RETIRING Sheffield fighter Ryan Rhodes has told The Star he will forever be haunted by his three world title near-misses, writes Dom Howson.
At an emotional press conference yesterday afternoon, Rhodes, holding back the tears, hung up his gloves, calling time on an illustrious 17-year career.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our special video report, including a tribute by boxing trainer David Coldwell.
It was more than a year ago the 35-year-old southpaw was stopped by Mexican Saul Alvarez in the 12th round of their WBC world title showdown. Rhodes has since lost to Sergey Rabchenko at Euro level, prompting the Sheffielder to pack it in following a family holiday in Egypt.
But Rhodes insists he has no regrets over his career and can bow out of the sport with his head held high.
“It (the world title losses) will haunt me forever but I have won everything else,” he said. “I won the British and European titles. My aim was to win the British title and I achieved that and I fought for the European title.
“Of course, there is going to be disappointment but I have had a fantastic career.”
Rhodes said he spoke to Sheffield greats Johnny Nelson and Prince Naseem Hamed before making his mind up.
“It is a massive decision because boxing is all I have done for nearly 30 years,” said Rhodes, whose record reads 46 victories and six losses.
Asked for his career highlight, Rhodes said beating his friend and former adversary, Jamie Moore, to secure the Euro crown in 2009.
He said: “I feel in the last seven years I have proven a lot of people wrong and I proved to myself I could still do it.”
Rhodes would love to stay in the sport in some capacity. David Coldwell, his trainer, paid tribute to his long-time friend, claiming he is a role model for young budding fighters. “When it comes to discipline and hard work, you can’t beat Ryan,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for him.”
See our video at www.thestar.co.uk/video