Wladimir Klitschko wants to return to boxing, but his chances of breaking the record as the oldest heavyweight champion are 'very slim'

Wladimir Klitschko comebackPhoto by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images

  • Wladimir Klitschko wants to return to boxing for a standalone world championship fight in 2022.
  • His ambition is to break the record as the oldest heavyweight world champion in history.
  • But David Haye told Business Insider his chances of success are "very slim" because in his last two fights he was outboxed by Tyson Fury and knocked out by Anthony Joshua.
  • The World Boxing Super Series promoter Kalle Sauerland told Business Insider he believes the way Klitschko kept himself in elite shape with "insane" training camps could stand him in good stead should he return to the sport.
  • The oldest heavyweight champion in history is currently George Foreman who won a title in 1994 aged 45 and 360 days when he knocked out Michael Moorer.
  • Foreman, Haye said, is "a different animal" to Klitschko.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Wladimir Klitschko's chances of returning to boxing and winning a world title aged 45, breaking the world record as the oldest heavyweight champion in history, are "very slim."

That's according to a former opponent of Klitschko's, David Haye, who told Business Insider that Klitschko's newest ambition is "a tough ask."

Klitschko told Business Insider about this his spectacular comeback plans in October, shortly after he had been honored by The Buonconti Fund as a legend in New York.

Klitschko is living his best life in retirement. He's been playing chess in Lviv, golf in Scotland, and building a boutique hotel in Kiev.

But he is determined to come out of retirement and return to boxing in 2022 so he can attempt to break a record previously set by George Foreman, who became the oldest heavyweight world title holder when he won a portion of the championship by knocking out Michael Moorer in 1994, aged 45 and 360 days.

"I still got it. Can I fight? Yes. Right now I keep my options open," Klitschko told Business Insider. "There is going to be no comeback to come back and to break a jaw … it's a comeback to break a record. Will I come back just to come back in sport, no. No interest. But to break the record? Extravaganza."

'It would be a tough ask'

When Business Insider told Haye about the news, he said: "It would be a tough ask. He came back and fought Anthony Joshua in 2017. Lost. Stopped by Anthony Joshua, and outboxed by Tyson Fury before in 2015. So … it's possible, he could do it, but whoever holds the title at the time would have to be … they couldn't be on that level of Josh or Fury."

Wladimir Klitschko and David HayePhoto by Scott Heavey/Getty Images

"Klitschko could come back and win a title if it was against the right guy," Haye said. "I just don't believe in two years' time he'll be good enough … he wasn't good enough now to do it against AJ and Fury, and in two years time he'll only be older and slower."

When Business Insider told the World Boxing Super Series promoter Kalle Sauerland about Klitschko's comeback, he laughed.

"He's someone who has lived his life so clean as an athlete … he's been a role model in terms of training," Sauerland said. "His training camps were insane, some of the toughest ever seen in heavyweight boxing at that level. He had a dozen sparring partners over multiple weeks.

"He's a guy who keeps himself in such physically perfect condition and so there's no reason why he couldn't make a comeback, even in a couple years."

'Foreman was a different animal to Klitschko'

"The question is how he is physically," Sauerland said. "Everyone knows when they get a bit older, the aging process does kick in, how the reflexes and reaction are at the time. Those can go very quickly in boxing."

The last decade has seen a contrast in fortunes between two of boxing's biggest names. Bernard Hopkins, who made his debut in 1988, was still contesting light heavyweight world championship fights in 2014, aged 50.

Roy Jones Jr., in contrast, made his debut in 1989 and continued to fight well into the 2010s but looked like a spent force, Sauerland said.

Kalle SauerlandYouTube / World Boxing Super Series

"Sometimes [the physical abilities and skillsets] stick around which we saw with Bernard Hopkins. But other cases, like Roy Jones, they can go from one fight to another. As an athlete, Wladimir Klitschko is an absolute role model and he could do that [comeback], no doubt about it."

Though Haye doubts Klitschko would succeed in recapturing the world heavyweight championship aged 45, he added that people would have said the same about Foreman 25 years ago.

"People would have said the same thing about George Foreman and he did it," Haye told us. "But Foreman was a different animal to Klitschko.

"Foreman was tougher and his style … he could absorb a hell of a lot more punishment, even against Evander Holyfield who punched the life out of him. It was a close fight. Rewatch it. George was 43 at the time, so he could mix it with the best and when he fought Michael Moorer at 45, who had just beaten Evander Holyfield, who'd beaten Mike Tyson.

"There's many examples of fighters coming back late. Hopkins is one. Can Wladimir Klitschko do it? I'd say the chances are very slim. But if it's a mission that he wants to embark on, I wish him nothing but the best."

Read more:

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