Before he was committed to defending his country against a Russian invasion, Wladimir Klitschko was eyeing a return to the boxing ring.
The former two-time world heavyweight champion fought professionally from 1996 to 2017. In that time, he won a record 25 title fights and retired with 64 wins from 69.
In an interview with Piers Morgan Uncensored back in May, the Ukrainian legend admitted that, despite having had a long and successful career, there was a time when he was being tempted back to boxing.
“And honestly, I was thinking I should just take Tyson Fury and tweet, ‘Last dance?’ Since he wants to retire and we were supposed to have this rematch, I was thinking about it. I didn’t do it because my mind was in a totally different world. But I was really thinking I should send this, I should tweet this, ‘Last dance?’”
The former champion’s motivation was more that just an attempt to avenge his Fury loss, though. He had another heavyweight record he fancied breaking.
“That was all a dream before the war. I had a dream to become the oldest heavyweight champion of the world. And not to break the jaw in the ring, but to break the record.”
“Break the record to become the oldest heavyweight champion after George Foreman. So I was 45, now I’m 46 and that’s exactly the time, that was the plan. But we were talking about something that was happening before and now there’s a big question mark – what is gonna go on with the war?”
George Foreman set the bar when he regained the heavyweight at the age of 45 against Michael Moorer. Klitschko is indeed qualified – at least by the numbers – to do one better, although torrid times in his country have forced him to cancel his plans.
Although that talk was back in the summer, boxing promoter and fellow Ukrainian, Alex Krassyuk, has now told fans not to rule out a return since Klitschko had some unfinished business.
“He achieved everything in boxing, but he has just one unfinished business, just one, and it’s Tyson Fury. He’s in a good shape and he’s very fit and like a predator he’s waiting for his food to come. I think that might happen, I think there is a chance his return might take place.”
Of course, Klitschko’s plans are sadly not just reliant on his fitness or desire, but rather his country’s circumstances. He continues to stand alongside his brother and Mayor of Kiev, Vitali, as Russia invades Ukraine.