Hamburg (Germany), Aug 3 (IANS) Two-time former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko on Thursday announced retirement from his “incredibly successful boxing career” which lasted 21 years.Also Read - World Boxing Championships: Akash Kumar Takes on Kazakh Boxer in Semis, Aims for Spot in the Final

“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 was quoted as saying by Sky Sports. Also Read - Jadon Sanchi Apologises For Penalty Miss in EURO 2020 Final, Says 'Hate Will Never Win After Suffering Racist Abuse'

Klitschko was also the second longest reigning heavyweight champion of all time and the second most successful title defender amongst any heavyweight boxer with 23 titles, behind Joe Louis (25) and ahead of Larry Holmes (20) and Muhammad Ali (19). Also Read - Bukayo Saka Finds Support After Getting Racially Abused For Missing Penalty vs Italy in EURO 2020 Final

“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,” he said.

The Kazakhstan-born also held the World Boxing Association (Super), International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Organisation titles along with the International Boxing Organisation, Ring magazine, and lineal titles. He also won the gold medal in 1996 Atlanta Olympics in the super-heavyweight category.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.