For­mer heavy­weight box­ing cham­pion Wladimir Kl­itschko re­tires at age 41

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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

The 41-year-old Kl­itschko dom­i­nated the heavy­weight scene for a decade but lost to Bri­tain’s Anthony Joshua in April af­ter a tech­ni­cal knock­out in the 11th round. He had been ex­pected to face Joshua in a re­match in Novem­ber.

In a state­ment re­leased by his man­age­ment on Thurs­day, Kl­itschko said: “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.”

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.”

Kl­itschko was 64-5 in a ca­reer that be­gan in 1996 af­ter he won the Olympic gold in At­lanta.

The Ukrainian racked up no­table wins over the likes of David Haye and Rus­lan Cha­gaev, but lost his ti­tles to Bri­tish fighter Tyson Fury in 2015.

Kl­itschko fol­lowed his older brother Vi­tali Kl­itschko into box­ing. Both found im­me­di­ate suc­cess in the pro­fes­sional ring, and held all of the main heavy­weight ti­tles be­tween them when Vi­tali Kl­itschko re­tired in 2013.

They never fought each other, say­ing that would break a promise to their mother.

The Kl­itschko brothers’ hard-hit­ting style in­side the ring and re­laxed, mul­ti­lin­gual ap­proach out­side it made them fa­mous be­yond box­ing.

He also fol­lowed his older brother into pol­i­tics, ad­dress­ing crowds along­side his fi­ancée, the U.S. ac­tress Hay­den Panet­tiere, dur­ing anti-gov­ern­ment protests in Ukraine in 2013. Vi­tali Kl­itschko has since be­come mayor of the Ukrainian cap­i­tal Kyiv.

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