Still 'fit and healthy,' George Groves, 30, announces retirement

Although former super middleweight world titleholder George Groves still had the prospect of major fights, he announced his retirement from boxing on Monday.

"After taking a little time to reflect on the recent events in my career, I have decided that it is time for me to retire as a professional fighter," Groves said in a statement.

Groves (28-4, 20 KOs), 30, of England, was involved in several major fights and won a vacant 168-pound world title in 2017. After two successful defenses, Groves lost the belt to countryman Callum Smith by seventh-round knockout in September in his most recent fight, which was the super middleweight final of the first season of the World Boxing Super Series.

Groves said he gave his decision a lot of thought and realized that after a 10-year professional career, it was time to walk away.

"In 2017, I boxed in front of a home crowd in Sheffield and became the WBA super middleweight world champion," Groves said. "After four attempts I had finally fulfilled my childhood dream, and the experience was as great as I had always imagined it would be. It was without doubt the best moment of my career.

"Some of you may think it's odd that I'm choosing this time to retire. I'm still young, still fit and healthy, and there are still some big fights out there for me. But it's for these reasons that I am choosing to retire now. I have a young family at home; it's time to spend some of my better days with them. I don't want there to be a time where I'm 'too old' to box on, or where an injury retires me in or out of the ring. Over the years I have seen and sadly known the dangers of the sport, and I want to respectfully bow out while I'm at the top of my game.

"I've learned that doesn't always mean coming off the back of a win. I've boxed at the highest level, all over the world, I've been a champion and I'll be leaving the sport (relatively!) intact."

Groves, who won the British and Commonwealth super middleweight titles, got his first shot at a world title when he faced then-unified titlist, countryman and bitter rival Carl Froch in 2013. Although he knocked Froch down in the first round, Groves went on to lose by controversial ninth-round knockout.

The immediate rematch, in May 2014 before some 80,000 fans at Wembley Stadium in London, was one of the biggest fights in British history. Froch scored a decisive eighth-round knockout to retain the belts.

In September 2015, Groves traveled to Las Vegas and challenged then-titlist Badou Jack for his world title on the Floyd Mayweather-Andre Berto undercard and lost a split decision.

After four wins in a row, Groves got another opportunity and knocked out Fedor Chudinov in May 2017 to win a vacant world title. Groves then entered the World Boxing Super Series, in which he knocked out Jamie Cox in the fourth round of the quarterfinals in October 2017 and then impressively outpointed Chris Eubank Jr. in a major fight to retain the title in the semifinals. Then he ran into Smith in the final and suffered a knockout loss.

"Boxing has been good to me and I believe I have been good for boxing," Groves said. "I hope I have entertained you all; I have always strived to be the best fighter I can be. Although we step through the ropes on our own, of course every fighter is backed by a team, and not just the ones in the corner. There are many, many people that have helped me on the way to fulfilling my boxing dreams and I would like to take this opportunity to thank as many people as I can."