2003. Three fights later while challenging for the same belt in April 2004, he was stopped again, this time by Lamon Brewster.

But Klitschko wouldn’t lose another fight until November 2015 (to Tyson Fury), reeling off 22 straight victories, including his 9-plus year run as heavyweight champion from 2006-15, during which he unified three belts. Only Joe Louis held the title for longer.

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