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Wladimir Klitschko shows the ultimate respect with retirement tweet to Anthony Joshua

This is how boxing should be

Wladimir Klitschko shows the ultimate respect with retirement tweet to Anthony Joshua
04 August 2017

Over three months on from the showdown between Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua at a sold-out Wembley Stadium and people still haven’t quite recovered from what an utterly epic encounter it was.

Of course, Joshua – the 27-year-old pretender to the throne, won the fight, but not before Klitschko, the battle-hardened 41-year-old, had dumped his opponent on the canvas, in a match that swung back and forth.

However, alongside the brilliance of the fight itself was something else refreshing: a total absence of any pre-fight trash talk, and a mutual respect between the opponents before and after the fight. They just let their fists do the talking; a welcome relief in the era of Tyson Fury’s stunts and the embarrassing spectacle of a ‘press conference tour’ to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor Frankenstein fight.

And now, in the wake of Klitschko’s decision to retire, after 64 wins in 69 fights, including the winning of 25 world title fights in two spells as champion, the class has continued to show, with Klitschko tweeting to ‘pass the torch’ to Joshua, his conqueror.

Joshua soon responded in kind to the Ukrainian legend.

Klitschko had been expected to fight Joshua in a Las Vegas rematch in November, but instead announced his decision to retire via a YouTube video, explaining: "I have achieved everything I dreamed of, and now I want to start my second career after sports."

He continued: "I would have never imagined that I would have such a long and incredibly successful boxing career."

Joshua, meanwhile, must now face mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev before 2 December, or risk the possibility of being stripped of his IBF belt.

According to boxing expert Jack Rathborn, 36-year-old Bulgarian Pulev “poses little threat given Wladimir Klitschko destroyed him inside five rounds almost three years ago.

“Such is the political landscape in boxing though, that Joshua must face his mandatories and while the rankings occasionally throw up overmatched opponents, the best way to deal with them is to dispatch them in a hurry – just like Klitschko did for so long.

“AJ is physically able to fight more than twice per year and should look to stay active by taking out Pulev and then target the winner of WBO champion Joseph Parker against Tyson Fury's cousin, Hughie Fury, at the start of 2018.”

Kubrat Pulev celebrates beating Dereck Chisora in Hamburg, May 2016

Pulev has a record of 25 wins and one defeat – that defeat to Klitschko in 2014.

So, while it’s a shame we won’t be able to see Klitschko and Joshua slug it out again, let’s hope Joshua can fulfill his potential and dominate the scene like his gentlemanly predecessor.

(Image: Rex)