John Duddy has announced that he is retiring from boxing after turning down a reported purse ‘in excess of $100,000’ to fight compatriot Andy Lee in March.

The battle of the Irish middleweights was scheduled to take place in Connecticut on the undercard of the Sergio Martinez versus Serhiy Dzinziruk bout on 12 March.

The Derry Destroyer released a statement on Tuesday confirming that he had retired after ‘a great deal of soul-searching’ and stated that his decision is final stating, ‘I give you my word; I will not come back’.

Duddy’s decision, once again, leaves Andy Lee without a fight after the Limerick boxer’s last scheduled bout was cancelled when the Wladimir Klitschko world title fight with Dereck Chisora was postponed.

The statement released by Duddy read: ‘After ‘a great deal of soul-searching, I have decided to retire from boxing.

‘In many ways, continuing to fight would be the easy course of action. I have been offered the opportunity to fight Andy Lee on HBO for a purse in excess of $100,000. A win would put me in position to fight for a world championship. This is not an opportunity that I cast aside lightly.

‘For more than twenty years, I loved being a boxer. I still feel that it’s an enormous honor to be a boxer. But I don’t love it anymore.

‘I no longer have the enthusiasm and willingness to make the sacrifices that are necessary to honour the craft of prizefighting. I used to love going to the gym. Now it’s a chore. I wish I still had the hunger, but I don’t. The fire has burned out. And I know myself well enough to know that it won’t return.

‘It would be unfair to my fans, my trainer and manager, and everyone else involved in the promotion of my fights for me to continue boxing when I know that my heart isn’t in it. I’ve always given one hundred percent in the gym and in my fights. I have too much respect for boxing and the people around me to continue fighting when I know that I can’t do that anymore.

‘I haven’t accomplished everything that I wanted to achieve in boxing. But I’ve had a rewarding career. I‘ve enjoyed the satisfaction of winning twenty-nine professional fights and learned lessons from my two losses. I’ve experienced the thrill of fighting in Madison Square Garden, Cowboys Stadium, and, also, my beloved Ireland with crowds cheering for me. I look forward to finding future challenges that bring as much passion and joy into my life as boxing has over the past twenty years.

‘I give you my word; I will not come back.’