Sultan Ibragimov Says He's Not Retiring, Junior Witter Says He Won't Either

by James Slater - Two fighters who appeared headed towards retirement, in former WBO heavyweight champ Sultan Ibragimov and former WBC light-welterweight ruler Junior Witter, have both come out and announced how they will not be quitting the ring just yet. In the case of Russia's Ibragimov, reports last week lead us all to believe the 21-1-1(17) heavyweight HAD announced his retirement, after having been out of action since February of 2008, when he had that awful "fight" with Wladimir Klitschko. Instead, however, Ibragimov told that these reports were false and put out by his now former promoters..

"I am not leaving boxing, nor did I ever consider leaving," Ibragimov told FightNews. "Claims from my promoters that I shall leave boxing are false. They have no right to speak such words about me retiring. I will make that decision instead of them."

Now planning to manage himself and work with a new, as yet unconfirmed promoter, the 34-year-old southpaw says he will probably be back in the ring within a year.

"I need to receive an American visa and solve the business in the USA," he said. "Now there are ongoing litigations and I can't fight. But I absolutely will remain in boxing."

Sultan also revealed how he will not continue working with trainer Jeff Mayweather, saying he will be working with a new American trainer instead. Also claiming to be in "excellent" physical shape, despite not having fought in over 18 months, Ibragimov says he keeps in condition by playing football.

A good fighter who should not be judged solely by the bore-fest of a bout he and Klitschko engaged in in Feb. of 2008, Ibragimov, if properly motivated, could still have something to offer the heavyweight division.

As for Witter, the former WBC champ at 140-pounds, he never said he'd call it a career after his quit-job against Devon Alexander on Saturday, but automatically a number of people felt he should do so. But despite capitulating in the corner at the conclusion of the 8th-round against his southpaw opponent, and having "Witter the Quitter" chants thrown his way by fans, Junior has gone on record as saying he believes he still has a future.

"I don't think it's my last fight," Witter said to The Sheffield Star. "I've got to decide exactly where I'm going now and which way I go about it."

It will be one tough road back for the 35-year-old if he sticks with his plan of fighting on. Not exactly super-popular even when he was a reigning world champion who had never been stopped, Witter will likely struggle to attract paying fans after when he did, or failed to do, against Alexander.

The fight he was hoping to land, with WBA 140-pound champ Amir Khan, has definitely gone out the window.

Article posted on 04.08.2009

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