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A former heavyweight champion who beat the likes of Vitali Klitschko and Evander Holyfield is unrecognisable after losing four stone from his fighting weight.
Chris Byrd weighed in at 15 stone during his fight career but has since slimmed down using a plant-based diet to reduce his weight. The American began his career as a middleweight but after struggling to find willing opponents amid his fierce reputation, Byrd piled on muscle to compete as a heavyweight.
Byrd retired in 2009, but started to get fit aged 50 two years ago and planned a return to the ring against Raymond Guzman.
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Despite his opponent pulling out Byrd nicknamed 'Rapid Fire' has slimmed right down during a body transformation with the help of fellow boxing legend and sparring partner Shane Mosley.
“Three years ago, I couldn’t raise my arms high enough to hit a bag anymore. Hard work pays off," said Byrd talking to World Boxing News.
“There is always more to learn! After fighting over 400 amateur fights as a middleweight and then turning pro as a heavyweight, I realized I completely forgot how to fight as a middleweight a few months back.
“I developed many habits as a heavyweight that will never work as a middleweight. I had to relearn boxing. Thank you to one of the greatest and my boy Shane Mosley for getting me all the way back!”
The Southpaw boxer took silver at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games competing in the middleweight category. After turning professional the following year Byrd won his first 26 fights going five years unbeaten. Byrd won the WBO and IBF heavyweight titles, but lost them both in two separate fights against Wladimir Klitschko.
He retired in 2009 with a record of 41-5 and one draw. Byrd wanted to make a return to the ring two years ago and was in impressive shape but his opponent pulled out.
“I want to show people that it’s never too late to accomplish your goals and live out your dreams,” he said at the time. “My reflexes are razor-sharp; my strength is phenomenal. I’m more focused than I’ve been."
Now aged 52 a ring return looks unlikely and Rapid Fire might have to settle for sparring sessions.
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- Vitali Klitschko
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