Wladimir Klitschko: Dillian Whyte says former champion is seeking boxing return

Klitschko
Klitschko went 11 years unbeaten from 2004 and unified the heavyweight division

British heavyweight Dillian Whyte says Wladimir Klitschko is "definitely" looking to come out of retirement.

Ukraine's Klitschko retired in August 2017 but earlier in January BBC Radio 5 live boxing analyst Steve Bunce said the 42-year-old was "coming back".

Klitschko later tweeted the rumour was an "early April fool's day joke".

Whyte said: "That's a lie, Klitschko is definitely coming back. We offered him a fight and he said he needs two warm-up fights before he fights me."

"That's a massive compliment because he was a unified world champion and reigned for so many years," Whyte told Behind The Gloves.

"He's definitely coming back, 100%. He's a smart man, he knows how to play the media and control stuff. He does what he does and did it for years.

"George Foreman did it and he thinks he wants to come back and do it to. Klitschko is all about legacy, not about money. It's about cementing a legacy.

"If he comes back and loses, so what? If he wins, then great."

Whyte is ranked as number one contender with two of boxing's four sanctioning bodies and has received what he feels is an unsatisfactory financial offer to face British IBF, WBA and WBO champion Anthony Joshua.

Whyte knocked out another Briton, Dereck Chisora, in his last fight in London in December.

Klitschko embarked on an 11-year unbeaten run from 2004 which saw him hold the IBF, WBO and WBA world titles, eventually losing to Tyson Fury in 2015.

In his next and final bout 17 months later he was beaten by Joshua in a thrilling contest at Wembley Stadium, leaving him with a record of 64 wins and five defeats.

The former unified champion's dismissal of a potential return stated he thinks he has "still got it" but added: "I need to call such speculation an early April fool's day joke".

But reports in the US state he has held talks with DAZN, the subscription streaming service which signed Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez to the most lucrative contract in boxing history.

BBC Sport has contacted DAZN for comment.

Earlier this week, Eddie Hearn, who promotes Whyte and Joshua, said he was "not sure" if Klitschko was returning but added the thriving nature of the heavyweight division may prove tempting.

"People who may have retired recently will look at the division and think 'wow', it wasn't like that when I was fighting," Hearn told IFL TV. "Maybe he's looking at it thinking 'I wish it was like that when I was there'.

"I would think there is not a day that goes past where Wladimir doesn't fancy coming back as he's a big contender with a big heart and is a big competitor."

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