Boxing: Edwards quits the ring
CHRIS Edwards, the real-life Rocky from the Potteries, is hanging up his gloves.
The Fenton flyweight was left considering his future after losing his British title to Kevin Satchell last month.
And the 36-year-old last night announced his retirement having secured his place among his home city's sporting greats.
In December 2007, Edwards ended Stoke-on-Trent's 84-year wait for a British champion, and went on to claim Commonwealth honours and also win a Lonsdale belt outright.
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Explaining his decision to quit, Edwards said: "I have done everything I wanted and time wasn't on my side any more.
"(Promoter) Frank (Maloney) told me not to retire and said he would get me another title shot.
"But it gets harder at my age. You start to take punches you shouldn't take and can get hurt. I didn't want to take the risk. I wanted to finish at the top. I didn't want to end up taking fights for money."
Edwards, who thanked trainer Lindon Newbon and sponsors Knight's BMW and CNP, plans to apply for a trainer's license and will work with the boxers at the Fight Factory gym.
"There are some good lads at the gym and I'm sure we won't have to wait another 84 years for another British champion from Stoke," he joked.
Edwards will be remembered by fight fans in Stoke and beyond as eight stones of pure Potteries grit who scrapped his way from the bottom-of-the-bill to championship billing.
Beaten in six of his first seven fights, Edwards turned his career on its head with the backing of a good team and his own sheer bloody-mindedness.
"Boxing has turned my life around," he added. "I was a naughty lad, always in and out of prison.
"To start with, I boxed to keep myself off the streets. It was a hobby really, just something to do. I didn't take it that seriously."
The opening of the Impact Boxing gym in Fenton gave Edwards more ambition.
"I was able to train closer to home, won a few fights and started to think, 'Maybe I can achieve something'," he said.
Edwards went on to achieve more than any other boxer from the city. He claimed the inaugural British super-flyweight title with victory over Jamie McDonnell, currently on the brink of a world-title challenge, and then added the British and Commonwealth flyweight belts.
Last December, Edwards won the Lonsdale belt outright with a revenge points win over Shinny Bayaar that he rates among the best performances of his 36-fight, 14-year professional career.
Having proved his dominance at British and Commonwealth level, Edwards deserved his chance to achieve more, but a European title shot never came.
Instead, he risked his domestic belt against the fast-rising Satchell on his home Liverpool patch and was beaten in six rounds.
That was his 10th fight at British and Commonwealth title level, and Edwards also claimed British Masters and English belts with his non-stop punching.
He holds the record for the most punches thrown in a 12-round fight screened on Sky Sports.
Edwards threw an astonishing 1,365 blows at Abmerk Shindjuu at Fenton Manor in February 2010 to regain the Commonwealth flyweight title.