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Grigory Drozd announces retirement

The former WBC cruiserweight champion hadn’t fought in over two years.

Grigory Drozd V Lukas Janik - Heavyweight Fight Photo by Dmitry Korotayev/Kommersant via Getty Images

Just a few years ago, Grigory Drozd was making big moves in the cruiserweight division. On Monday, after having not fought in nearly three years, Drozd announced his retirement from the sport.

“Dear friends (and) fans of boxing, today I made a very important decision for me,” he said in a statement. “I officially declare the end of my sports career. I want to thank my team, my coach and my promoters. Life does not stop. In sports I reached the top, but you cannot be there forever. I want to thank the people who were with me -- my family, my mother, my wife and my children. Together we went through victories and won the WBC green and gold belt.”

Drozd, 38, won the European cruiserweight title in 2013 with a stoppage win over then-undefeated Mateusz Masternak. 11 months later, he dominated Krzysztof Wlodarczyk to win the WBC title in Moscow.

A rematch didn’t come to pass, as Wlodarczyk fell ill before the scheduled May 2015 second meeting, and was replaced by Lukasz Janik. Drozd stopped Janik in the ninth round. It would turn out to be the final fight of his career.

Drozd was eventually stripped of his belt and named “champion in recess” by the WBC, failing to make dates with mandatory challenger Junior Makabu. Injuries to Drozd’s left hand are to blame for that, and ultimately, for his retirement from the sport.

It’s too bad we didn’t get to see Drozd, who retires with a record of 40-1 (28 KO), meet up with some of the top cruisers of the past few years. He looked terrific in his win over Wlodarczyk, and had emerged as one of the elite fighters in the division. But he never got to follow up on it, really, and that’s a shame.

Happy trails to Grigory Drozd.

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