Nearly 12 years after his professional debut, beleaguered light heavyweight contender Callum Johnson is hanging up the gloves. The 37-year-old broke the news on his personal Facebook page, citing “lack of self discipline” and issues with “mental struggles & demons.”
Johnson has long dealt with inactivity, managing just five fights in the last six years and two in the last 3.5. After dropping Artur Beterbiev in a 2018 IBF title bit and crushing Seanie Monaghan five months later, he joined forces with Frank Warren in early 2021. This was meant to tee up bouts with domestic rivals like Anthony Yarde and Lyndon Arthur, but they never materialized, leaving Johnson to knock out Emil Markic and scrape past Server Emurlaev in what wound up being his final ring appearance.
He nearly got another shot at the big time anyway, signing on to meet Joe Smith Jr for the WBO belt this past January, but was forced out due to COVID. Johnson ends his career 20-1 with 14 knockouts.
While it’s awful to see a fighter leave the sport on what Johnson explicitly states are not his own terms, I’m very proud of him for recognizing it and avoiding the potential calamity that could have come with forcing himself into the ring one last time. We wish him the best of luck on his future endeavors.