A shock to all in British boxing, it was announced at the weekend that Scottish bantamweight Kash Farooq has been forced to retire from the sport at the age of just 26.
In a press release issued by St Andrew’s Sporting Club, only “unforeseen circumstances” were initially mentioned in relation to the news, before Farooq, a former British champion, later added further clarity when revealing he was having to retire on medical advice. Regardless of the reason, the enforced retirement comes at the worst possible time for Farooq, who, at 26, was not only entering his fighting prime, but was all set to rematch fellow Scot Lee McGregor in 2022.
McGregor, of course, remains the only man to have beaten Farooq in his 17-fight career and Farooq would presumably have liked nothing more than to right that perceived wrong and go on to bigger and better things.
“Boxing has been my life since I was 14 years old,” said Farooq, a fighter born in Pakistan but nowadays living in Glasgow. “I have studied, dedicated, sacrificed myself to improve my quality of life and that of my family’s, enduring many hardships along the way – from boxing on small hall shows behind closed doors and not being able to sell a ticket, to competing at the pinnacle of boxing, fighting on Sky/DAZN with the biggest promoter in the world.
“My immediate leave comes due to my yearly medicals not being satisfactory for the British Board of Control with stricter regulations in place.
“I had a meeting with a doctor who advised me to take an exit from boxing with my full health intact, regardless if I wanted to carry on fighting and proving myself to be the best in the division.
“It would be selfish of me to put myself in danger, therefore my trainer Craig and manager Iain Wilson have instructed me to heed the advice from medical professionals.
“This is still a shock to me as it would be for many others. I am a young athlete who had plenty to offer with unspeakable potential and talent.”
As well as explaining how he had arrived at his decision, Farooq, 16-1 (6), also thanked those who had helped him with his career and said that he looked forward to adjusting to life outside the ring. He will now take up a role as head of talent with St Andrew’s Sporting Club and will be remembered by those fortunate enough to watch him box as both one of the purest UK-based technicians in recent years and somebody with the potential and talent to have gone all the way.