Andriy Kotelnik Retires From Boxing, Ends Speculation About Absence

Former junior welterweight titleholder and Olympic silver medalist Andriy Kotelnik has announced his retirement from boxing.

Former junior welterweight titlist Andriy Kotelnik has announced his retirement from boxing, ending speculation as to where he's gone since his controversial 2010 loss in St. Louis to Devon Alexander, and also ending what was a fine professional career following a standout amateur run that peaked with a silver medal at the 2000 Olympics.

Kotelnik is the second notable fighter to retire this week, as former light heavyweight titlist Adrian Diaconu also made his official exit from the ring this week.

Kotelnik leaves the pro game with a final record of 31-4-1 (13 KO). The Ukrainian, now 34, really had just one "bad" or truly one-sided loss in his career, and that came to Amir Khan in July 2009, in what may have actually been Khan's career-best performance to this day.

His other three losses came to Alexander, a fight that was highly-debated at best; Junior Witter (2005 decision on the road, 114-115 twice and 111-117); and Souleymane M'baye (2004 split decision on the road, 115-114, 113-115, 111-117).

Though Kotelnik failed in his bid to lift the European title from Witter in 2005, and a draw in a rematch with M'baye saw him come up short in his first world title shot, he did wind up taking the WBA junior welterweight title with a 12th round TKO win over Gavin Rees in 2008, this time coming out on the winning end in a road trip to Cardiff, Wales.

Kotelnik successfully defended the title two times, against Norio Kimura and a then-unknown Marcos Maidana, before losing the strap to Khan and ultimately ending his career with back-to-back losses.

As an amateur, Kotelnik had a reported record of 135-15, and won the Junior European Championship in 1995, when he was a 17-year-old flyweight, as well as the silver medal at the Sydney Olympic games, ultimately losing to Cuban superstar Mario Kindelan, one of the best amateur fighters in recent memory.

Though he never became the best fighter in his division, he was a strong, legitimate contender for about five years, and a quality foe for anyone he met. His absence from the sport following his loss to Alexander has been unfortunate, and his retirement seems a bit of a shame, too. But if he's ready to go, it's hard to argue with any fighter deciding they've done enough with their career. Happy trails, Andriy.

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