Denis Lebedev, former world cruiserweight champion, retires at 39
Former world cruiserweight boxing champion Denis Lebedev announced his retirement Thursday at age 39, ending a lengthy and colorful career in the ring.
❌ Denis Lebedev has officially announced that he’s retired from boxing. The WBA ‘super’ cruiserweight champion has vacated his title as a result.
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) July 11, 2019
Lebedev, who hasn’t fought since November, was hoping to face the then-unified cruiserweight champ Oleksandr Usyk, but the Ukrainian moved up to heavyweight in March. Then, after a planned bout against Frenchman Arsen Goulamirian collapsed last week, Lebedev apparently decided to retire.
“The time has come to leave elite sport,” he said in a video posted to social media (translation via Twitter). “As a real man, husband and father, I must focus on my big family and try to give as much attention as possible to those closest to me.”
Known for entering the ring in Russian paratrooper uniform, Lebedev won the interim WBA cruiserweight title in 2011 against James Toney and successfully defended it eight times through 2017.
He also won the IBF belt in 2016 from Victor Emilio Ramirez but lost it seven months later to fellow Russian Murat Gassiev.
Lebedev finishes with a 32-2-1 win-loss record, 23 by knockout (a loss to Guillermo Jones in 2013 was later changed to a no-contest when Jones failed a drug test).
Interestingly, some argue that Lebedev might best be remembered for two losses: the one to Jones that was changed and a controversial split-decision against Marco Huck for the WBO cruiserweight title in December 2010.
Written by Bob Hille