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Page last updated at 16:09 GMT, Friday, 3 October 2008 17:09 UK

Calzaghe ends division domination

Joe Calzaghe celebrates beating Chris Eubank
Joe Calzaghe won the WBO belt more than a decade ago

Joe Calzaghe has officially left the super-middleweight division he dominated for 11 years.

The unbeaten Welshman has vacated his belts and had his super-middleweight status removed by The Ring Magazine.

Calzaghe has moved up a division and won his light-heavyweight debut against Bernard Hopkins in Las Vegas in April.

Calzaghe is already number one in Ring Magazine's rankings as he fully concentrates on his New York showdown with Roy Jones Jr next month.

Calzaghe has vacated his WBO, WBC, WBA super-middleweight crowns titles to move up ready for his fitting Madison Square Garden career finale against American great Jones jr.

The 36-year-old has ruled the 168lb division since defeating boxing superstar Chris Eubank in a thrilling 12-round decision for the vacant WBO title in Sheffield in 1997.

"It was a tough decision to relinquish the belt," Calzaghe said.

"It's just too hard to get down to the 12 stone super-middleweight limit."

Twenty-one defences over 10 years, 11 months and two weeks followed before Calzaghe made his decision to step up - giving up the WBO belt that was his first and most precious title.

There is going to be quite a void now in super-middleweight boxing and I can't wait to see who will step up and fill it

Joe Calzaghe

Calzaghe was the longest boxing champion before he left the super-middleweight division he conquered for so long.

The Newbridge fighter has won the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBC versions of the super-middleweight crown - against the likes of Jeff Lacy and Mikkel Kessler - to cement his place as the undisputed king of the 12-stone division.

He has opted not to defend those titles, rather than make unwanted defences against mandatory challengers that would have excited neither Calzaghe nor the paying public at the box office.

But the undefeated 36-year-old has always held onto the WBO belt until unknown Russian Denis Inkin beat Colombian Fulgencio Zuniga for the vacant title in Hamburg last weekend

"I did my best to unify the division, I held all the titles at one time or another, but I owed it to the WBO," Calzaghe added.

"The 10-year anniversary was a wonderful marker for me and I feel it's an appropriate time to end any doubt about me fighting at that weight again.

"I received my promoter's license this week, Calzaghe Promotions is up and running and I feel like I am entering a new phase, not just in my career, but in my life.

"I had a great relationship with the WBO and although it was painful to give up the title, I know I have made the right decision.

606: DEBATE
"If I do say so myself, there is going to be quite a void now in super-middleweight boxing and I can't wait to see who will step up and fill it."

Calzaghe can now turn his attention fully to his fight with the 38-year-old Jones Jr on 8 November at New York's boxing mecca - a clash that Calzaghe insists will be his final fight.

Calzaghe and Jones Jr are co-promoting the fight themselves, Calzaghe having split with long-time promoter Frank Warren.

see also
Calzaghe v Eubank - 10 years on
08 Oct 07 |  Boxing
Calzaghe eyes final Garden test
14 Aug 08 |  Boxing
The Calzaghe Record
04 Nov 07 |  Boxing


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