Former featherweight world champion Evgeny Gradovich is suffering from vision problems that could potentially end his boxing career in the midst of another potential championship run.
Gradovich was supposed to fight in a junior featherweight title eliminator against T.J. Doheny in Russia on December 15 but has now been forced to withdraw from the fight due to these vision problems. The winner of that fight would have been the mandatory challenger to Ryosuke Iwasa's IBF junior featherweight championship.
Gradovich promoter Titov Boxing Promotions has notified the IBF that Gradovich’s “vision has deteriorated to such a point that he does not see anything right now and there is a high probability that he will be forced to finish his boxing career.”
Now that Gradovich is out of the running, the IBF will likely pit Doheny, the No. 3 ranked junior featherweight against Mike Tawatchai, the No. 7 ranked junior featherweight. Gradovich was ranked No. 6 in the IBF rankings. According to ESPN, Doheny vs. Tawatchai will likely take place in China on December 24.
Gradovich last fought in May, defeating Hugo Berrio via majority decision, capturing the WBA and WBO Intercontinental Championship. Gradovich held the IBF featherweight title from 2013-15, making four successful defenses before losing to Lee Selby in 2015. Nicknamed "The Mexican Russian," Gradovich has a 23-2-1 pro boxing record and has fought professionally since 2010. As an amateur, the former world champion had a 126-24 record and was a member of the Russian national team in 2007 and in 2008.