After a career spanning 21 years, Wladimir Klitschko (64-5) decided to hang up the gloves for good. The Ukranian former champion announced his retirement via his website and social media channels ending speculation that he would face British heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua again.
As one of the most decorated boxers of this generation, Klitschko will always be remembered as a terrifyingly cerebral fighter that delivered immense knockout power. His KO destruction of fighters like Chris Byrd, Samuel Peter, and Hasim Rahman are legendary, and he held on to his championship belts for an astounding ten years. Klitschko had two eras as a champion, with each defined by his style and grace.
He avenged his brother Vitali Klitschko’s loss by defeating Chris Byrd in 2000 to win the WBO heavyweight title and held it for three years. During this time, Klitschko won all his fights by knockout or referee stoppage until Corrie Sanders delivered a crushing second round blow in 2003.
Eventually, his older brother Vitali would avenge that loss for his little brother. He rebounded with a pair of wins and then succumbed to defeat again at the hands of Lamon Brewster in 2004 before entering what is commonly known as the Klitschko era.
Wladimir Klitschko earned his right into the Hall of Fame years ago” -Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President, HBO Sports
From 2004 to 2015, Klitschko defeated all comers, both old school and new, establishing his last name as the preeminent brand of heavyweight dominance. From 2008 to 2014, he fought almost exclusively in Germany, switching it up a bit in Switzerland and Russia. The hope for an American heavyweight champion was lost during this time and it is partially why the rise of the welterweight division and Floyd Mayweather happened so rapidly.
“Wladimir Klitschko earned his right into the Hall of Fame years ago,” said Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President of HBO Sports via official statement. “His accomplishments in the ring will be immortalized in the record books. Outside the ring, Wladimir is well-respected as a true ambassador to boxing and role model in the sport. We are proud Wladimir and his team have been in the HBO Sports family for the majority of his 21-year career. We are excited for him and his family as he begins his next chapter.”
His last two wins over Kubrat Pulev and Bryant Jennings, which saw his return to Madison Square Garden and the States in almost ten years, proved that even as in his later athletic career he could be formidable. Recently, however, two consecutive losses from boxing’s top heavyweights began to show his age and diminished prowess.
Highlights from Anthony Joshua’s 11th-round TKO win over Wladimir Klitschko on April 29, 2017. Subscribe to HBO Boxing YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/hboboxing HBO Boxing on Instagram: http://instagram.com/hboboxing HBO Boxing on Snapchat: https://www.snapchat.com/add/hboboxing HBO Boxing on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hboboxing HBO Boxing on Twitter: https://twitter.com/HBOboxing HBO Boxing Podcast on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/hboboxing HBO Boxing Official Site: http://www.hbo.com/boxing HBO Sports on HBO GO http://itsh.bo/ij8oqS.
In 2015, Klitschko lost all of his titles to Tyson Fury via a unanimous decision loss. Once Fury relinquished his titles after testing positive for cocaine, the new British heavyweight sensation and Olympic gold medalist Anthony Joshua took on the Klitschko challenge, selling out 90,000 seats in Wembley Arena in the process.
The fight will go down as the most attended in the history of the sport and the first knock down of Joshua’s career.
Although many anticipated Joshua vs. Klitschko 2, this news places Joshua now against his mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev and an eventual show down between Joshua and Deontay Wilder hopefully in the near future pending Tyson Fury’s personal situation.
Klitshcko and his brother also own K2 Promotions, which promotes middleweight superstar Gennady “GGG” Golovkin.
Wladimir Klitshcko will go down as one of the best boxers ever who redefined the heavyweight division and dominated it uncompromisingly.