Sheffield’s Ryan Rhodes announced his retirement from boxing today at the age of 35 deciding to bring an end to his 52-fight professional career after losing to Sergey Rabchenko in June.

Rhodes began his career at Brenden Ingles famous Wincobank gym in Sheffield going on to become the youngest post-war holder of the British title when he beat fellow Sheffield light-middleweight Paul ‘Silky’ Jones in just his 10th outing as a professional. he went on to win the belt outright in a record 90 days.

The southpaw stepped up to middleweight to challenge Otis Grant for the vacant WBO strap in 1997, only to lose by unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards.

He again came up just short on the world stage against Gary Lockett nine years later, leading to him dropping back down to light-middle.

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The move led to a late renaissance – a ninth-round KO of Gary Woolcombe saw him get his hands back on the Lonsdale belt again and he then added the European crown by stopping Jamie Moore in a thriller in Bolton.

But after failing to take the WBC title from Mexican Saul Alvarez last year and after failing to conquer Europe again against Sergey Rabchenko in Manchester this year, Rhodes has decided the time is right to call it quits.

Ryan was to move from the Wincobank in later years and was trained and managed by Dave Coldwell up to his retirement. He and Coldwell are very close friends and Ryan has expressed his hopes to help Dave with some of his up and coming boxers in the future.

Coldwell today said of his relationship with Ryan. “End of an era for me today, held a press lunch so my good friend Ryan Rhodes could announce his retirement from boxing to the media.

“It’s Been a fantastic career and I’m proud to have trained, managed and promoted his career over the last 7 years.  Proud of you Ryan x” said Coldwell ~ Boxing will miss Ryan Rhodes! All the best mate, enjoy your retirement you deserve it. Thanks for the memories. – BritishBoxers.co.uk

The Ryan Rhodes Boxing Story
 
It only seems like yesterday that Ryan Rhodes and childhood friend, gym mate and boxing side kick Prince Naseem Hamed set out to conquer the boxing world, with their brand of Errol Graham Esc boxing, switch hitting and lucid skills bred into their souls and psyche by trainer Brendan Ingle at his inner city Winkobank Gym in Sheffield.
 
By the time Rhodes turned pro, The Prince, who referred to Rhodes as ‘family’ after meeting when they were 6 years-old, had already built up a 16 fight unbeaten record and had claimed the European bantamweight title and the WBC International super bantamweight belt.
 
Prince Naseem Hamed was a phenomenon in boxing and blew his way through the featherweight division. As we know went on to win the WBO, WBC and IBF world featherweight titles. The one blot on Hamed’s record was a points defeat to the legendary Marco Antonio Barrera, and was the last meaning full fight the Prince had before finishing his career (36-1, 31 KO’s) in May 2002 as one of British boxing’s best and favourite fighters.
 
Rhodes’ professional debut didn’t quite go according to plan, when he was dropped twice in the 1st round against Lee Crocker in The Cardiff Ice Rink in Wales. The self styled ‘Spice Boy’ at the time got up and after a rollicking in the corner from Brendan Ingle, came out to stop Crocker in the 2nd.
 
The knockdown made Rhodes realise that the professional game wasn’t all fun and games and even though the flashy ring walks, back flips and dazzling moves were still on show, his ring intent and desire to succeed were big.
 
Rhodes, in just his 11th fight claimed the British light-middleweight title, becoming the youngest to do so since the war, in a local Sheffield Derby against Paul ‘Silky’ Jones. ‘Silky’ as the name suggests was a real good slick boxer and seasoned campaigner, once gym mate of Rhodes and cut from the same cloth – with the hit and not get hit style.

Jones infact- had won the WBO light-middleweight world title by outpointing
Verno Phillips in his previous fight a year before. But Rhodes had too much on the night for Jones and won on points, be it a close majority decision.

“A lot of people were surprised when I was matched with him, but I never questioned Brendan’s judgement, even to myself. said Rhodes at the time.

“I had absolute confidence that I could beat Paul, and so did Brendan and Frank Warren (promoter at the time) – The only worry was the similarity in our styles.

“fighting Paul was like fighting my shadow. It wasn’t that I’d modelled myself on him or on Herol or anyone else. All Brendan’s boys have basically the same style, hit and not get hit. It’s the way he’s been training fighters since he first came to Sheffield, and he was doing it before he had
Herol Graham.”

Rhodes went on to keep the Lonsdale belt outright and in record breaking time, before going on to capture the IBF Inter-Continental light middleweight title against
Ed Griffin.

He was then offered a shot at the vacant WBO middleweight title against Jamaican born Canadian
Otis Grant in December 1997. The step up in weight and class had come too soon for the Spice Boy and he was to suffer his first loss has a professional. Grant took a close but unanimous points decision.

After a year out following the Grant fight, Rhodes was back and over the next five years had 11 fights around the UK circuit, picking up a couple of International straps, but two stoppage defeats against
Jason Matthews and Lee Blundell seemed to have put paid to the Yorkshire man’s plans of becoming a world champion.

But Rhodes (45-4, 31KO’s) is made of a commodity familiar to his Sheffield roots, with a steel determination and utter love for boxing, saw Rhodes dust himself down to return with 10 straight wins before being offered a fight with Welsh WBU middleweight champion
Gary Lockett. In front of his home crowd at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff Lockett retained his title on points, leaving Rhodes to pick up the pieces again.

In June 2007 after another years break from the sport, Rhodes’ began another chapter in his boxing biography, the final chapter.

Since the second coming of Rhodes, he had put the losses and title disappointments behind him with a new found lust for his trade and ditched the old ‘Spice Boy’ image, he embarked on a winning streak that saw him once again claim the British light-middleweight title, twelve years after he held the same Lonsdale belt, stopping
Gary Woolcombe in round 9. 

Rhodes went onto defeat South Africa’s Vincent Vuma to win the WBC International light-middleweight title and in doing so obtained a world top 10 ranking and a shot at the European belt against friend and terrific fighter in Manchester’s Jamie Moore. The fight also doubled as an eliminator for the WBC light-middleweight title.
 
It was to be Rhodes’ finest boxing hour to date and in what most described as the fight of 2009, Yorkshire triumphed Lancashire in a contest that was worthy of the tag ‘War of the Roses’ – Rhodes stopped Moore in seven pulsating rounds of action at the Bolton arena.
 
Since winning the title, Rhodes defended it against Italian Luca Messi KO6 and had a tick over fight against Rocky Junior KO2, while awaiting his shot at the world title.
 
In the meantime Manchester’s Matthew Hatton had got an unlikely chance at the world title against champion Saul Alvarez in March ahead of Rhodes, who was the number 1 contender. He took the champion the distance in a good performance showing his toughness. After that Rhodes was given his chance against ‘Canelo’
 
Alvarez, at 20-year-old was the youngest ever light-middleweight world champion, and was only 4 years-old when Rhodes made his professional debut and the young Mexican had already amassed an outstanding record of 36 fights unbeaten, with 31 KO’s – going into the fight with Rhodes.
 
Ryan was not only up against not only one of boxing’s new super star attractions and best fighters of the day, but a Hugh partisan crowd in Mexico’s second-largest city.
 
It seemed evident from early on that Ryan’s game plan was to stop Alvarez. His team had considered that trying to out box and win a points decision against a Mexican boxing idol in Mexico was not an option and a knockout was the European champions only hope of delivering a massive upset.
 
Most could understand that thinking and Ryan gave it his best shot against one of the rising stars of world boxing. But the WBC light-middleweight champion who looks to be improving in every fight, proved to be too strong, too quick, too busy and too young for the Sheffield ‘Spice Boy’ who’s third world title opportunity ended in the twelfth round, when his brave stance and willingness to engage Canelo was cut abrupt.
Boxing fans knew Ryan was in for an hard night, which ever way you looked at it. But knowing the Sheffield mans sublime skills, ring craft and added experience, the Rhodes believers thought that he may have the style to tie the young champion in knots and give him untold problems. I had envisaged in hope that Rhodes would frustrate Canelo, never being in one spot for a second, having him punching thin air and becoming frustrated, walking onto big shots from Rhodes.
 
But Ryan’s 16 year career was not to be topped by a world title and a fairy tale against the odds ending, this night was not to be his crowning glory, he fought the best out there at the weight no doubt and for one of the prestigious world titles, going out on his shield and on his feet.
 
Afterwards Rhodes (45-5, 31 KOs) paid tribute to Alvarez and admitted that although he had soaked up Canelo’s head shots, he had been hurt to the body too much by who he sees as a boxing superstar.
 
“I had under estimated his strength and power. He’s a strong young kid – I was beaten tonight by a superstar of world boxing. said Rhodes after the fight.
 
“His body shots took their toll on me through the fight. Then he caught me with a couple of good body shots in that final round.
 
“I just couldn’t get out of the way and the referee stopped it.
 
“But yes, he caught me with too many body shots.
 
“I was able to take the head shots but the body shots seemed to take their toll on me.”

Unfortunately it was one step too far against the young hungry Rabchenko and after getting caught with a left hook to the body at the end of the round Ryan didn’t recover and was stopped in round 7.Five months later Rhodes was back in the ring against Siarhei Khomitski with a 8 round points win, before going on to and trying become a two-time European champion when he went in with Sergey Rabchenko for the vacant belt in June 2012.

And so the last words should be left to the man himself from this point. A fighter who always carried the spring and style of youth throughout his career, Ryan Rhodes.

‘I’ll be 36 in a couple of months and it’s going to take me 18 months to get up to a European title level.

‘I think it’s just the right time to bow out now.

‘I’ve got all my faculties intact and I think I’ve enjoyed a terrific career.

‘I considered going on but I have to think about a lot of things. My daughters are 13 and 10 now and it’s heartbreaking for me to see them upset after a fight hasn’t gone my way.

‘I compared the positives to the negatives and the negatives outweighed the positives.

‘I’m going to stay in the gym. I love training and working with the younger lads and if I can pass on any of my knowledge then that would be brilliant.

‘I’ve got a few options at the moment but it’s early days and I’m going to take some time to think things over.

‘There are a lot of politics in boxing but I’d love to be in the corner with fighters, passing on what I’ve learned over my career.’