Former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko has dismissed speculation that he could make a comeback to the ring and rematch Anthony Joshua as “an early April fool’s day joke.”
Klitschko, 42, retired from boxing after he was knocked out by WBA-WBO-IBF champion Joshua at Wembley Stadium in 2017. The Ukrainian was also defeated by Joshua’s countryman Tyson Fury in his previous fight in 2015.
With uncertainty surrounding the heavyweight division and the immediate futures of Joshua, Fury and Deontay Wilder, Klitschko said he had been sent messages by fans urging him to return.
Fury and Wilder are expected to fight a rematch at a U.S. venue in the first half of 2019, leaving Joshua in need of an opponent to fill his April 13 fight at Wembley.
But despite suggesting that he feels he would still be able to compete at the highest level, Klitschko quickly rejected talk that he could come out of retirement any time soon.
“I’m all about challenges in life and I do really feel that I [have] still got it,” Klitschko posted on Twitter.
“Recently many of you contacted me willing to see me making a comeback to the ring this April and I’m thankful to y’all for that.
“However, I need to call such speculation an early April fool’s day joke.”
Joshua, 29, is expected to face London rival Dillian Whyte in April, but has repeatedly said that securing a heavyweight unification bout with Wilder remains his No. 1 priority.