It was the final goodbye from Wladimir Klitschko as the once heavyweight champion turned down a rematch offer and a $30 million payday to quit the sport.
Klitschko was supposed to fight Joshua in a rematch in November after losing their heavyweight champions bout in April.
The 41-year-old Ukranian announced his retirement via a video message on Wednesday in which he started by highlighting what he has achieved with boxing.
“I have achieved everything I dreamed of, and now I want to start my second career after sports,” Klitschko said.
“I would have never imagined that I would have such a long and incredibly successful boxing career.”
Klitschko was the heavyweight champion twice in his career that spanned 21 years, holding the title from 2006-2015 before losing to Tyson Fury.
The Ukrainian ends his career with a record of 64 wins and five defeats.
His journey in professional boxing kicked off when he won Olympic super-heavyweight gold at the 1996 Games in Atlanta.
Klitschko’s retirement means Joshua will now defend his International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association title belts against Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev, on a new date, in the UK.