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By Adam Arnold, News Reporter/Sky News

Berlin, Germany (August 3rd, 2017)– Former heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko says he has retired from boxing after a 21 year professional career.

It means there will not be a rematch with British fighter Anthony Joshua, who defeated the Ukrainian at Wembley Stadium in April.

The bout was stopped in the 11th round after Joshua knocked out his 41-year-old opponent, adding the WBA and IBO titles to his IBF crown.

Klitschko hangs up his gloves as one of the all-time boxing greats after a nine-and-a-half year reign as champion.

Anthony Joshua defeated Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium in April.
He had been considering a lucrative second clash with Joshua, possibly in Las Vegas in November.

In a video, the 6ft 6in Ukrainian boxer said: “Twenty-seven years ago I started my journey. And it was the best choice of a profession I could have ever made.

“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.

“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.”

Klitschko, whose brother Vitali was also a world champion in the ring, added that “I never thought I’d have such a long and successful sporting career”.

He went on: “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.”

Klitschko added he had deliberately taken a few weeks to reach a decision “to make sure I had enough distance from the (Joshua) fight at Wembley Stadium”.

In all, he won 64 bouts, including 53 knockouts, and lost just five in a career that began in 1996 after he won Olympic gold in Atlanta.

He had the second longest reign as world heavyweight champion, from 2006-15, before losing to Britain’s Tyson Fury two years ago.

Joshua, 27, is likely to instead fight the mandatory challenger, 36-year-old Kubrat Pulev of Bulgaria.

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