MANSFIELD’S record-breaking veteran boxer Steve Ward won his EBF Midlands Area cruiserweight belt outright after a third successful defence in a row last week – and then announce his retirement.
The 55-year-old saw off Lee Renshaw (37) in Chesterfield and had been eyeing a tilt at the British title, which currently belongs to Nottingham boxer Sarge, but who is out injured indefinitely.
Ward said: “I did want to fight for the British title. But that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen and, to be honest, I am not getting any younger.
“It may not have come off anyway. It was always a big if.
“I sat down and spoke to my other half and decided to retire, so I rang my promoter, John Ashton.
“I am going out on top with a record of five straight wins and my two commendations from the Lord Mayors at Nottingham City Council and Mansfield District Council, plus my Oldest Boxer certificate from the Guinness Book of Records.
“For the first time for this last fight I found it really hard training. I really blew myself out.
“I was up at 3.45 every morning for a six or seven mile run, working all day to hold my job down and then three hours training every night.
“I think I have proved my point that just because you reach 50 it doesn’t mean you have go home, get on the slippers and relegate yourself to dominoes!
“There is a life out there for everyone. You just have to hunt it down and succeed. 50 is just a number.”
Ward won his final clash with Renshaw on a split decision last week after being put on the canvas and has nothing but admiration for his opponent.
“It was a hell of a fight,” he said. “It was even-stevens all the way but he put me down with a big looping right hand to the side of the next in round three. My gloves touched down but I jumped straight back up.
“There was only 19 years difference between us this time! I think he was made of rubber!
“All due respect to him. It was a great fight and he is a terrifically nice guy outside the ring. He still has it all in front of him.”
Now Ward will give up his Midlands title and look forward a future which he says already has some interesting possibilities.