By Jim Dower: Former WBC cruiserweight champion Grigory ‘Pretty Boy’ Drozd (40-1, 28 KOs) announced his retirement from boxing on Monday due to a left hand injury. The 37-year-old Drozd, who has an uncanny resemblance to middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin, hasn’t fought since stopping Lukasz Janik in the 9th round in his final title defense of his World Boxing Council World cruiserweight title 2 ½ years-ago on May 22, 2015.
The WBC changed Drozd’s status to Champion in Recess in August of 2015 due to his injury problems. With Drozd out of the way, British fighter Tony Bellew was able to take advantage of the vacancy of the WBC title and win the belt in stopping Illunga Makabu in the 3rd round on May 29, 2016.
If Drozd had still been the WBC champion, Bellew likely would have been easily beaten by him. Drozd was considered the best fighter in the cruiserweight division by many boxing fans until his injury in 2015. Drozd was a very good fighter that could do it. He could punch, box, move, you name it. Drozd was very versatile.
Here’s Drozd’s retirement statement:
“Dear friends (and) fans of boxing, today I made a very important decision for me. I officially declare the end of my sports career. I want to thank my team, my coach and my promoters. Life does not stop. In sports I reached the top, but you cannot be there forever. I want to thank the people who were with me — my family, my mother, my wife and my children. Together we went through victories and won the WBC green and gold belt.”
Drozd had scheduled fights against Makabu that fell through due to his hand problem. It’s unfortunate that Drozd never took that fight, as he probably would have made easy work of Makabu in the same way Bellew did. Makabu turned out to be a badly flawed fighter.
Drozd captured the WBC title in defeating Krzysztof Wlodarczyk by a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision on September 27, 2014. Drozd successfully defended the WBC title once in beating Janik by a 9th round knockout in May 2015.
Drozd won the EBU heavyweight title in stopping Mateusz Masternak by an 11th round knockout on October 5, 2013. Drozd defended the EBU title once in stopping Jeremy Ouanna in the 1st round on March 15, 2014.
“Today in front of me there are many interesting and important tasks such as the development of boxing in the new generations of my country,” Drozd said. “We have achieved a lot, but we still face many more important tasks. Thanks for everything.”
The only loss on Drozd’s resume was a 5th round knockout to Firat Arslan on October 28, 2006. That was a very easy in Drozd’s career. He likely would have beaten Arslan if that fight had taken place a few years later when he had more seasoning as a pro.
Drozd has wins over Richard Hall, Darnell Wilson, Rob Calloway, Michael Simms, Fabio Garrido, Jean and Marc Monrose.
Drozd was born in Prokopyevsk, Russia. His hometown is Odintsovo, Russia. Drozd turned pro in 2001, and fought well immediately. The loss to Arslan in 2006 came in a WBC cruiserweight title eliminator. By the time Drozd did win the WBC title in 2014, Arslan was no longer in his prime, so it would have been pointless for him to try and avenge the loss at that stage.