(Reuters) – Former world boxing champion Nigel Benn has called off his bid to make a comeback to the ring 23 years after his last professional fight due to a shoulder injury.
The 55-year-old had said in September he would fight Cameroon-born Australian Sakio Bika, 40, a former world champion, in Birmingham on Nov. 23.
It would have been Benn’s first professional bout since 1996 but the injury has forced the ‘Dark Destroyer’ to accept his career is over.
“With a heavy heart I am sad to say I had to make the hard decision today to hang up my boxing gloves,” Benn said in a post on Instagram.
“I’d like to thank you all for supporting me throughout my career but the time is up for me. I thank you all for giving me an unbelievable career. God bless you all.”
Benn held the WBO middleweight title in 1990 and the WBC super-middleweight title from 1992-96. He lost his last professional fight to Irishman Steve Collins in November 1996.
“I had to call it quits today, I wanted a hard spar, but it just wasn’t happening,” Benn added. “My shoulder started playing up and I could not throw a right hand at all.
“Today’s the day I hand over the baton to my son Conor, who is going to carry on the name, but with me it comes to an end today.”
British media reported earlier this month that Benn’s comeback bid had been opposed by the British Boxing Board of Control, and that the bout was sanctioned by the rival British and Irish Boxing Authority instead.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)