Former champion Ibragimov calls it quits
NEW YORK -- Former heavyweight champion Sultan Ibragimov has decided to retire, more than a year after losing his title in a one-sided decision to Wladimir Klitschko.
His promoter Leon Margules of Seminole Warriors Boxing confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday that the former WBO titleholder will no longer fight, after a short professional career in which he went 22-1-1 and had 17 knockouts.
"I always believed he was never going to fight again after the Klitschko fight, because he had enough money and he didn't seem to have his heart in it," Margules said.
The 34-year-old Ibragimov, an undersized heavyweight from Rostov-na-Donu, Russia, lost to Cuban great Felix Savon in the gold-medal fight at the Sydney Olympics.
Ibragimov turned professional in 2002 and fought the majority of his career in the United States. His first notable victory came three years later over Lance Whitaker, and his career picked up speed after that.
He dominated Shannon Briggs in 2007 to win the WBO heavyweight title at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., then made an easy and lucrative defense over a badly faded Evander Holyfield in Moscow four months later.
Ibragimov's loss to Klitschko at Madison Square Garden in February 2008 netted him another big payday, but that was about it. For 12 rounds the taller, stronger and more tactical Klitschko -- widely considered the best heavyweight in the world -- toyed with Ibragimov, stomping on his lead foot and using his jab to keep the Barney Rubble lookalike away.
The dreadfully boring fight ended in a lopsided unanimous decision and was met with a chorus of boos from the crowd, many of whom had paid handsomely to watch the first heavyweight unification fight in nearly nine years.
Ibragimov was one of only five southpaw heavyweight champions in history, the others being Michael Moorer, Corrie Sanders, Chris Byrd and Ruslan Chagaev.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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