Wladimir Klitschko

After being defeated for the first time since 2004 this past weekend, some questioned whether former heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko would return to boxing… or hang up his gloves. After all, he is 39 and will turn 40 in March 2016.

But… the Ukrainian big man is not done.

Klitschko announced Wednesday (Dec. 2) that he will exercise his contractual right to an immediate rematch against Tyson Fury, who defeated him on Saturday (No. 28), via unanimous decision.

“I was really frustrated directly after the fight, but after some short nights, I now know that I want to show that I am much better than my performance on Saturday,” Klitschko said. “I couldn’t show my full potential at any time. This is what I want to change in the rematch — and I will. Failure is not an option.”

Klitschko-Fury wasn’t exactly a thriller, but Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) did enough to frustrate Klitschko… and win 116-111, 115-112 and 115-112 on the scorecards.  It was the biggest heavyweight upset since Hasim Rahman laid out Lennox Lewis to win the title in 2001.

His victory ended Klitschko’s historic title reign, which he’s held for nine and a half years, and successfully defended his title 18 consecutive times, third-most in division history.

As for the rematch, a date and venue has yet to be announced.

A message to the fans of boxing.

A post shared by Wladimir Klitschko (@klitschko) on