Denis Lebedev takes his leave from boxing!
Former unified cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev has announced retirement via social media after nearly twenty years in the sport! The 39 year-old Russian fighter always entered the ring wearing the traditional paratrooper uniform.
The southpaw won the Russian light heavyweight title by defeating Artem Vychkin back in 2004. Afterwards, he would take an unexpected four-year layoff before returning in 2008.
Upon returning, it was clear he was heavier. He would go forward campaigning as a crusierweight, winning fights and ultimately making his way to the title against then-dominating WBO champion Marco Huck.
Losing his first title bid didn’t derail his career as he would still go on to become a unified champion. However, his career isn’t without criticism.
Much of the criticism about the former world champion is regarding his resume and the lack of victories over some of the division’s bigger names. Fights with Steve “USS” Cunningham and Jean-Marc Mormeck never materialized, and a victory would have been a huge accomplishment. It’s still a mystery to many when, as a unified champion holding both, the WBA and IBF titles, that only the latter belt was lost when he was defeated by Murat Gassiev back in 2016.
Perhaps the most notable flaw is his absence in both the World Boxing Super Series tournaments. The first was a star-studded event that crowned an undisputed champion in Oleksandr Usyk, who has enjoyed huge fame from the accolade.
It’s worth noting that the southpaw fighter holds victories over former world champions Roy Jones Jr. and James Toney. Still, even that came with scrutiny, considering many felt both men were way beyond their primes and should have retired long before then.
Boxing is a very hard sport that can take its toll on the body, and as the former champion stated, he wants to focus more on his family. It’s good that he is still in good health. The boxing community wishes him well in all future endeavors.
By: Garrisson Bland