Takahiro Ao, former two-weight world titleholder, retires from boxing
News reached The Ring on Tuesday that former two-weight world titleholder Takahiro Ao has officially retired from professional boxing. The recently turned 36-year-old held featherweight and junior lightweight titles in the late 2000s and early 2010s.
Ao turned professional in September 2003 with a second-round knockout against Hiroshi Kashihara. After winning the Japanese title in 2007, he kept the momentum going by winning the OPBF crown the following year.
At world level, edged the vastly more experienced WBC 126-pound titleholder Oscar Larios on a 12-round split decision to claim that title against the odds. And when they met in a rematch, he scored a wide unanimous decision to erase any doubt.
After surprisingly losing his title to Elio Rojas in his next fight, Ao moved north to junior lightweight and, following two low key wins, unseated WBC 130-pound beltholder Vitali Tajbert. The Japanese lefty would defend three times before losing a unanimous decision to Gamaliel Diaz in October 2012.
Ao responded by moving up to lightweight in an attempt to win a third divisional title He won four fights before being matched against Raymundo Beltran for the vacant WBO lightweight title. Beltran weighed in over the division limit and scored a second-round stoppage, which was changed to no-contest when he failed a post-fight drug test.
Ao (28-3-1, 12 knockouts) fought once more in March 2018, when he beat old rival Diaz via eight-round decision.
The Ring wishes Ao a happy retirement.