Former boxing champ Roberto 'Hands of Stone' Duran recovers from COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: Former boxer Roberto Duran gestures as he arrives at a photocall for the film "Hands of stone" out of competition at the 69th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 16, 2016. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - Former world boxing champion Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran was wheeled out of a hospital amid applause from medical staff after recovering from the coronavirus, a social media post from the pugilist showed on Thursday.

“It was a World Championship fight, which I was able to win in a team, with the support, care and dedication of a medical crew,” Duran wrote on Instagram alongside a video in which hospital workers in scrubs and face masks waved Panamanian flags as he flashed a thumbs-up.

“I may be an ex-world champion, but you all are the true CHAMPIONS OF LIFE,” he wrote in the post.

The 69-year-old Panamanian former boxer retired in 2001 and is considered one of the best lightweights in history. He fought over five decades, held four different world titles, and his record stands at 103 wins, with 70 knockouts and 16 losses.

Known for his aggressive punching power, Duran, who grew up in Panama City’s impoverished El Chorrillo district and won his first title in 1972, is today regarded as a national hero.

His son Robin Duran said last week that his father had tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, but at the time only had symptoms of a cold and was not in intensive care.

Panama has recorded 35,237 known coronavirus infections and 667 COVID-19 deaths.

Reporting by Carlos Pacheco and Elida Moreno, Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Aurora Ellis