Michael Conlan says it is "sad to see a legend leave the sport" following Carl Frampton's retirement in the wake of his world title defeat by Jamal Herring.
Conlan believes fellow Belfast boxer Frampton, who was aiming to become Ireland's first three-weight world champion. will be a hard act to follow.
"He's Ireland's greatest ever professional fighter," said Conlan.
"Everything he's achieved has been unbelievable - we have to be grateful we witnessed his career."
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Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster's Sportsound Extra Time, Conlan added: "Carl unified the super-bantamweight division, moved up to featherweight division, beat a guy who was unbeatable at the time in Leo Santa Cruz. So I think we'll be speaking of him as one of our greats for a very long time.
"But he's been in the pro game for 12 years and that's a long, long time - that's a lifetime in the sport. It was sad to see him go out the way he did but I'm happy for him because I know retirement has been a long time coming."
The 34-year-old bowed out on Saturday after American Herring stopped him in the sixth round of the WBO super-featherweight contest.
Conlan is a boxer on the rise and the 29-year-old will make his making his super-bantamweight debut when returns to the ring on 30 April against Romania's Ionut Baluta.
The ambitious Olympic medallist sees the London fight as a stepping stone as he plans to to become Belfast's next boxing great.
"I was confident Carl would beat him as the fight drew near but unfortunately it wasn't to be - if you had the Carl of a few years ago he beats Jamal comfortably, even at that weight," said Conlan
"Now he can go and enjoy his family and not have to worry about fighting ever again. It's always sad to see a legend leave the sport and I'm sure he'll still be involved in boxing in some format down the line.
"Now in Belfast we don't have Carl Frampton anymore as a fighter - it's big shoes to fill and I hope to fill them myself.
"I know I have the ability and talent to do what I need to do - I just need to put it into action and I'm in a position now where I can start to make big gains on that.
"Starting off on 30 April I'll beat this dude and then I'll win a world title this year to get the ball rolling at a fast pace."