FORMER world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko today reflected on his tumultuous loss to Anthony Joshua back in April, stating that he still feels “victorious.”
The all-time great dropped Joshua in the sixth but was stopped in the 11th round of their instant classic at Wembley Stadium on April 29.
Since the post-fight press conference, during which he admitted he perhaps could have been a couple of punches away from victory in the sixth, he has taken a holiday and remained quiet about his future, but in a post on LinkedIn the 41-year-old revealed his thoughts on the defeat.
“At the end of April I competed against Anthony Joshua, and thereby took on the greatest of all challenges: In front of 90,000 spectators in a sold-out Wembley Stadium in London – as well as a TV audience of millions in more than 150 countries – I fought the fight of my life against the 28-year-old Englishman,” he wrote.
“I competed to conquer the best of the best. Sadly, I failed to achieve my goal. The outcome was that my opponent won the fight. But despite this, and however absurd it may sound, I also left the ring victorious.
“In the run-up, I was 100 percent certain that I would win the duel. I had prepared as well as I could and felt I was in the best form of my life; winning back the title of World Champion was my obsession. I gave it everything during the fight. I managed to get up several times after being knocked down. I was even able to send my opponent to the canvas. But, in the end, it was Anthony Joshua who struck the decisive blow and left the ring victorious. I failed to achieve my goal of winning, but I did in fact gain much more than this. I never thought I would say such a thing, but: in defeat, I achieved much greater success than I would have had I won. Fans and sports enthusiasts worldwide are celebrating my performance and showing me their appreciation. Even my opponent expressed his respect for me.”
Klitschko has the option to exercise his right to a rematch with Joshua, but is yet to announce his decision. His manager, Bernd Boente, told Boxing News that Wladimir will either take the rematch or retire from the sport.
Though he was unable to become a three-time world heavyweight champion, Klitschko insists he now understands the levels of respect he earned in defeat to Joshua.
“The responses that I received and continue to receive after this night of boxing are overwhelming,” he continued.
“Commentators reported that I showed greatness even in defeat. Journalists wrote repeatedly that I left the ring a hero, despite my loss: “Klitschko appeared greater in defeat than he has ever managed in victory.”
“After years of constantly preparing myself up for victory, this is a completely new experience. I now understand that success does not necessarily mean achieving a set goal. Instead, success means achieving the best possible result. Sometimes we cannot see beforehand what the best possible result might be.”