After a successful professional career spanning 14 years, Joe Calzaghe has decided to hang up is gloves. It marks the end of a fantastic boxer who will now step out of the ring to spend more time with his family.
He revealed: “I had a long think with my family,” he then added: “My children wanted me to give up, plus my mum. That’s why I called it a day and will go on to do something else.”
The combative 36-year-old Welshman will end his career undefeated. 46 wins in 46 matches. A simply staggering achievement. He has reigned as World Champion for 11 of the 25 years. He retired as the current ‘Super Middle Weight’ and ‘Light Heavy weight’ champion of the world.
He has held the WBO, WBA, WBC and IBF super-middleweight belts during his career and hold the record in recent times for longest reigning World Champion. Ã‚Â´The Pride Of WalesÃ‚Â´ as Calzaghe is sometimes referred to as, was coached by his father, Enzo.
In 1997, he won his first title against Chris Eubank to claim the WBO title. His other notable scalps include Bernard Hopkins, Mikkel Kessler and Roy Jones Jr. He is rated by the Ã‚Â´Ring MagazineÃ‚Â´ as one of the best pound for pound fighters to have ever stepped inside the ring.
In 2003, the Queen recognised his achievements in boxing by awarding him with an MBE. In 2007, his achievements were recognized by the British public, as he won Ã‚Â´BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2007Ã‚Â´ beating Lewis Hamilton and Ricky Hatton.
When asked would he ever reconsider his decision he replied: “You can never say never in this game, but I can’t see myself boxing again. There’s loads of things I want to do. I’m proud to be one of only a few fighters in history to retire undefeated.” Ã‚Â´
And indeed he can be proud. After such a spectacular career, he will remain one of the greatest boxers that Wales and Great Britain has ever produced and invariably will ever produce. A boxer who proved he could move up and down weight classes and still win.
Lets hope that the likes of Ricky Hatton and Aimar Kahn can emulate some of CalzagheÃ‚Â´s great achievements.
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BIOGRAPHY: Eric Bailly