Former cruiserweight world titleholder Grigory Drozd announced his retirement from boxing on Monday.
“Dear friends (and) fans of boxing, today I made a very important decision for me,” he said in a statement. “I officially declare the end of my sports career. I want to thank my team, my coach and my promoters. Life does not stop. In sports I reached the top, but you cannot be there forever. I want to thank the people who were with me — my family, my mother, my wife and my children. Together we went through victories and won the WBC green and gold belt.”
Mainly because of injuries, Drozd (40-1, 28 KOs), 38, of Russia, had not boxed since retaining his 200-pound world title by ninth-round knockout of Lukasz Janik on May 22, 2015.
Drozd was eventually stripped of the belt in 2016 and declared a titleholder “in recess” because he twice pulled out of a mandatory defense against Ilunga “Junior” Makabu due to a serious left hand injury.
“Today in front of me there are many interesting and important tasks such as the development of boxing in the new generations of my country,” Drozd said. “We have achieved a lot, but we still face many more important tasks. Thanks for everything.”
Drozd made his professional debut in 2001 and in 2006 suffered his lone defeat, a fifth-round knockout to Firat Arslan in a world title eliminator; Arslan would go on to win a cruiserweight world title.
Drozd would go on to win the European title and then, in September 2014, he knocked down Krzysztof Wlodarczyk en route to a unanimous decision in Moscow to claim a cruiserweight world title. He defended it only once against Janik, a late replacement for Wlodarczyk, who fell ill two weeks before their scheduled rematch and was replaced.