Nigerian-born World Boxing heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has finally spoken on the retirement of Ukrainian boxer, Wladimir Klitschko.
Joshua said Klitschko’s decision to retire and decline a rematch was a “massive” disappointment.
The 27-year-old Briton knocked out Klitschko at Wembley Stadium in April and had hoped they would fight again in Las Vegas on November 11.
The 41-year-old Ukrainian however, announced his retirement earlier this month.
Joshua told BBC, “In my heart of hearts I kind of knew he probably wouldn’t fight again.”
Klitschko was first beaten by another British boxer, Tyson Fury in 2015, ending his nine-year reign as lineal world heavyweight champion before he failed to regain the IBF and WBA titles in the 11th round defeat by Joshua.
Joshua added, “He was saying how obsessed he was with becoming heavyweight champion of the world again.
“If you fail at the first hurdle, you go again– (he ) knew from my side I was ready for a rematch, making it clear that if he wants to go again, we’ll go again.
“With Klitschko, we weren’t hearing too much, so I just thought he was 50-50, but I had a feeling he might not fight again.”
Pressed on how much of a disappointment Klitschko’s retirement was, Joshua replied,“ Massive. It was probably even a disappointment for his management, his trainer (Johnathon Banks).”
Joshua, however, said he respected Klitschko’s decision but contrasted it with 40-year-old Floyd Mayweather Jr, who is coming out of retirement to fight UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor in Las Vegas on 26 August.
“Mayweather’s still going strong – Klitschko still had a good fight in him (in April’s defeat ).
“I’m sure he’s still got a couple of other good fights in him.”
Joshua admitted even though “all looks good on the outside” Klitschko had “put his body through so many years impact.
“I ’d appreciate it if we just sat down as gentlemen, and he gave me some experience he’s learned from over the years.”