The boxing world was struck by surprise as the most recognized number one pound-for-pound boxer announced on Thursday that he was stepping away from the sport.
33-year-old WBA-IBF-WBO light heavyweight champion and 2004 Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward announced on his website that he is leaving the sport of boxing due to his body not being able to keep up with the demands of the combat sport.
From Ward’s website:
To the sport of boxing – I love you. You’ve been by my side since I was 10-years-old. You’ve taught me so much. You’ve humbled me. You’ve promoted me. I’ve sacrificed a lot for you, but you’ve given me more than I ever thought possible. You gave me a platform, made me a champion and helped me provide for my family. I am forever grateful to you. You and I will always be synonymous, connected at the hip. Thank you for all the wonderful people I’ve come in contact with because of you. I’ve made friends for life. As I walk away from the sport of boxing today, I leave at the top of your glorious mountain, which was always my vision and my dream. I did it. We did it.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who has played a part in my journey. You know who you are. I could not have done this without you. 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. If I cannot give my family, my team, and the fans everything that I have, then I should no longer be fighting. Above all, I give God the Glory, for allowing me to do what I’ve done, for as long as I have.
Andre “S.O.G” Ward
Andre Ward holds a perfect 32-0 professional boxing record with 16 wins coming by way of KO. Ward last fought Sergey Kovalev in a title fight rematch in June and won by TKO to defend his IBF, WBA, and WBO light heavyweight titles. Ward won the IBF, WBA, and WBO titles against Kovalev in his prior fight, which took place in November of last year.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 9/21/2017.