ON his 36th birthday, former cruiserweight world title challenger Ola Afolabi has announced his retirement from boxing.
The Los Angeles-based Londoner held the WBO interim title twice, but was unable to win a full title during his thrilling career. His record stands at 22-5-4 (11).
He debuted in 2002 with no amateur experience and drew with fellow novice Gerard Barber in his first fight – though admits he thinks he actually lost – and picked up a couple more draws along the way.
In 2005, he stopped Orlon Norris in seven rounds, his biggest win at the time. He didn’t fight again for three years. In a candid post on Facebook, Afolabi claims that win deterred others from fighting him.
Upon his return, he knocked out Enzo Maccarinelli in nine rounds before broaching the world stage and taking on WBO ruler Marco Huck in Germany. Afolabi was outpointed in a barnburner, but had earned a career-high payday and attracted the attention of K2 Promotions, who signed him up. He would go on to fight Huck three more times, drawing once and losing again twice.
In the penultimate year of his career, 2015, Afolabi dropped a decision to Victor Emilio Ramirez in Argentina, citing a virus he picked up before the fight as a contributing factor.
He then pulled off a stunning upset over Rakhim Chakhiev, knocking the Olympic gold medallist out cold in five rounds. That set up his final meeting with Huck, which took place last month. Afolabi retired after 10 rounds in what would be his final fight.
His career has been plagued by injuries, including detached retinas and dislodged shoulders, which have contributed to his decision to hang up his gloves.
“I have always been a realist. Boxing has been painful, but it has also brought me so many positives that outweigh the negatives,” he wrote on Facebook.
“I see my idols like James Toney and Roy Jones with damages like slurred speech and balance problems still fighting in their 40’s for 100k or less. These are guys with talents and status I could only dream of. If it can happen to them it will definitely happen to me. I will not let it happen to me.”
He also states he has made enough money to live on and plans to enjoy the rest of his life away from boxing.
He left us with a brilliant sentiment: “Life gave me lemons and I turned them into a f***ing chocolate milkshake!”