Ex-footballer McKenzie quits boxing

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Leon McKenzie won eight out of 11 fights as a professional boxer

Former Premier League footballer Leon McKenzie has retired from professional boxing after 11 fights.

The 39-year-old fought for a British Southern Area title on Saturday but was stopped in the ninth round.

The ex-Norwich and Crystal Palace forward lost a challenge for the British super-middleweight title in November and retires with eight wins.

“As much as my mind and heart want to continue, my body won’t allow me, which leaves no choice,” said McKenzie.

“On Saturday I gave it all and left it all in the ring but exhaustion got me. The last few fights my body has bailed on me and I guess 40 years of age crept up on me.

“I truly hope boxing respects me now as I respect the sport.”

McKenzie previously represented nine football clubs over an 18-year period, with his most prolific spell coming at Peterborough between 2000 and 2003. He won promotion to the Premier League twice, with Crystal Palace and Norwich.

After retiring in January 2013, he contested his first professional boxing bout in June that year. His father Clinton was a former British and European champion, while his uncle and trainer was former three-time world champion Duke McKenzie.

The ferocity of his bout with Cello Renda at London’s York Hall on Saturday drew praise from former world super-featherweight champion Barry Jones.

Jones tweeted: “I just went back to the ’80s and witnessed a classic brawl. Leon McKenzie and Cello Renda take a bow. You guys are boxing.”

McKenzie said he will now work on good causes relating to mental health.

He has spoken out about battling depression and said he had previously tried to take his own life.

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