Wladimir Klitschko's message to Anthony Joshua is a credit to the sport of boxing
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!"
— Klitschko (@Klitschko) August 4, 2017
People were impressed with Klitschko's message to Joshua.
It's not very often you see someone pass on the torch with such humility, true testament to the legend #BoxingLegend
— Nick Mathieson (@Mathieson83) August 4, 2017
— Luke Roberts (@LukeyRoberts) August 4, 2017
True sportsmen. Boxing needs more of this and less of the staged, sweary nonsense that we are getting from Mcgregor/Matweather.
— JamesCDF17 (@josbo1710) August 4, 2017
True gent true inspiration too all boxers will surely be missed in the ring good luck in your next step #truelegend
— Arthur Bryant (@artyb82) August 4, 2017
Perfect professional and true gent all the best for the future champ
— Lee Adams (@grizzly1479) August 4, 2017
Credit to your sport sir. Enjoy the rest!
— Scott (@scott86leeds) August 4, 2017
what a gentleman
— Jane (@blondiesaint) August 4, 2017
Absolute gentleman all the best 🥊 🙌🏻 x
— Natalie Stevenson (@nattystevenson1) August 4, 2017
This is pure class. Well done 🙏🙌👏
— Dr. Kelechi Anyikude (@KelechiAFC) August 4, 2017