True warrior goes out at the top

BOXING'An emotional Ryan Rhodes announces his retirement from boxing at Napoleons in Owlerton Sheffield
BOXING'An emotional Ryan Rhodes announces his retirement from boxing at Napoleons in Owlerton Sheffield
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RYAN RHODES will rightly be remembered as much more than boxing’s nearly man.

The 35-year-old has decided to hang up his gloves and end his 17 year career as a professional fighter.

A hard-hitting southpaw middleweight who oozed class, Rhodes went from the Spice Boy on the crest of Naseem Hamed’s 90s wave to Classic Old Spice in his own right.

Rhodes fought in and won five British title fights. The first British title win, aged just 20 gave him the honour of being the youngest post-war holder of the title and he claimed another accolade by winning the belt outright with two defences in just 90 days - the quickest time ever.

He became European champion following a War Of The Roses thriller against Jamie Moore in 2009. His effort to win it back against Sergey Rabchenko earlier this year fell short and will be his 52nd and last professional fight.

Unfortunately for Rhodes a world title always eluded him. In 1997, he lost to Otis Grant and last year he put in a valiant effort against Mexican superstar Saul Alvarez. There was also a WBU title loss to Gary Lockett and an interim WBO title defeat to Jason Matthews but Rhodes’ wins were often spectacular. He won 46 times and stopped 31 opponents.

Dave Coldwell used to look up to Rhodes in the Ingle gym before he revived his career as his trainer and manager.

He said: “I’m really proud of him and it has been a long ride. It’s good that he has gone out at the top.’’

Rhodes plans on remaining in boxing but hasn’t decided in which capacity yet.