Former heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko retires

FILE - In this Nov. 15, 2014 file photo IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO champion Wladimir Klitschko from Ukraine celebrates after winning the IBF heavyweight world championships title bout against Bulgarian boxer Kubrat Pulev in Hamburg, Germany. Former heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko has announced his retirement from boxing. In a statement released by his management Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017 Klitschko says: "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." (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)

Former heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko has announced his immediate retirement from boxing

BERLIN — Former heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko announced his immediate retirement from boxing on Thursday.

The decision ends an era when the Klitschko name alone could guarantee one of the biggest fights of the year. At their peak, Klitschko and his brother Vitali held all of the major heavyweight titles between them.

Klitschko, who retired with a 64-5 record, lost his titles to Tyson Fury in 2015 and failed to regain the WBA and IBF belts in April, when Anthony Joshua beat him by an 11th-round technical knockout.

Klitschko had been lined up for a rematch against Joshua, who will now likely face mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev.

"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," Klitschko said in a statement released by his management.

He said that he had deliberately taken a few weeks to reach a decision "to make sure I had enough distance from the (first Joshua) fight at Wembley Stadium."

An amateur boxing star in his youth, Klitschko turned pro in 1996 after he won the Olympic gold in Atlanta.

His early professional career passed in a blur, with 16 victories in 13 months. He won his first world title in 2000, beating Chris Byrd on points for the WBO belt six months after Byrd had taken the title from Klitschko's brother Vitali.

Defeats to Corrie Sanders in 2003 and Lamon Brewster in 2004 raised doubts whether Klitschko had the resilience to box at the top level. He answered the doubters with an 11-year unbeaten run from that defeat to Brewster, beating contenders such as Ruslan Chagaev and David Haye along the way with a methodical, tactical style.

He never fought his brother Vitali, saying that would break a promise to their mother.

The brothers' hard-hitting style inside the ring and relaxed, multilingual approach outside it made them famous beyond boxing. Wladimir Klitschko even made a cameo appearance in a 2007 romantic comedy movie in the brothers' adopted home of Germany.

Showing the international approach that helped make him such a marketable athlete, Klitschko released his farewell video Thursday in three languages — English, German and Russian.

He helped out when his older brother went into politics, addressing crowds alongside Wladimir Klitschko's fiancee, the U.S. actress Hayden Panettiere, during anti-government protests in Ukraine in 2013. Vitali Klitschko has since become mayor of the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

Wladimir Klitschko's departure opens up the heavyweight scene, with Joshua now likely to face Bulgarian Pulev in the coming months. Pulev's only loss in 26 fights was against Klitschko in 2014.

"It may not be the fan favorite fight, but it's one we need to get through to get to better things," Joshua said Thursday.

___

AP Sports Writer Ellingworth reported from Moscow.

Related News

Troubled year in power for Coe confronting critics, Russia

Aug 10, 2016

Entrusted with cleaning up a sport mired in sleaze and doping deceptions has proved far trickier for Sebastian Coe than the pursuit of gold on the track

Coe not sure if fans will pack stadium for Olympic track

Aug 10, 2016

Even away from doping, there's little good news for track and field right now

Rugby couple put respect in front and center in Olympics

Aug 10, 2016

Isadora Cerullo has become a celebrity around Rio, more for what happened on the sidelines of the Olympic rugby stadium than for her performances on the pitch

You may also like these

Young US archer Zach Garrett hits target on and off field

Aug 10, 2016

There's another showdown looming between well-known Americans in the men's archery tournament

UK police investigate claim Wimbledon player was poisoned

Aug 11, 2016

Detectives are investigating allegations that a British player at the Wimbledon tennis tournament was poisoned, after she fell ill with a bacterial infection that can be spread through rat urine, London's Metropolitan Police said Thursday

Ali tribute book to be released by Jeter imprint

Aug 11, 2016

A very great athlete will help pay tribute to "The Greatest": Derek Jeter's publishing imprint is set to release "Muhammad Ali Unfiltered." Publication is scheduled for October

Sport Solid is a dynamic sports news network that reports daily news updates 24/7. We speculate and publish news about the Premier League, World Cup, Formula 1, cricket, Super League, rugby union, tennis, boxing, and more.

Contact us: sales@sportsolid.com

Formula One Cricket Rugby League Rugby Union Tennis Boxing Press