Wladimir Klitschko admits defeat to Tyson Fury still hurts but is confident the lessons learned will help him regain his world heavyweight titles in the rematch.
The 39-year-old Ukrainian (64-4-KO53) handed over the WBA, WBO and IBF titles after November’s unanimous points defeat to Fury (25-0-KO18) – his first loss in 11 years – but was quick to confirm he will exercise a rematch clause and face the 27-year-old again.
Having had time to reflect on a defeat that surprised most, Klitschko said: “For the first time in so long, I had to experience the feeling of stepping out of the ring as a loser. That was very disappointing for me; I suffered day and night after the fight and I am still suffering.
“I have decided to seek a rematch against Fury. I want to show that I have much more to offer, and I want to overcome this challenge. I could not realise my potential during the last fight, and I want to, and will, change this in the return match.
“Moreover, I know: A lost fight does not mean I have lost the war. ‘Failure is not an option,’ I tell myself and my team repeatedly. But if you have suffered a failure, you shouldn’t lick your wounds for too long. Keep going!
“This is exactly the same thing I tell businessmen and managers: A defeat is painful, oh yes it is, but it is something you learn from and keep going. To become better.
“Eleven years ago, I turned everything that characterised me as a sportsperson upside down. My training, my diet and my team. This was the result of a thorough analysis of my defeat: What mistakes did I make? What conclusions did I arrive at?
“That took a bit of time and honesty. I am going to take exactly the same approach this time as well. I am rising to the challenge, not only for the return match, but the longer path forward, which will be hard, because I scrutinise everything.”
Klitschko suffered his last defeat in 2004 when he was stopped in the fifth round by Lamon Brewster with the vacant WBO crown on the line.