PAUL SMITH has retired from boxing.

The popular Liverpudlian’s dream of winning a world title eluded him but he had a long and impressive fighting career.

Smith won and defended the British super-middleweight title at the Echo Arena in his Liverpool hometown. He boxed some of the best opponents on the domestic scene, including both James DeGale and George Groves before they became world champions.

He fought Arthur Abraham twice for the WBO title in Germany, where he suffered gallant defeats. Andre Ward, one of the finest fighters of his career, overwhelmed Smith in Oakland in 2015.

Smith last boxed against WBA ‘regular’ champion Tyron Zeuge in Germany in 2017, losing a points decision.

“Today marks a year since my last fight, so now is as good a time as any to announce my retirement from fighting,” Smith said. “In that fight I was seeing things in my head that my body just couldn’t do and I felt my age in there. That fight wouldn’t have been a problem for me a year earlier.

“I ruptured a ligament in the right hand to add to it, needing an operation, the fifth of my career. The hand took a long time to get back to strength but my mind was made up after the fight.

Paul Smith

“I talked with my wife and my brothers and the decision, although tough to say out loud, wasn’t tough to make. I’m healthy and I’m happy.”

Paul’s brothers Liam, Stephen and Callum are all highly successful boxers. Liam is the former WBO super-welterweight champion, Stephen a world title challenger too and Callum is about to fight George Groves in the final of the World Boxing Super Series.