Boxer Wladimir Klitschko has announced his retirement from the sport in a statement provided on his website.

(LB) The Ukrainian recently lost a world heavyweight title bout against British boxer Anthony Joshua, and fans were waiting to see whether a rematch would happen, which was pencilled in for November 11 in Las Vegas.

In the statement, the 41-year-old says: “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.”

The Ukrainian has won 64 fights out of 69, with 53 of those by knock out. He won an Olympic gold medal in the 1996 Atlanta games in the super-heavyweight division

Over his 21 year career, he held the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO titles.

Klitchsko has released a statement on his website, but the announcement caused so much traffic that the site crashed.

Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn was hoping the Joshua vs Klitschko rematch would happen in Las Vegas, despite there being plenty of interest in Dubai, Nigeria and Cardiff, according to Sky Sports.

The boxer was praised for his sportsmanship following his fight with Joshua, telling the sports site: “Of course, we have it [a rematch] in the contract, right now I’m interested.

“I need to analyse what the heck happened. I wish I could raise my hand, instead of somebody who didn’t make it back-to-back.

“But congratulations to Anthony, he got up, he fought back, and he won the titles.”

The British fighter said after the bout: “A massive shout to Wladimir Klitschko. In terms of the boxing hall of fame he is a role model in and out of the ring.”

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