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Boxing | International

Retirement 'not far' says Vitali

WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko says his retirement is not far off, but he still has a few fights left in him.

"I feel like a 25-year-old but on paper I'm a boxing grandpa; I'm well aware of that," the 39-year-old has told a German newspaper, Bild.

Klitschko is preparing to defend his against unbeaten Cuban Odlanier Solis in Cologne on March 19.

He sais his wife Natalie, who would like to see her husband hang up his gloves, "won't have to wait too much longer."

"Lots of sportsmen have missed the right moment to end their career. That's not going to happen with me. Every fight carries with it a big risk. You have to be realistic. But there will be a couple of fights yet," he told the newspaper.

Klitschko insists that Solis is one of the best in the world, even though critics say the Ukrainian takes only easy fights.

"I have always said I want to face the best in the world, because it makes the fights more interesting," Klitschko said earlier this week.

"I want to show that I am Number One in the world. This will not be a walk in the park. He is a good young boxer, but he misses the experience which is important in the world of boxing."

Klitschko, 39, has come in for criticism recently for the opponents he fights, especially after his unanimous points victory over Shannon Briggs of the United States in October.

It was the sixth defence of the heavyweight title he won by defeating Nigeria's Samuel Peter in Berlin in October 2008.

A former Olympic heavyweight champion, Solis, 30, has a perfect record of 17 wins, 12 knockouts and no defeats.


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