By John Evans
Over the next few days, while the headlines will understandably be dominated by Ricky Hatton’s decision to retire for good following his knockout loss to Vyacheslav Senchenko, it shouldn’t escape the attention of boxing fans that the evening may have seen the final ring appearance of another of Britain’s most high class operators of recent years.
Rendall Munroe may have received a fraction of the adulation that “The Hitman” has over the course of his career but, having come from nowhere to hold the British, Commonwealth and European super bantamweight belts and fight then WBC champion Toshiaki Nishioka in Tokyo, the 32-year-old former binman deserves just as much respect.
Moments after domestic rival Scott Quigg inflicted the first stoppage defeat of his career to take the WBA interim title, Munroe told BoxingScene that the decision to retire had entered his mind long before the first bell last night.
“I feel great,” he said. “I’ve had a great time and a great career, but coming into this fight I’ve had to beat myself up to get up for it,” he said. “My trainer [Jason Shinfield] said to me: ‘You’re losing, you’re losing’, and in the back of my mind I had it that I’d already told my wife and children at home that if I lost it would be the end of my career. When he said that to me, I think it just pushed the rod in a bit further and asked me: ‘Look, do you really, really want it?’”
Contrary to his corner’s advice, most seated at ringside felt that ‘2 Tone’ had gotten off to the better start. While Quigg worked in bursts and looked to attack the body, Munroe’s consistent workrate and straight shots were causing the 24-year-old from Bury problems.
However, Quigg began to solve those problems towards the end of the fourth round and put in his best work in the fifth when he got on the front foot and was able to land cleanly along the ropes. After flooring Munroe with a superb left to the body in the sixth he finished the job with a right to the body seconds later.
“I’m a fitness fanatic and I love to keep fit and stay in shape. I was training and getting fit for the fight but there’s a massive decision between training for a fight and actually fighting. Is the spark still there?” asked Munroe, perhaps of himself.
“I’m 32 now and to get to where I really want to be and do big things, we’re talking another two years. I’m gonna be 35 by then. I’ve had a career to be proud of. I’ve come from the bottom to the top.”
If Munroe does decide to leave the ring, he takes with him a 24-3-1 (10) record and the respect of fans across the country.
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