Vitali Klitschko Ukraine's world heavyweight champion has announced his retirement from boxing after a knee operation.
This time last week, the boxing world eagerly was anticipating the scheduled Nov. 12 WBC heavyweight title bout between Vitali Klitschko and Hasim Rahman. It was supposed to be the belated coronation of Klitschko as the undisputed top dog in the division, a title bestowed on him after beating half-retired golfer Corrie Sanders and one-hit wonder Danny Williams.
But despite not truly earning his status as the best of the four heavyweight titlists, Klitschko was considered by most observers to be at least a talent level above his fellow champions Chris Byrd, John Ruiz, and Lamon Brewster.
He had to prove it in the ring, though, and that meant beating a quality number one contender in Rahman. Beat the former champ decisively, and the world was his. There would be no more disputes over who the heavyweight champion of the world was.
With the announcement Wednesday that Klitschko is retiring, the world will have to wait even longer for a universally recognized heavyweight champ, reports ESPN.
According to Reuters.uk, Klitschko was forced to pull out of his World Boxing Council (WBC) title defence against Hasim Rahman, set for November 12, after injuring his right knee while sparring in Los Angeles last Thursday.
He had twice had to postpone fights with Rahman earlier this year because of thigh and back problems, and his latest injury left him under threat of being stripped of the title if he could not fight again within 90 days.
After having surgery to repair damaged knee ligaments on Tuesday that target became unrealistic, with his expected recovery time put at six months.
Rahman became WBC interim champion after beating Monte Barrett and is expected to be awarded the full title.
Klitschko has a record of 35 victories and two defeats, with 34 knockouts. His purse for the scheduled November fight with Rahman was set at $7.8 million.
Klitschko and his younger brother Vladimir, also a leading heavyweight, made Germany their base for years and were worshipped in the country before moving on to the United States in a bid to further their careers.