Around an hour ago WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (54-0, 18) [วันเฮง มีนะโยธิน] took to social media to announce that he was walking away from boxing and would be retiring
The fighter's full statement can be seen below, though for those wanting a translation he essentially thanked his family, stated that he knows his own body, and would like to heal, whilst also thanking everyone who has supported him over his career.
The Thai, who debuted way back in 2007, is 34 years old currently, which is ancient for a Minimumweight however he had been planning to make his US debut before the current global crisis. It was expected that he would still fight in the US, but today's announcement clearly ends talk of that happening.
As a fighter Wanheng is one of the very few in the modern era to essentially fight in just a single weight class. He is a career Minimumweight, having won the WBC Youth title there back in 2007, before claiming the Interim international, and international silver titles on his way through the ranks. He would then go on to win the WBC world title at Minimumweight in 2014, stopping Oswaldo Novoa in 9 rounds to claim the WBC's top title.
As the world champion Wanheng made 12 defenses, beating the likes of Saul Juarez, Melvin Jerusalem, Tatsuya Fukuhara, Pedro Taduran and, most recently, Simpiwe Konkco.
In August 2018 Wanheng recorded his 51st win, beating Pedro Taduran with a 12 round decision, to move to 51-0, breaking Floyd Mayweather's record, and added 3 more wins, two of which came in world title defenses.
Despite numerous talks of Wanheng leaving his homeland for a bout, he ended up never leaving Thai soil for a bout, running up his staggering unbeaten record at home.
Whilst his record isn't littered with the biggest name opponents it's unlikely we'll see anyone world champion reaching 54-0 again. His perfect winning streak is the longest of any retired world champion, and is not something that we expect to see being seriously challenged, with very few fighters even fighting 50 times in this day and age.
Interestingly this decision from Wanheng leaves the WBC Minimumweight title vacant. Fighters like Melvin Jerusalem, Daniel Valladares, Ginjiro Shigeoka and Marco John Rementizo, who was supposed to face Wanheng this past April, will all be actively chasing the title when boxing resumes fully later this year.
[FOR AN UPDATE ON THIS STORY PLEASE SEE Wanheng Menayothin "cancels" retirement]
Earlier today 24 year old Japanese fighter Change Hamashima (10-6-1, 4) [濱島悠紀] took to social media to announce that his boxing career was coming to an end.
The fighter, from Yamaguchi, announced that he was retiring due to issues with his eyes, stating that he was often seeing double and couldn't fight tough opponents with the issues he was having. As a result he will revert to his birth name, Yuki Hamashima, and will leave the sport.
Although not a big name fighter Hamashima was once regarded as a promising fighter on the Japanese Welterweight scene. The highlifght of his career came when he reached the West Japan Rookie of the Year final in 2016, losing to Naritsugu Nishihara. He bounced back from that loss but sadly however with 5 losses in his final 6 bouts, including bouts with Kudura Kaneko and Rikuto Adachi.
We would like to wish Mr Hamashima all the best in his future career.
Over the weekend former Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (19-2-1, 11) [末吉 大] announced that he was retiring from the sport of boxing, have been thinking about hanging them up following his loss in December to Kosuke Saka (20-5, 17) [坂晃典].
The talented Sueyoshi revealed he was hanging them up in a blog post on Sunday.
Sueyoshi had been a professional since 2011 and had a solid career that saw him beat the likes of Kazuma Sanpei, Roman Canto, Shingo Eta, Allan Vallespin and Nelson Tinampay before winning the Japanese title in 2017. Sueyoshi beat veteran Ribo Takahata to claim the belt, after Kenichi Ogawa had vacated it, and Sueyoshi would record 4 defenses of the belt before losing to Saka late last year.
Not did Sueyoshi have a good, solid, 2 year reign with the national title, but he also ran Hironori Mishiro close in an Japanese and OPBF title unification bout in 2018.
At the moment it's unclear what Sueyoshi's future will bring, but the 29 year old has his life in front of him and has almost certainly made his decision based on the loss to Saka. Whilst it's clear he could have offered the sport more, it's also great to see he's hung up the gloves without taking life changing punishment.
We'd like to wish Sueyoshi all the best in whatever his future ventures are.
Yesterday former 2-weight world champion Takahiro Ao (28-3-1-1, 12) [粟生 隆寛] took to social media to announce that he was retiring from boxing, ending his career on his 36th birthday
Ao had turned professional following an excellent amateur career, going a reported 76-3 (37) in the unpaid ranks. He had high expectations on his shoulders and it was expected he was going to go on to have massive success in he professional ranks. He debuted in 2003, stopping Hiroshi Kashihara, and won the Japanese Featherweight title in 2007. His perfect winning run ended in 2008, when he fought to a draw against Hiroyuki Enoki in a bout that doubled as a Japanese and OPBF title unification and a WBA world title eliminator. Despite the draw Ao would move onto his first world title fight, fighting for the WBC Featherweight title.
Following the draw with Enoki we saw Ao fight to a split decision loss to Oscar Larios, the then WBC Featherweight champion, but then win a rematch 5 months later. His reign was a short one, losing in his first defense to Elio Rojas.
When Ao returned to the ring he moved up in weight, fighting at Super Featherweight where he would become a 2-weight champion thanks to a win over Vitali Tajbert for the WBC Super Featherweight title. This reign was a more significant one for Ao, who made 3 defenses before suffering a loss to Gamaliel Diaz in late 2012.
Following the loss to Diaz we then saw Ao move up in weight, fighting at Lightweight. He reeled off 4 straight wins, including one in the US against Hardy Paredes and one against former world champion Juan Carlos Salgado, before fighting for the WBO Lightweight title in 2015. That world title bout would be marred with issues regarding his opponent. His opponent was Raymundo Beltran, who had missed weight, and would later fail a drugs test. Sadly for Ao he would end up knocked out in round 2 before the result was turned into a No Decision, on the basis of the drug test.
It was almost 3 years until we saw Ao in the ring again, beating former foe Gamaliel Diaz in a genuinely terrible bout, that showed how shot both men were. Diaz announced his retirement soon afterwards, whilst Ao would never fight again. That bout was over 2 years ago, meaning many had already assumed Ao had hung up the gloves, and given the performance many hoped he had.
We would like to wish Ao all the best in whatever he chooses to do.
Earlier today fans saw former unified Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (27-4-2, 12) [田口良一] take part in his retirement ceremony, as he called time on his career at the age of 33.
The popular former world champion took part in a 3 round exhibition with former WBA Super Featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama [内山 高志] as part of the ceremony, with the two close friends, who have been described as being like brothers in the past.
The first two rounds saw the two sparring with head gear, before removing it for the final round and giving the fans a show, with Taguchi attempting to earn a financial reward that was offered by the show's sponsor if he could knockout Uchiyama, adding a bit of extra spice to their exhibition.
Afterwards the two men had a bit of a joke, before Uchiyama encouraged the fans in the venue to support Taguchi in whatever he does now he's retired.
After Uchiyama's words it was the turn of Hitoshi Watanabe, who stated that when Taguchi won the WBA world title at the end of 2014 was his best memory.
Taguchi then had a chance to speak to the fans himself, an explained that he started boxing at the age of 18 with the dream of becoming a world champion, before saying thanks, revealing he planned to stay in boxing in some form, with the speculation now being that he, like Uchiyama, will open a gym.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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