Ukrainian boxer Wladimir Klitschko has announced that he is retiring from the sport. This means he will not attempt to recover the title from Anthony Joshua.
The longtime heavyweight champion of the world, who for much of his career was based in the northern German city of Hamburg, announced his retirement via a statement posted on his official website on Thursday. This means that the 41-year-old Ukrainian will not fight Anthony Joshua in a rematch, after the Briton beat him in a technical knockout back in April.
The Kyiv native turned professional in 1996 and won 64 of his 69 prizefights, 53 through knockout. He was heavyweight champion between 2000 and 2003 and from 2006 to 2015.
Shortly after he posted the link to his statement in English, German and Russian via Twitter, his website's server crashed. He then posted YouTube videos of his statement in all three languages to his fans:
"Twenty-seven years ago I started my journey, and it was the best choice of profession I could have ever made," he said.
"At some point in our lives we need to, or just want to, switch our careers and get ourselves ready for the next chapter and chart a course towards fresh challenges. Obviously I am not an exception to this and now is my turn. I'm doing this with... tremendous excitement, dedication, passion; expecting and hoping that my next career, which I've already been planning and working on for some years, will be at least as successful as my previous one, if not more successful."
Prior to turning professional, Klitschko won the gold medal in the super-heavyweight division at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Wladimir Klitschko's brother Vitaly (46) is also a former heavyweight boxing champion and is currently the mayor of Kyiv.