Summer Lynn, welterweight prospect, steps away from boxing

Summer Lynn, ESPN's No. 4 welterweight and a rising prospect in the sport, announced Thursday that she is stepping away from boxing at age 22.

Lynn last fought in April 2022, when she beat Jaica Pavilus by unanimous decision.

"Thank you to the people who reached out to see if I am doing ok," Lynn wrote in an Instagram message. "Which I am doing better mentally and physically. I kinda went MIA for a year.

"I have decided to go my separate ways from boxing. As much as I love the sport, it was also very taxing on me and I wanted to explore what else there is for me out in the world."

Lynn (7-0, 3 KO) began her pro career in 2019 and seemed to be on a fast track in 2021, with four fights. Then she fought just once in 2022.

Lynn told ESPN on Friday she first decided to take a break from the sport last year and eventually realized she wanted to do something else. She said she was in physical pain and wanted to work on her mental health when she chose to contemplate retiring.

"I feel like I'm going on 50," she said.

So she decided to step away after starting to fight at age 11.

"It was probably one of the best decisions I've ever had," Lynn said.

After boxing "24-7" for a decade, it took her time to figure out what might be next. She started working at a sensory depravation tank center -- something she began using in her own recovery when she boxed -- and it gave her time to think about what she wanted to do.

Lynn told ESPN she is planning on pursuing a career in law enforcement in the future with the hopes of working with a K-9 unit. Lynn knows she'll have to work her way up to do it -- just like she did in boxing.

"I want to work with people. I want to help people," she said. "I want to help people in any way that I can."

Lynn said she didn't think about a career in law enforcement until after she stepped away from boxing and started to consider her future. She also said she wanted other boxers who might be wondering if they want to continue that there's more in the world than boxing.

"You can be known for more than just one thing," Lynn said. "Because that's what I thought. I thought I was only known for one thing, which is boxing. Granted, I love it and was really good at it and wanted it so badly.

"Just life had a different plan for me and you know, that's totally OK to have a different life plan than what you were thinking."

Lynn, from Chicago, had been trained in her career by Rick Ramos, who also works with Jessica McCaskill, Olivia Curry and other female fighters.

Lynn began fighting in multiple combat disciplines as a child, through high school and the first part of her adulthood.

"She'd been in the game so long and never got the big opportunity," Ramos said. "When you're making no money for 10 years, it's exhausting and she's got to make a life. She's got tuition to pay. She's got life to pay. It's so unfortunate.

"Female boxing is not quite there yet to have a livelihood, you know. But she's a great kid. What can I tell ya."