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Former two-division champion Takahiro Ao announces retirement

Ao was last seen beating Gamaliel Diaz in 2018

BOX-JPN-MEX Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP via Getty Images

36 years old and out of action since 2018, former featherweight and super featherweight champion Takahiro Ao has officially announced his retirement, ending a career that began in 2003.

Following a 2008 draw with fellow future title challenger Hiroyuki Enoki, Ao lost a split decision to Oscar Larios in his first bid at featherweight gold, then avenged the loss by unanimous decision his next time out before falling to Elio Rojas. Just over a year later, he took the WBC super featherweight belt from Vitali Tajbert, leading to a trio of successful defenses against Humberto Ochoa, Devis Boschiero, and Terdsak Kokietgym.

Losing his title to Gamaliel Diaz prompted a move to lightweight, where a win over Juan Carlos Salgado set up a 2015 battle with Ray Beltran for the vacant WBA belt. Beltran would ultimately miss weight, knock Ao out in two, and then have the win overturned due to a failed drug test.

Ao did not fight for another three years, returning in 2018 to beat a badly shot Diaz. He ends his boxing tenure 28-3-1 (12 KO).

Definitely a career to be proud of. Best of luck with whatever comes after.

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