BANTAMWEIGHT boxer Kash Farooq has shocked fans by suddenly retiring from the sport at just 26-years-old.
He hangs up his gloves due to 'unforeseen circumstances,' after 17 professional bouts, which included 16 wins and time as British bantamweight champion and WBC international champion.
The Pakistani-born Scottish pro was last in action in August 2021, scoring a points victory over Luis Gerardo Castillo at Matchroom's 'Fight Camp' series.
He was also set to face fellow Scotsman Lee McGregor in an eagerly anticipated rematch at some point this year following their controversial first meeting in 2019.
But a statement released today by home of Scottish boxing St Andrew's Sporting Club read: "It will come as a shock but due to unforeseen circumstances, we regret to announce that Kash Farooq is hanging up his gloves and retiring from professional boxing."
Farooq had also been part of Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing promotion company since 2019.
And a spokesperson for the company added: "Our well wishes are with Kash Farooq who has unfortunately had to retire due to unforeseen circumstances.
"No doubt was destined for World honours. A brilliant fighter and top man."
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Farooq will stay in the sport, but will take up the role of 'Head of Talent' for the St Andrew's Sporting Club.
The club's statement continued: "Kash Farooq has always been an integral part of the ‘St Andrew’s Sporting Club’ and that will continue, as we are delighted to announce he will be joining our background team as our ‘Head of Talent’.
"He has an invaluable wealth of skill and experience he is ready to pass on to our stable. Although ‘The Untouchable Kash Farooq’ retires from being a boxer, we are excited to begin this new chapter together.
"We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the British Boxing Board of Control and their support on the matter.
"Their procedures offer as a safeguard offering protection and prevention to potential harm, with the health and safety of the boxers being paramount at all times."
Farooq's only defeat of his career came at the hands of Scottish rival McGregor.
And the pair had been gearing up for a hotly anticipated all-Scottish rematch this year.
The thrilling first bout ended in a hotly debated split decision victory for McGregor, and the 25-year-old has also reacted to the news of Farooq's sudden retirement.
McGregor emotionally wrote on Facebook: "I’m absolutely devastated to hear the news that @kashfarooq1 has had to retire from boxing.
"We both helped each other so much from sparring as amateurs to being involved in one of the best fights Scotland has ever seen between 2 Scottish fighters.
"We were on the verge of changing our life’s forever ahead of what was a hugely anticipated rematch and it's heart breaking that we won’t get that special night we were all looking forward to.
"My thoughts go out to @kashfarooq1 and his family and if there’s anything I can do to help in future I’ll be there in a heart beat.
"It was an honour to share the ring with you champ I wish you nothing but the best."
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