Wladimir Klitschko is a Ukrainian former heavyweight boxer who twice reigned as champion of the world in a 21-year career. During his time in boxing, Klitschko held the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO and Ring magazine titles.
After Olympic success in 1996, Klitschko first won the WBO world title in 2000 after beating crafty American Chris Byrd.
However, after five successful defences, he was sensationally ironed out by South African Corrie Sanders in a huge upset in 2003. Three fights later he was stopped again, by Lamon Brewster in Las Vegas.
That would be his final defeat for more than a decade after linking up with Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel 'Manny' Steward. He quickly began to dominate boxing's blue riband division and would continue under Johnathon Banks. Wins included avenging his defeat to Brewster in 2007.
Often portrayed in the media as being too mechanical and safety-first in his approach, Klitschko stopped 53 of his 69 opponents. Klitschko's sobriquet is "Dr Steelhammer" in a nod to his huge punching power and perceived intellect (he has a PhD in Sports Science).
His promotional company K2 Promotions was founded in 2003 by Wladimir and his elder brother Vitali, during a period when both men were on top of the heavyweight division.
Klitschko was managed by Bernd Boente throughout his career and the pair appear to remain close today. Despite being from Ukraine, he fought the majority of his fights in Germany and was a pay-per-view superstar in Western Europe.
While Klitschko got inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2020, his 'jab and grab' style was not for everyone. Ironically, it was the manner of his heroic defeat to Britain's Anthony Joshua in his final fight in 2017 that at last earned him some proper appreciation in terms of his greatness.
On an unforgettable evening at Wembley Stadium, the Ukrainian came agonisingly close to becoming just the second fighter after George Foreman to win a legitimate world heavyweight title in their 40s.
Alas, it was not to be, with Joshua climbing off the floor to stop an inspired Klitschko in round 11 of a battle few who saw it will ever forget. Regardless of the European style Klitschko possessed, he will go down as one of the greatest from the modern era with 23 world title victories - the most in heavyweight history.
The greatest hits: Joshua, Haye and Fury
A post-war record of 90,000 in London saw Klitschko's swansong - a thrilling rollercoaster of a fight against Joshua which ended in glorious defeat. It was a sensational bout, with AJ dropping the former unified champion in round five before being put on the seat of his pants himself - for the first time in his then 19-0 professional career - in the sixth.
The action ebbed and flowed after that with Klitschko at times seemingly a punch away from victory. However, in a battle that will long live in the memory, Joshua pulled out a sensational uppercut to turn the tide again before delivering a clinical finish in the penultimate round.
Before the AJ loss, Klitschko's record run as heavyweight champion had been ended in his previous fight to Tyson Fury in 2015. Fury was a 4/1 outsider with the bookmakers before they squared off in Dusseldorf, but the "Gypsy King" used his height and nimble footwork to great effect to nullify the threat of the champion's power.
While it was not the most thrilling fight for fans, it was an exciting result for the heavyweight division with Fury getting the nod via unanimous decision (115-112 115-112 and 116-111).
Klitschko did have some success against British boxers though, dominating David Haye in Hamburg.
After all his hyperbole and venomous trash-talk in the lead-up, Haye ran for most of the fight and seemed content to survive in the 2011 unification bout. This was reflected in the scorecards as the Ukrainian eased to a 118-108 117-109 116-110 points victory.
Two fights prior to losing to Fury in 2014, Klitschko produced one of the most complete performances of his entire career as he took apart the then-undefeated Kubrat Pulev in Hamburg.
Pulev was 20-0 and a huge danger man who was tipped to deliver an upset win by some observers. However, "Dr. Steelhammer" was in the zone and he picked apart the Bulgarian in a one-sided massacre.
He dropped the Bulgarian four times and all four knockdowns came courtesy of his devilishly underrated left hook. The KO blow in round five was voted 'Knockout of the Year' by ESPN.
Another career highlight was the 2013 clinic he put on against Alexander Povetkin in Moscow. Like Klitschko, Povetkin was an Olympic gold-medalist and fancied the job on home soil.
A huge purse bid meant both men were rewarded handsomely for their endeavours but the fight failed to catch fire, with Klitschko dominating behind a ram-rod jab, which was occasionally punctuated with a big right hand over the top.
Povetkin had never previously been on the floor but was knocked down four times as Klitschko cruised to a facile 119-104 victory on all three judges' scorecards.
The biggest fight never to happen of course was against his brother and Mayor of Kyiv in Vitali Klitschko. Both men ruled the division in the 2000s - holding various title belts - and while they engaged in some serious, bloody sparring as youngsters, no amount of money could get them to box each other professionally.
Wladimir Klitschko's net worth
Klitschko enjoyed a long, storied and successful career as a two-time world heavyweight champion. His status helped him earn lucrative endorsement deals from companies such as Hugo Boss, McFit and Mercedes Benz.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Wladimir has amassed a net worth of $60 million. In 2013 Vlad Hryunov, a Russian entrepreneur, bid over $23million (£14m) to promote Klitschko v Alexander Povetkin in Moscow.
At the time it was the largest guaranteed purse in boxing since Las Vegas hotelier Steve Wynn paid an eye-watering $32.1million for Buster Douglas against Evander Holyfield in 1990.
Klitschko's brother Vitali was also a world champion heavyweight boxer, first winning the WBO title in 1999 after knocking out Britain's Herbie Hide. Vitali was also Ring magazine title holder from 2004 to 2005 and held the WBC world heavyweight title between 2008 and 2013.
The brothers made a promise to their mother Nadezhda Ulyanovna they would never fight. Wlad was married to model Aleksandra Klitschko between 1996 and 1998.
Amateur career: Olympic glory
He also has a daughter, Kaya Klitschko, to American actress Hayden Panettiere. The pair met at a book launch in 2009 and began dating soon after. In 2013 they announced their engagement and their daughter was born in December 2014.
However, by August 2018 Panettiere announced the couple had split. Their daughter resides with Wladimir in Ukraine.
Klitschko was an accomplished amateur who had a record of 134 wins against just six losses. He first shot to prominence by winning silver at the 1994 Junior World Championships, where he lost 7-2 to gifted Cuban Michel Lopez in the final.
He won another silver medal at the 1996 European Championships after losing 6-1 to Russia's Alexei Lezin in the final in Denmark.
Klitschko put it all together when it mattered in the summer of the same year to win the 1996 Olympic Games. Campaigning at super-heavyweight Klitschko gained revenge against Lezin while also beating Lawrence Clay-Bey (USA), Attila Levin (Sweden) and Paea Wolfgramm (Tonga) in the final.
Winning gold in Atlanta proved the springboard to launch his pro career and ensured his pro debut in Germany in November 1996 was headline news.