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Former unified light flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi retires at 32

Taguchi successfully defended his WBA title seven times

Ryoichi Taguchi v Hekkie Budler - IBF & WBA Light Flyweight Title Bout Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

Former unified light flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi is calling it a career just shy of his 33rd birthday, ending a 13-year run that included seven successful title defenses.

via Asian-Boxing:

Taguchi made his decision just 2 months after the loss to [Kosei] Tanaka, and explained that “I felt like I couldn’t raise my motivation as before, and I thought I d done boxing. I don’t think I should be in the ring if I don’t have the mental skills.” [Translated]

Taguchi certainly made the most of his time in the ring. After a 2013 loss to a new kid on the block named Naoya Inoue, he embarked on a reign of terror through the 108-pound division, beating Alberto Rossel for the WBA belt a year later and holding onto it until 2018. His time as champion included a draw with future champion Carlos Canizales and, most notably, a hard-fought decision over IBF champ Milan Melindo in 2017.

His first defense as unified champ saw him take on Hekkie Budler, losing by a razor-close trio of 114-113s despite knocking Budler down to culminate a late rally. 10 months later, he moved up in weight to challenge wunderkind Kosei Tanaka, putting on yet another thrilling show but ultimately falling to the younger man.

Taguchi was consistent, entertaining, built up one hell of a record, and got out on his own terms while still near the top. Happy trails, champ.

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