WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO admitted a grudging respect for Tyson Fury as a boxer, though the former champion could go no further than that. “He took the belts,” Klitschko sighed. “Whatever I’m going to say, his personal issues, whatever, but he managed to take all the titles from the champion that was dominant for such a long time. So yes I do.”

When it comes to his own boxing on that night in Dusseldorf, Klitschko is ashamed. Having re-watched it, he said, “I didn’t see Klitschko there. I’m like, ‘Excuse me, can you throw a punch?’ I was absent. My body was in the ring but I was not present and, as I said, I started to get in the fight in the 12th and final round but it was too late.”

He continued, “It’s embarrassing. I was like, ‘Come on, dude.’ I was watching this fight [thinking], ‘Why are you not letting these hands go? If you just touch his head, not his chin, his head, he’s going to go down, there’s no doubt. Just THROW.’ I just couldn’t believe he didn’t. I mean I didn’t.”

He wasn’t himself, he insists on that. But whether he can do any different in the rematch remains to be seen. He has though shouldered responsibility for the defeat. “My team will remain the same and nothing’s going to change. There is nobody to blame but this person that’s sitting here,” Wladimir intoned.

The loss wounded him. Klitschko however promises he can rise again. “I was suffering for three days. That’s it. I cannot suffer longer but it was painful. I was suffering,” he said, but added, “At certain times it’s enough. I gave the time for suffering but life moves on. You shake it off and just keep on going.”