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‘It’s a long time getting punched in the face’ – Chris Blaney explains surprise retirement

Prolonged pandemic problems proved the catalyst for the surprise retirement of Chris Blaney.

The ‘Ginja Ninja’ surprised everyone over the weekend when he confirmed he was hanging up his gloves at the relatively tender age of 28.

Expanding on the decision when speaking to Irish-boxing.com, Blaney revealed he always planned to get out by 30 and can’t see boxing returning at domestic level before he reaches that milestone.

As a result he ripped the plaster off rather than delaying what he believes to be the inevitable.

“I just think the time was right I haven’t been in the ring in a year and it doesn’t look like I’ll be in the ring anytime soon,” Blaney told Irish-Boxing.com.

“There’s no point in waiting till this was over and then retire. My plan was always to hang them up at 30. I’ve been boxing since I was 8, that’s a long time getting punched in the face.”

The fact the Meath man had a title fight with Waterford’s Craig McCarthy lined up made the decision harder to understand.

The pair were due to rematch in Waterford over the summer, only for lockdown to shut the card down. However, it was understood there was an agreement to fight once there was hope of putting a show on again.

The fight did cross the 28-year-old’s mind before he made his decision, but again he didn’t see the point in waiting, not to mention with some injury niggles weighing on his mind.

“I was really looking forward to that fight in May and fighting in front of the Waterford crowd. I was very confident but even leading up to that fight before it got canceled I had a few problems with my elbow and stuff which still aren’t healed 100%. I’ve had injuries to last me a life time and I didn’t want anymore,” he adds before saying his coach Ricky Hatton backed his decision.

“I’ve spoken to Rick and the team and told them my reasons and hoped they understood, which they did, they agreed with me.”

Putting aside an enforced end and reflecting on his career as a whole Blaney is more than content with his innings.

The Navan man enjoyed some good nights at home and in the UK, won a title, always had a strong backing and made friends for life.

“I had a great time,” he adds.

“I had some great nights, met some great people through my amateur and pro career, friends for life really and had a career that most people can only dream about. I’m happy and healthy leaving and that’s the main thing,” he adds before highlighting a specific win and thanking his support.

“Winning that Celtic title was amazing, just walking out to that crowd blew me away. The support I always got from Navan and Meath… I was never expecting that when I first turned over, it was incredible.”

Blaney walks away without regret, but he admits he had hoped to win and Irish title and believes a fight with JJ McDonagh would have one that may have gone done in domestic folklore.

“Fight for that Irish title I always wanted that,” he answers when asked if there is a fight that got away.

“I said it from my debut I wanted that fight but it just wasn’t meant to be. Then of course the fight that I wanted and everyone else wanted was with JJ McDonagh, that would have been one entertaining war,” he continues before revealing he will remain around the game.

“I’ve a few things to think about first, but I’ll definitely still stick with the boxing and help out in Navan Boxing Club where it all started for me.”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com