Former two-division champion Ao announces retirement

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

Ao was last seen beating Gamaliel Diaz in 2018

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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