Wladimir Klitschko was left to rue his missed chances after being knocked out by Anthony Joshua in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley Stadium in London over four years ago.
Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) captured the vacant WBA (Super) and IBO heavyweight world titles in emphatic fashion to add to his shiny IBF belt.
However, the Watford-born boxer didn't have it all his own way, as he was forced to pick himself up off the floor after being floored in the sixth round and outboxed in the early stages.
But AJ ultimately refused to back down as he unleashed a barrage of shots while Klitschko was on the ropes that made the referee stop the fight in the eleventh round.
“I thought he wouldn’t get up. Big respect to AJ. From that moment, I think I should have done more straight after he went down,” Klitschko told Reuters.
“But I was pretty sure it was going to be my night so I took my time.”
Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs), 45, continued to speak highly of Joshua at the post-fight press conference.
“I think Joshua and I both did great, I think we did a lot for the sport in the way we performed and how we respected and treated each other,” he added.
“It was a great night for boxing and the fans. You will probably be surprised by my statement, but I don’t feel like I lost.
“Tonight, we all won. I didn’t get the belts but I didn’t feel like I lost - not my name, my face, nor my reputation. It was great to be involved in such an amazing occasion.”
Humble in defeat, Klitschko described the fight as 'a great night' for boxing fans and it proved to be his last.
“I’ll take my time over deciding what happens next,” he continued.
“I have a rematch clause in the contract but right now I won’t make any decisions.”
However, Klitschko rejected calls from Eddie Hearn to sign his rematch clause for a proposed fight in Las Vegas against Joshua, and he announced his retirement in August 2017.
But he still looks in great shape with Dr Steelhammer still regularly training ahead of a potential comeback.
He was recently linked to a comeback fight against Shannon Briggs, but ultimately the bout never came to fruition.
Following his retirement, the next year Klitschko released his debut book 'Challenge Management: What Managers Can Learn from the Top Athlete', becoming a bestselling author in the process.
Klitschko and his older brother, Vitali, started the Klitschko Foundation back in 2003 to provide charitable projects in education and sports.
Vitali, also a hugely successful boxer in his own right, currently serves as the Mayor of Kiev and head of the Kyiv City State Administration, having held both offices since June 2014.News Now - Sport News