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Andre Ward has announced that he is “leaving” boxing.
In a statement entitled “Mission Accomplished,” the fighter said that he was beginning to recognize what boxing was doing to his body and no longer had a desire to keep fighting.
“I want to be clear – I am leaving because my body can no longer put up with the rigors of the sport and therefore my desire to fight is no longer there,” Ward said in his statement. “If I cannot give my family, my team, and the fans everything that I have, then I should no longer be fighting.”
At 33-years-old, Ward will hang up his gloves with a perfect record of 32-0-0 and 16 knockouts to his name, and finish his career widely considered as the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
Most recently, Ward fought Russian boxer Sergey Kovalev in two high-profile matches. After taking Kovalev’s three belts by a unanimous decision that some deemed controversial in 2016, Ward decisively took him down again this past June, winning by TKO in the eighth round. As it stands, it will be the last time boxing fans got to see Ward in the ring.
While speaking with ESPN’s First Take, Ward went into further detail as to how boxing was wearing on his body and life. “I felt the physicality of the sport, not just in the ring stuff, but the training and the preparation, start to take its toll on me for the last two or three years,” he told Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith. “I bit down and continued to push through and at this point, it’s time and I know it’s time.”