Wladimir Klitschko's message to Anthony Joshua is a credit to the sport of boxing 2 years ago

Wladimir Klitschko's message to Anthony Joshua is a credit to the sport of boxing

Brilliant sportsmanship.

Wladimir Klitschko announced his retirement from boxing on Thursday. The Ukrainian had been due to fight Anthony Joshua on November 11 in Las Vegas, in a rematch of their epic bout in April.

However, he has decided instead to walk away from the sport.

Klitschko spent 21 years as a professional, dominating the heavyweight division for the best part of a decade, and retires with a record of 64 wins in 69 bouts, 53 by KO and five losses.

Klitschko's statement announcing his retirement read:

"I deliberately took a few weeks to make my decision, to make sure I had enough distance from the fight at Wembley Stadium. 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."

He may have lost his last bout, when Joshua stopped him in the 11th round at Wembley Stadium, but Klitschko walks away from the sport with his head held high, especially after proving many wrong with his performance on the night.

Klitschko and Joshua also proved that boxers don't need to engage in trash talk to sell a fight. The respect between them was obvious from the time the fight was announced, and the 41-year-old has effectively passed the torch to Joshua with a really classy message.

He tweeted on Friday:

"My heart is at peace as I pass the torch to Anthony Joshua - the next generation. Good luck little bro, I'm proud of you!"

People were impressed with Klitschko's message to Joshua.