The Gentleman’s Heavyweight (Tribute To Wladimir Klitschko)

April, 2017: “I don’t know if Wladimir will still fight at 50, but one thing is for sure, he’s not looking at this fight as his last fight.”

August, 2017: “I think it’s really the motivation, the fire that wasn’t there anymore.”

The former uttered just before the fight in Wembley, the latter after his client confirmed it was time to hang his gloves. Quotes credited to Bernd Boente, Wladimir’s manager.

“Time is what no being has control over – change is what man must adapt to when it happens.” – Emmanuel Etim

A professional journey which began with a knockout against Fabian Meza, on November 16, 1996, was retired after a technical knockout to Anthony Joshua on 28 April, 2017.

Wladimir Klitschko, a two-time world heavyweight champion astonished many on Thursday, August 3, as he announced his retirement from the sport rather than consent to an eagerly anticipated rematch against British heavyweight champion Joshua.

As with most fighters, he started out as an amateur, had the privilege of representing Ukraine at the 1996 Olympics winning a gold medal in the super-heavyweight division – same year he turned pro. It took him almost half a decade to become a heavyweight champion, a feat achieved in 2000 after he defeated Chris Byrd to win the WBO heavyweight title.

Klitschko’s first reign as champion ended in an upset knockout loss to Corrie Sanders in 2003, which was followed by another defeat to Lamon Brewster in 2004. In 2008, he trampled on Sultan Ibragimov, added Ruslan Chagaev to his list of ‘victims’ in 2009 and David Haye in 2011, before suffering a unanimous points loss to Tyson Fury in 2015.

In 2017, the 41-year-old delivered his final blow in the 11th round of a classic with Anthony Joshua whose powerful left-handed uppercut condemned the Ukrainian to what has officially become his last professional boxing defeat. Wladimir’s reaction after the bout endeared him to millions as he exhibited great sportsmanship, and was extremely graceful in defeat.

Little wonder these reactions from fans trailed his retirement:

“Nothing but respect and admiration to you the fight with A.J will be remembered as an all time classic.”

“Happy retirement Wlad. True champ carried yourself with class always.”

“Hall of Fame legend. Not just in boxing but life. From a poor background to a rich life & an even richer respect from millions of fans.”

It is on record that Wladimir has fought in 29 heavyweight title fights, more than any heavyweight champion in the sport’s history. He is ranked amongst the hardest punching knockout artists in the history of the division. His height, straight right hand, strong jab, and left hook considered his most formidable weapons.

Outside the ring, Wladimir is perfectly normal. He is a passionate golfer, a man who speaks four languages: Ukrainian, Russian, English and German. His older brother, Vitali Klitschko, is also a former heavyweight champion. From 2006 until 2015, Wladimir and Vitali dominated heavyweight boxing, a period typically known as the “Klitschko Era” of the division.

As the full stop dots, the legend speaks.

“Together we are the driving force.” – Wladimir Klitschko