Wladimir Klitschko’s shock retirement has stunned boxing and leaves Anthony Joshua set for a match up against Kubrat Pulev next.
Joshua declared on Wednesday that he wanted Klitschko to agree to a rematch by the end of the month in order for a November bout to take place in Las Vegas, with promoter Eddie Hearn already starting talks over a second fight in the space of the year between the two giants.
But Klitschko, who enjoyed a 21-year career before losing to Joshua in an epic contest at Wembley Stadium in April, has announced his decision to call time on his glittering time in the ring instead.
A statement on his website 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.”
Joshua must now face Bulgarian Pulev next up who is the mandatory challenger for the Brit’s IBF belt.
Promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed that talks over a fight with Pulev are ongoing with an announcement likely within the month.