The Long Goodbye: Wladimir Klitschko Retires

By Robert Ecksel on August 3, 2017
The Long Goodbye: Wladimir Klitschko Retires
“I am still capable of doing all this because of the global appeal of the sport of boxing.”

In a world where having a big mouth is considered a virtue, Klitschko let his fists do the talking, and they spoke eloquently…

Wladimir Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs), the dignified former heavyweight champion from Kiev, Ukraine, by way of Zhangiztobe, Kazakhstan, has decided to call it a day.

Time caught up Klitschko, as it catches up with all men, and the 41-year-old has retired with the same degree of humility and grace he exhibited during his 27 years of active duty.

Klitschko won a gold medal in 1996 at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, capping an exemplary amateur career. He turned professional later that year and proceeded to pummel the opposition.

He and his old brother Vitali dominated the heavyweight division for a decade. They took on all comers. They never made excuses. They never badmouthed anyone. There was never a whiff of scandal.

Wladimir ruled the roost as reigning and defending champion from 2000-2003 and 2006-2015. To put his achievements in perspective, he competed in 29 world title fights and is the second-longest reigning heavyweight champion in boxing history, just behind the legendary Joe Louis.

Klitschko slid in recent years, gradually at first and then with regularity, as he was fighting men almost half his age in an attempt to hold onto, and then recapture, the heavyweight crown. But having lost his last two fights, to Tyson Fury in 2015 and Anthony Joshua in April of this year, the writing was on the wall—and who better than the erudite Dr. Steelhammer to read and understand it?

In a video statement released to the press, Klitschko said, “Twenty-seven years ago I started my journey in sport, and it was the best choice of a profession I could have ever made. Because of this choice, I traveled the world, learned new languages, created businesses, created intellectual properties, helped people in need, became scientist, entrepreneur, motivator, hotelier, trainer, investor, and much else.

“I was and am still capable of doing all this because of the global appeal of the sport of boxing, my own talent, and mostly because of you, my loyal fans.

“At some point in our lives we need to, or simply want to, switch our careers and get ourselves ready for the next chapter and chart our course for fresh challenges. Obviously, I am not an exception to this—and now it’s my turn.

“I’m doing this with the greatest respect for the new challenges, but also with tremendous excitement, passion, dedication, expecting and hoping that my next career, which I’ve been planning and working on for some years, will be at least as successful as my previous one, if not more successful.

“Finally, instead of just saying, ‘Hey, thanks and goodbye,’ I want you to continue joining me in this new and exciting journey. When we’re together we’re more creative, more efficient, more productive and simply stronger in every way. Together we’re the driving force.”

History will be kind to Klitschko, as kind as he has been to history. With his lovely partner and daughter and his fortune and wits intact, we can expect great things from Klitschko in the future. Although we don’t know in which direction he is headed, he will no more embarrass himself outside than he did inside the ring.

In a world where having a big mouth is considered a virtue, Klitschko let his fists do the talking and they spoke eloquently, and for that boxing thanks you.

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  1. Charlie Gard 12:37pm, 08/04/2017

    The best part is that Briggs loaded up on PEDS for the express purpose of sneaking one in on Wlad…..all for naught.

  2. George Otto 09:06am, 08/04/2017

    WK, a talented fighter who aged out at the age of 40.  Could this happen to FM later this month ?

  3. Pete The Sneak 10:32am, 08/03/2017

    Good for you Wlad! You always exuded class and respect to and for a sport that for the most part barely recognizes what those words mean. Always a gentleman and one heck of a fighter. I agree with the writer. We haven’t heard the last from Wlad and I do indeed feel he will continue doing some great things outside the ring…All the best Wlad!...Peace.

  4. Jethro Tull 09:23am, 08/03/2017

    A fine fighter and a gentleman.

    You will be missed, sir.

  5. Koolz 07:25am, 08/03/2017

    The Legend!!!

  6. Charlie Gard 07:23am, 08/03/2017

    This is an off the charts fitting tribute to this decent human who just happened to be an all time great fighter.

  7. peter 06:14am, 08/03/2017

    The second longest reigning heavyweight champion! And one of the most modest. Very impressive! Klitschko, and his brother, are refreshing outliers.

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