Two-weight World Champion Takahiro Ao retired from Professional boxing on Tuesday at the age of 36.
Taking his first steps in to the paid ranks, Ao kickstarted his career in 2003 with the second round knockout of Hiroshi Kashihara, following up the win with a streak of twelve victories, he was presented with the chance of the Japanese title in 2007, one he took with aplomb by defeating Koji Umetsu.
A couple of defences ensued before he had the opportunity to capture the OPBF title a year later against Hiroyuki Enoki a fight which ended in a stalemate.
A step up in class witnessed him lose his unbeaten record to Oscar Larios via split decision before avenging the blemish unanimously in 2009, this time leaving no doubt of the victor.
In defence of his newly acquired WBC Featherweight title he faced Elio Rojas in a contest which many believed would be a foregone conclusion, it didn’t turn out as planned with Rojas defeating the Japanese fighter on the judges scorecards.
Ao was now seeking fresh challenges with a move to the junior lightweight division the next course of action and followed it with two wins before again being presented with the opportunity of a world title this time to become a two weight world champion.
Standing in his way was Vitali Tajbert but unlike his first attempt (Larios 2008), Ao left with the title in his possession. A three fight defence of his title followed before he was relieved of his crown by Gamaliel Diaz in 2012.
Again Ao sought out fights to enhance his legacy, moving up to Lightweight in the hope of capturing his third divisional title, a move too far, one that wouldn’t materialise as he came up against an overweight Raymundo Beltran who stopped him in the second round, the result would later be changed to a no-contest following a failed drugs test by the Beltran.
Ao’s last encounter in his storried career would come in 2018, avenging an earlier loss to Gamaliel Diaz via unanimous decision over eight rounds to retire with a record of 28-3-1 (12 KOs).
With fond memories we wish Ao an happy and rewarding retirement.