Boxing: Collins announces his retirement

Steve Collins, the World Boxing Organisation super-middle-weight champion, yesterday announced his retirement from boxing. The Irishman, who had pulled out of his title defence against Joe Calzaghe which was due to take place in Sheffield on Saturday week, made the announcement at the British Boxing Awards ceremony in Bloomsbury, central London.

Collins, accepting the award for Best Overseas Boxer, said: "I don't have the motivation that I once had.

"My only way to carry on was to fight Roy Jones, the WBC [World Boxing Council] light heavyweight champion, but as there is no chance of that happening now, the only route I have is to retire.

"As a super-middleweight, it was a very exciting time with the likes of Mike McCallum, Gerald McClellan, James Toney, Michael Watson, Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank.

"I believed I was the best of that group, and with my two world title wins over Benn and Eubank I proved it."

Collins, nicknamed "Celtic Warrior", added: "I would like to thank the British fans for supporting me and promoter Frank Warren, who gave me the chance to further my career, which sadly is now over."

Collins revealed that he had been considering retiring from boxing for a while before finally hanging up his gloves yesterday afternoon. The Irishman said: "It's something I've been thinking over in my mind for the best part of 12 months."

After announcing his decision to quit he told BBC Radio 5 Live: "If you continue in the game without hunger that's when people lose and get hurt.

"I'm quitting while I'm ahead and I'm happy to have achieved all my ambitions.

"The fight that would have kept me in boxing was against Roy Jones. But he has ducked me for two years, even though Frank Warren, my promoter, did everything to make it happen."

The British Boxing Board of Control secretary, John Morris, believes that the bout between Calzaghe and Collins's replacement, Eubank, will now be for the vacant WBO super- middleweight title - rather than for an interim title.

Following Collins's retirement the championship automatically becomes vacant and Eubank-Calzaghe, which was billed as an interim title fight, is expected to now be for the Irishman's belt.

Morris said: "Ultimately it is up to the WBO to make that decision but as far as I'm concerned, and we at the British Boxing Board of Control are concerned, Chris Eubank and Joe Calzaghe will fight for the vacant title."

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