WORLD heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis retired from professional boxing yesterday and Britain's former middleweight and super middleweight world champion Nigel Benn told the Bulletin it was a sad day for boxing yesterday. Benn, who has set up home in Majorca where he has also found salvation with the Salvation Army, was shocked to hear the news. He did a lot of good for boxing, but he never got the respect he truly deserved, said Benn. He was the best heavyweight boxer Britain ever produced, there's no one like and he deserved much more credit. He lost just two (fights), he fought everyone, never avoided anyone and when he got knocked out, was quick to get back in the ring and redeem himself. He's done the business, he's beaten them all and he'll be missed, I'll miss him, added Benn. I think he was right not to fight Tyson again, he's done him once, what's the point of another fight - he's demolished them all. He's a supreme athlete and I think that some people did not like him because of his style, he was not as aggressive as Tyson, for example, and perhaps people wanted a few more fireworks outside the ring. 38 -year-old Lewis is only the third heavyweight after Americans Gene Tunney and Rocky Marciano to retire while still the world champion. Tunney retired in 1928 and Marciano in 1956. I would like to announce that June 21, 2003 was my last professional fight, Lewis told a news conference. I'm proud to have returned the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world to England, a nation with an historic boxing tradition and to have been the first heavyweight champion from England since Bob Fitzsimmons more than a century ago. I am particularly pleased to be stepping down while still the reigning lineal heavyweight champion. Only two other men, Gene Tunney and Rocky Marciano, have retired as champion and stayed retired. I promise you I will be the third. Lewis lost just two of his 44 fights in a 14-year professional career. In 1999 he became the undisputed champion with a unanimous points win over Evander Holyfield, then confirmed he was the best heavyweight of his era by stopping Mike Tyson in the eighth round of a one-sided fight in Memphis in June 2002.
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