Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko End Their Romance

05/12/2011 at 10:35 AM EDT

Hayden Panettiere, Wladimir Klitschko Break Up
Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
After two years of dating, Hayden Panettiere and Ukrainian heavyweight boxing champion Wladmir Klitschko are calling it quits, PEOPLE has learned exclusively.

"Even though we've decided splitting up is best for both of us, we have an amazing amount of love and respect for each other and remain very close friends," says the Scream 4 actress, 21.

Klitschko, 35, the reigning IBF, IBO and WBO heavyweight world champion, cites the physical distance as a stumbling block for the couple.

"We had a great time together, but it's not that easy to manage a relationship between two continents," he says. "I have a lot of respect for Hayden as a person and as a friend, and I believe we'll keep our friendship even after the separation."

The two most recently appeared together at the Tribeca Film Festival for the premiere of the documentary Klitschko, about Wladmir and his brother Vitali's boxing careers.

Panettiere, who also voices Red Riding Hood in the animated flick Hoodwinked Too! – for which she shot a music video – will next be seen in the drama Carmel, due later this year.

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