Wladimir Klitschko has announced his retirement from boxing, ending the prospect of a rematch with Anthony Joshua.
Eddie Hearn had pencilled in a November 11 date for a second Joshua-Klitschko clash in the wake of their stunning Sky Sports Box Office heavyweight fight back in April.
But that 11-round Wembley epic will now be the last of Klitschko’s 69 professional contests after the Ukrainian’s decision to call time on a 21-year career.
A statement from the former world champion 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.”
Klitschko turned pro in 1996 after winning gold at the Atlanta Olympic Games, and he recovered from an early defeat to Ross Puritty to win the WBO’s heavyweight title in 2003.
Corrie Sanders stopped him early to take the belt in 2003, and when Lamon Brewster handed him a similar defeat three fights later Klitschko regrouped and rebuilt his style under trainer Emanuel Steward.
The new approach proved so successful Klitschko went 11 years without defeat and accumulated three of the four recognised world titles before his shock points loss to Tyson Fury in late 2015.