End of the Rhode for Ryan
'Spice Boy' missed out on claiming a world title during his career
Last Updated: 05/09/12 2:21pm
Ryan Rhodes: lost to Sergey Rabchenko in what would turn out to be the final fight of his career
Ryan Rhodes has announced he is hanging up his gloves at the age of 35.
The Sheffield-born boxer, who started out in the famous Wincobank gym alongside Prince Naseem Hamed, has decided to bring the curtain down on his 52-fight professional career after losing to Sergey Rabchenko in June.
"It's nearly 30 years since I walked into Brendan Ingle's gym. But I think it's the right time to let the younger generation come through."
Ryan Rhodes Quotes of the week
"Three months has passed since my last fight, and I've had a very good break to think over things," he said.
"As things stand it would be a case of going back to British title level. It's something I've won twice already, I own the Lonsdale belt outright, so I have to decide whether I can get up for another British title fight.
"Even if I won it, it would take a year, 18 months to get back to European title level, and who's to say after that I would get a world title fight, a world title win - my absolute dream.
"I'd be 38 by then. I always wanted it to be my decision whether I retire or not, and as things stand that's what I'm doing. It's the right time to bow out of boxing."
Rhodes became the youngest post-war holder of a British belt when he defeated fellow Sheffield light-middleweight Paul 'Silky' Jones in just his 10th bout as a pro; he went on to win the belt outright in a record 90 days.
The southpaw stepped up to middleweight to challenge Otis Grant for the vacant WBO strap in 1997, only to lose by unanimous decision on the judges' scorecards.
Rhodes again came up just short on the world stage against Gary Lockett nine years later, leading to him dropping back down to light-middle.
The move led to a late renaissance - a ninth-round KO of Gary Woolcombe saw him get his hands back on the Lonsdale belt again and he then added the European crown by stopping Jamie Moore in a thriller in Bolton.
But a brave bid to take the WBC title from classy Mexican Saul Alvarez saw him stopped in the 12th last year and after failing to conquer Europe again, Rabchenko getting the better of him in the seventh round of their clash in Manchester this year, Rhodes has decided the time is right to call it quits.
"I've had a fantastic career, I've won everything apart from a world title," he added. "It's been a massive decision, I talked to my trainer Dave Coldwell, to the likes of Johnny Nelson, Naz about stepping out of boxing.
"It's all I've ever done. It's nearly 30 years since I walked into Brendan Ingle's gym. But I think it's the right time to let the younger generation come through.
"I don't want to be in the situation where I box, get beat, and blame it on not being able to get up for the fight. I've got too much respect for myself and for boxing."
Coldwell, who guided Rhodes back to the top after teaming up in 2005, paid tribute to his close friend.
"The turning point was the defeat to Gary Lockett," he said. "I always believed he could take a shot, and that fight proved it to Ryan too. It pushed him on.
"Our ambition was to win a British title. To win that, and then beat Jamie Moore, I think that was the last box ticked, to stand there and have a proper fight.
"Then to have a WBC title fight was amazing. The one thing I say to all the kids coming through, is when it comes down to discipline, hard work and mental fortitude, you can't beat this man.
"He's done everything we've asked him to do. I've got loads of respect for him to come to me after 22 years with Brendan Ingle and listen to what I had to say.
"It's been absolute blast working with Ryan for the last seven years."