|Edmonton heavyweight Tye Fields pounds current Canadian Professional Boxing Council champ Ray Olubowale en route to a third-round KO in 2011. (QMI Agency)
EDMONTON - Tye Fields knows when to quit.
And the supersized heavyweight, who relocated from Las Vegas to Edmonton nearly four years ago, is leaving boxing with no regrets.
“I got to see the world and I had a lot of fun, but when you stop improving and your heart is no longer in it, you should call it a day,”
Fields said Tuesday.
“I pretty much decided to retire after my last fight (TKO 6 to Marius Wach) in March; this just kind of makes it official, I guess. I’m 37 and I’m getting out at a good time for me and my family.”
In 13 years as a pro, the 6-foot-8, 280-pound southpaw compiled a stellar record of 49-5, with 44 KOs. An astonishing 40 of those stoppages came in three rounds or less.
“I got into boxing late, but I was involved in a lot of other sports at Oral Roberts University and San Diego State, so it wasn’t a huge leap,” Fields recalled when he arrived in Edmonton in 2009.
The former starting forward at San Diego left college early to play pro hoops in Latvia and Ireland before moving on to the semi-pro Des Moines Dragons in Iowa.
“I was sitting on the bench after a game one night and a guy came up and told me he could make me heavyweight champion of the world.
“I won my first 14 fights by first-round KOs, with the longest one lasting two minutes. It didn’t take long to figure out that boxing was something I should stick with.”
Over the next dozen years the Montana native headlined from Las Vegas to London, Edmonton to Atlantic City. Along the way, he beat some name opponents — including former world champion Bruce Seldon in 2005 — and collected the USBA and Native American Boxing Council titles.
“I’m just happy to have had some success at something I never even considered getting into when I was a kid,” said Fields.
“And being based in Edmonton for the last few years has really been great. Boxing fans here are very supportive, and I’d like to thank everybody who made me feel so welcome, both in the ring and in the community.
“I’ll still be going to the fights — but only to watch.”
HENNEY ON HOLD
Meanwhile, Canadian Boxing Federation cruiserweight champ Ryan Henney hasn’t fought in 17 months — but he hasn’t retired.
“I’ve been itching to get back in the ring, but having an itch is one thing and scratching it is something else,” Henney said from his home in Saskatoon this week.
“If it doesn’t make dollars, it doesn’t make sense.”
The 35-year-old is 17-3 with 9 KOs. He’s already beaten the best of the rest in this country and sees no point in just recycling past opponents.
“In the past I’ve conceded a lot to promoters just to stay busy, but those days are gone,” said Henney. “I always worked with them to build their cards and a lot of times I defended my title for peanuts, but now there’s nothing left for me to prove in this country.
“I’m very grateful to the CBF for understanding my situtation and I definitely want to keep fighting ... but nothing’s for free.”
Eighteen of Henney’s 20 fights have been in Edmonton. “I love it there; Edmonton fight fans are the best in Canada,” he said.