Former cruiserweight champ Denis Lebedev retires

Denis Lebedev, who has not fought since November, has retired and vacated his WBA 'super' world cruiserweight title.

Denis Lebedev has announced his retirement.   -  (Getty Images)

Former world cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev has announced his retirement, vacating the WBA 'super' title as a result.

The 39-year-old, who has not fought since November, has ended a long and colourful career in the ring.

Lebedev was last year hoping to face then-unified cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, but the Ukrainian moved up to heavyweight in March.

After a planned bout against Arsen Goulamirian - holder of the WBA's 'regular' belt - collapsed last week, Lebedev made the decision to retire.

"The time has come to leave elite sport," he said in a video posted on social media. "As a real man, husband and father, I must focus on my big family and try to give as much attention as possible to those closest to me."

Known for entering the ring in a Russian paratrooper uniform, Lebedev won the interim WBA cruiserweight title in 2011 against American great James Toney and celebrated being upgraded to the full title two bouts later by knocking out Santander Silgado in four.

Five further defences culminated in an emphatic two-round unification win over IBF champion Victor Emilio Ramirez in 2016, although he dropped a split decision to compatriot Murat Gassiev at the end of the same year.

Lebedev finishes with a 32-2-1 record, with 23 wins by knockout.

He is arguably best remembered for losses to Guillermo Jones - changed to a no-contest when Jones failed a drug test - and Marco Huck, a controversial split-decision reverse against the long-reigning German.