Wladimir Klitschko may have lost his world title fight with Anthony Joshua back in April but he gained plenty of respect from his peers and fans.
The 41-year-old floored Joshua for the first time in his professional career but the Brit recovered to secure a stunning a knockout victory in the 11th round.
It was a fight that will be talked about for years to come. It had just about everything you would want from a world heavyweight title clash.
Klitschko has generally avoided the spotlight as much as possible in the immediate aftermath as we await his decision whether he will retire from the sport.
But the Ukrainian issued his first public statement since the fight on Thursday via his official LinkedIn account.
In it, the former world champ refused to reveal if he will be returning to the ring - with a potential rematch against Joshua still on the cards - but his enthusiasm for the sport remains clear.
And Klitschko admitted that he still felt like a winner when he left the ring at Wembley.
"After years of constantly preparing myself up for victory, this is a completely new experience. I now understand that success does not necessarily mean achieving a set goal," Klitschko wrote.
"Instead, success means achieving the best possible result. Sometimes we cannot see beforehand what the best possible result might be.
"In the end, it was Anthony Joshua who struck the decisive blow and left the ring victorious. I failed to achieve my goal of winning, but I did in fact gain much more than this.
"I never thought I would say such a thing, but: in defeat, I achieved much greater success than I would have had I won. Fans and sports enthusiasts worldwide are celebrating my performance and showing me their appreciation. Even my opponent expressed his respect for me.
"The responses that I received and continue to receive after this night of boxing are overwhelming. Commentators reported that I showed greatness even in defeat."
"It took a while for me to get over not winning in the ring. Yet I immediately experienced an increase in recognition and respect. When I appeared at Wembley Stadium on April 29, I was booed by the majority of the spectators.
"Joshua had a clear home advantage as an Englishman. But as I left the ring again, I got goosebumps. Tens of thousands of people who had wanted me to be defeated were applauding me.
"I experienced enthusiasm, encouragement and respect: for me, my performance, my fair fight and my boxing as a whole. I cannot wish for anything better."
What a true legend of the sport.
Could this be a hint Klitschko would like a rematch with Joshua later this year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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