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Boxing: History

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Muhammad Ali
Frank Bruno
Lennox Lewis
Nicknames
Other

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Boxing: History

See also Boxing: Rules.

Code that governs the conduct of professional boxing – named after John Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry, who publicly endorsed them in 1867 Click to show or hide the answer
Punch that lands on the back of the opponent's neck Click to show or hide the answer
Boxer who leads with the right (i.e. a left–hander) Click to show or hide the answer

Muhammad Ali

Timeline

14 January 1942 Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. in Louisville, Kentucky
1960 Wins the light heavyweight gold medal at the Olympic Games in Rome
29 October 1960 Professional debut: beats Tunney Husaker on a unanimous points decision (six rounds)
18 June 1963 Defeats Henry Cooper on a technical knockout (TKO), at Wembley, in his first professional fight outside the USA, after being saved by the bell when floored by a left hook at the end of round four
25 February 1964 Beats Sonny Liston in six rounds, in one of the biggest shocks in boxing history, to become world heavyweight champion
1964 Changes his name to Muhammad Ali after converting to Islam
19 June 1964 Stripped of the WBA world heavyweight title for refusing the draft
21 May 1966 Defeats Henry Cooper by a TKO, at Highbury stadium (this time in a world title fight)
6 August 1966 Knocks out Brian London in the third round
6 February 1967 Defeats Ernie Terrell to regain the WBA title
1967 Convicted of draft evasion and banned from boxing for three years
26 October 1970 Knocks out Jerry Quarry in the third round, on his return to the ring (Atlanta)
8 March 1971 First professional defeat: loses on points to Joe Frazier in the "Fight of the Century" (Madison Square Garden, New York) – fails to win the world title
1971Conviction for draft evasion overturned
31 March 1973 Second pro defeat: Ken Norton, split decision – loses NABF title, and suffers a broken jaw
January 1974 Defeats Frazier in 12 rounds (Madison Square Garden)
30 October 1974 The Rumble in the Jungle (Kinshasa, Zaire): Ali knocks out George Foreman in the eighth round to regain the WBC and WBA titles; featured in the 1996 Academy Award winning documentary film When We Were Kings
30 June 1975 Defeats Joe Bugner on a unanimous points decision (Kuala Lumpur)
1 October 1975 The Thriller in Manila: defeats Frazier by a TKO in the 14th round, to retain the WBC and WBA titles
24 May 1976 Defeats Yorkshire's Richard Dunn by a TKO in the 5th round
15 February 1978 Now aged 36, loses the title to 24–year–old Leon Spinks, in a split decision after 15 rounds (Las Vegas)
15 September 1978 Regains the title from Spinks in a unanimous points decision, becoming the first boxer to win the world heavyweight title for a third time
June 1979Announces his retirement
2 October 1980 Returns to the ring against Larry Holmes; trainer Angelo Dundee throws in the towel at the end of the 10th round
11 December 1981 Loses to Trevor Berbick; retires for a second and final time with a record of 56 wins (37 knockouts) and 5 defeats
1984Revealed to be suffering from Parkinson's disease
1996 Lights the Olympic flame at the climax of the opening ceremony (Atlanta); presented with a new Olympic gold medal to replace the one he lost Click for more information
3 June 2016 Dies, from septic shock, in hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he had lived for several years with his fourth wife Lonnie

Opponents (selected)

First professional opponent (October 1960) Click to show or hide the answer
Defeated by Clay in six rounds, making him world heavyweight champion for the first time (February 1964) Click to show or hide the answer
Ali's first opponent after the expiry of his ban for draft evasion (October 1970) – knocked out in the third round Click to show or hide the answer
Won the "Fight of the Century" (8 March 1971) on points – AliƇs first professional defeat. Lost the rematch at Madison Square Garden (January 1974). Also lost the 'Thriller in Manila' (1 October 1975) Click to show or hide the answer
Knocked out by Ali in the eighth round, in the "Rumble in the Jungle" (October 1974) Click to show or hide the answer
Defeated Ali on a split decision (Las Vegas, 15 February 1978); lost the rematch, exactly seven months later, on a unanimous decision – when Ali became the first boxer to win the world heavyweight title for a third time Click to show or hide the answer
Won on a TKO at the end of the 10th round, on Ali's return to the ring after announcing his retirement 16 months earlier (October 1980). Only boxer to stop Muhammad Ali 'inside the distance' Click to show or hide the answer
Defeated Ali in his last professional fight, on a unanimous points decision (11 December 1981) Click to show or hide the answer

Defeats

Ali suffered five defeats in his 61 professional fights.

Click to show or hide the answer 8 March 1971Fight of the Century
Click to show or hide the answer 31 March 1973Split decision. Ali suffers a broken jaw
Click to show or hide the answer 15 February 1978Split decision – lost the rematch, 9 months later, on a unanimous decision
Click to show or hide the answer 2 October 1980TKO (corner decision) at the end of the 10th round. Only boxer to stop Ali 'inside the distance'
Click to show or hide the answer 11 December 1981Unanimous decision

British Opponents

Click to show or hide the answer 18 June 1963TKO (Round 5 of 10)
Click to show or hide the answer 21 May 1966TKO (Round 6 of 15)
Click to show or hide the answer 6 August 1966KO (Round 3 of 15)
Click to show or hide the answer 30 June 1975Unanimous decision (12 rounds)
Click to show or hide the answer 24 May 1976TKO (Round 5 of 15)

Frank Bruno

Born

16 November 1961Hammersmith, London

First professional fight

17 March 1982 Click to show or hide the answer Won – 1st round k.o.

First professional defeat

13 May 1984 Click to show or hide the answer 10th round k.o.

World title fights

19 July 1986 Click to show or hide the answer WBA titleLost – 11th round k.o.
25 February 1989 Click to show or hide the answer WBC titleLost – 5th round t.k.o.
1 October 1993 Click to show or hide the answer WBC titleLost – 7th round t.k.o.
3 September 1995 Click to show or hide the answer WBC titleWon on points
16 March 1996 Click to show or hide the answer WBC titleLost – 3rd round t.k.o.

The five defeats listed here were the only ones that Bruno suffered in his 45 professional fights. The second defeat by Tyson was his last fight.

Lennox Lewis

Born

2 September 1965Stratford, West Ham, London

Lewis's family moved to Canada (Kitchener, Ontario) when he was 12. He represented Canada in the 1988 Olympics (Seoul) in the Super Heavyweight division, reaching the quarter–finals where he was beaten by the USA's Tyrell Biggs – the eventual gold medallist.

Lewis and Biggs met again on 23 November 1991. This was Lewis's 18th fight as a professional, and he won by a technical knockout in the third round.

First professional fight

27 June 1989 Click to show or hide the answer Won – 2nd round k.o.

Al Malcolm was a 'journeyman' heavyweight from Birmingham – 30 years old when he became the first professional opponent of the 23–year–old Lennox Lewis.

World title eliminator

31 October 1992 Click to show or hide the answer Won – 2nd round k.o.

This win gave Lewis the right to fight Riddick Bowe for the WBC world title. But Bowe refused to fight him, holding a press conference to relinquish his title. The WBC declared Lewis its champion on 14 December 1992, making him the second British world heavyweight champion – the first being Bob Fitzsimmons (1897–9).

World title fights

8 May 1993 Click to show or hide the answer WBC titleWon on points
1 October 1993 Click to show or hide the answer WBC titleWon – 7th round t.k.o.
6 May 1994 Click to show or hide the answer WBC titleWon – 8th round k.o.
24 September 1994 Click to show or hide the answer WBC titleLost – 2nd round t.k.o.
7 February 1997 Click to show or hide the answer WBC titleWon – 5th round t.k.o.
12 July 1997 Click to show or hide the answer WBC titleWon – 5th round disqualification
4 October 1997 Click to show or hide the answer WBC titleWon – 1st round k.o.
28 March 1998 Click to show or hide the answer WBC titleWon – 5th round t.k.o.
26 September 1998 Click to show or hide the answer WBC titleWon on points
13 March 1999 Click to show or hide the answer UndisputedDraw (retained WBC title)
13 November 1999 Click to show or hide the answer UndisputedWon on points
29 April 2000 Click to show or hide the answer WBC and IBF titlesWon – 2nd round k.o.
15 July 2000 Click to show or hide the answer WBC and IBF titlesWon – 2nd round t.k.o.
11 November 2000 Click to show or hide the answer WBC and IBF titlesWon on points
21 April 2001 Click to show or hide the answer WBC and IBF titlesLost – 5th round k.o.
17 November 2001 Click to show or hide the answer WBC and IBF titlesWon – 4th round k.o.
8 June 2002 Click to show or hide the answer WBC and IBF titlesWon – 8th round k.o.
21 June 2003 Click to show or hide the answer WBC titleWon – 6th round t.k.o.

Lewis relinquished the IBF title in September 2002 at the request of promoter Don King, who wished to stage a championship bout between Evander Holyfield and Chris Byrd (USA) for the vacant title. King reportedly paid Lewis $1 million "in consideration".

Lewis announced his retirement in February 2004 – declining a rematch against Klitschko, who defeated Corrie Sanders (South Africa) in April 2004 to win the vacant title.

Lewis won 41 of his 44 professional fights – the two defeats and one draw listed above being the only ones he didn't win.

Nicknames

The Dark Destroyer Click to show or hide the answer
The Celtic Warrior (Irish world champion boxer, 1990s) Click to show or hide the answer
Gentleman Jim (born 1866) Click to show or hide the answer
The Fleetwood Assassin Click to show or hide the answer
The Golden Boy (US boxer, born 1973 – Super Featherweight to Middleweight) Click to show or hide the answer
Kid Blackie, The Manassa Mauler Click to show or hide the answer
Stone Fist Click to show or hide the answer
The Fen Tiger Click to show or hide the answer
Marvelous (US Middleweight, 1980s) Click to show or hide the answer
The Hitman (US welterweight, 1980s) Click to show or hide the answer
The Real Deal (undisputed world heavyweight champion, 1990–2) Click to show or hide the answer
The Dancing Destroyer (British heavyweight and cruiserweight, born in Nigeria in 1971) Click to show or hide the answer
The British Bulldog, The Blackpool Rock (British heavyweight champion, 1958–9) Click to show or hide the answer
The Brown Bomber Click to show or hide the answer
The Brockton Blockbuster Click to show or hide the answer
The Clones (clone–iss) Cyclone Click to show or hide the answer
The Mongoose (British heavyweight, 1950s) Click to show or hide the answer
The Fighting Marine (world heavyweight champion, 1926–8) Click to show or hide the answer

Other

British flyweight (51 kg): Olympic champion 2012, Commonwealth champion 2014, European champion 2015; the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing; the first British woman to win a major boxing title (European Amateur Championships, 2011); named the most influential LGBT person in Britain by The Independent, 2012 Click to show or hide the answer
Jamaican heavyweight, the last to fight Muhammad Ali, inflicting his fifth professional defeat (1981); won the WBC title 1986, but lost it 8 months later to 20–year–old Mike Tyson; beaten to death with a steel pipe, 2006, in his home town in Jamaica, apparently over a land dispute Click to show or hide the answer
British Heavyweight Champion 1969 – 70 Click to show or hide the answer
English bare–knuckle fighter, heavyweight champion of England 1734–50; set out 7 rules of boxing in 1743, which were known as the London Prize Ring Rules and formed the basis of Queensberry's rules; invented "muffles", the first boxing gloves (used in training); buried in Westminster Abbey in 1789; the inscription "Champion of England" was added to his tomb in 1988 Click to show or hide the answer
World lightweight champion, 1970–2; controversially beaten by Roberto Duran; considered by many to be Scotland's greatest ever boxer Click to show or hide the answer
Took Henry Cooper's British and Commonwealth titles in 1971 Click to show or hide the answer
Canadian heavyweight, world champion 1906–8; defended the title twice in one night in 1906 Click to show or hide the answer
London–born Welsh–based super middleweight (of mixed Welsh and Italian parentage) – beat Chris Eubank for the vacant WBO title 1997; unified the WBO and IBF titles 2006 by beating Jeff Lacy (US); retired 2009 as light heavyweight world champion, undefeated after 46 fights (32 ko's, 14 decisions) Click to show or hide the answer
Italian heavyweight, world champion 1933–4 Click to show or hide the answer
Took the world heavyweight title from Joe Louis (1950); the only man to go the distance with Marciano in a world title fight Click to show or hide the answer
Mexico's greatest ever boxer: active 1980–2005, made a record 27 successful world lightweight title defences (breaking the record set in the Heavyweight division by Joe Louis) Click to show or hide the answer
Zimbabwe–born British heavyweight: stripped of his licence to box in 2012, because of his behaviour before and after a fight with Vitali Klitschko, but regained it in 2013 Click to show or hide the answer
The only British boxer to face Rocky Marciano in a world title fight, losing on a TKO in the 9th round (1955); he took "a terrific beating", Marciano saying afterwards "He's got a lot of guts. I don't think I ever hit anyone else any more often or harder." Click to show or hide the answer
Became WBO super middleweight champion 1995 by becoming the first to defeat Chris Eubank; retired in 1997 Click to show or hide the answer
British WBC light heavyweight champion, 1974 Click to show or hide the answer
US boxer, took the WBA featherweight title from Barry McGuigan in Ring magazine's "fight of the year" for 1986 Click to show or hide the answer
Henry Cooper's twin brother (coached Henry when he quit boxing) Click to show or hide the answer
The only man to win three Lonsdale Belts outright Click to show or hide the answer
Winner of Britain's first licensed women's boxing match (1998) Click to show or hide the answer
US boxer – Super Featherweight to Middleweight – nicknamed The Golden Boy; various world titles, 1994–2005; lost the last one (WBC light–middleweight) to Floyd Mayweather Click to show or hide the answer
World heavyweight champion, 1919–26: sparred with John Paul Getty, who was reputedly the only man ever to knock him out Click to show or hide the answer
Manager/trainer/corner–man to Muhammad Ali (also George Foreman and Sugar Ray Leonard) – opened up a tear in Ali's glove during his fight with Henry Cooper, to give Ali time to recover while a replacement was found – Cooper claimed that it cost him the fight, but in reality it probably caused only a few seconds' delay. Died in 2012 aged 90 Click to show or hide the answer
Panamanian world lightweight champion, 1972–80; defended the title 12 times, and vacated it to move up to welterweight Click to show or hide the answer
Best known for his stunning upset of the previously–undefeated Mike Tyson in Tokyo, February 1990, to win the undisputed heavyweight title; won by a knockout, after himself being down for a long count; lost to Evander Holyfield eight months later Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer
Won the vacant world title after it was stripped from Muhammad Ali, 1968; lost it to Joe Frazier, 1970 Click to show or hide the answer
Won his first 34 professional fights; became WBO middleweight champion 1990; finally lost his 35th fight and 20th defence to Steve Collins, 1995; regained the title twice, defeated by Joe Calzaghe in a fight for the vacant title 1997; retired in 1998; entered the ring to Tina Turner's Simply the Best Click to show or hide the answer
Welsh heavyweight, nicknamed the Tonypandy Terror: the only British boxer to face Joe Louis in a world title fight, losing controversially on points after 15 rounds (1937) Click to show or hide the answer
Born Helston, Cornwall 1863; the lightest ever World Heavyweight Champion (1897–9); Britain's only World Heavyweight Champion, before Lennox Lewis; became a US citizen 1898; Wayne Rooney claims to be distantly related to him (not a descendant) Click to show or hide the answer
Olympic heavyweight champion 1968; took the world heavyweight title on his 25th birthday, January 1973, by knocking out Frazier in round 2 (in Kingston, Jamaica); became the oldest–ever world champion in 1994, aged 45, with a surprise victory over Michael Moorer to take the WBA and IBF titles; lost both in 1995 by refusing to fight the nominated challengers Click to show or hide the answer
Fought Mike Tyson in Manchester, 2000; lost in less than 1½ rounds (London–born) Click to show or hide the answer
Seen as a favourite for the world heavyweight title after it was stripped from Muhammad Ali, but refused to contest it; beat the successful contender, Jimmy Ellis, to become WBC and WBA champion, February 1970; beat Ali in "the Fight of the Century" (March 1971 – Ali's first professional defeat); lost the world titles to George Foreman, January 1973, in Kingston, Jamaica; lost to Ali, January 1974; lost to Ali again in the "Thriller in Manila", October 1975; derided by Ali as an "Uncle Tom"; died in 2011, aged 67, from cancer Click to show or hide the answer
Trained four of the five boxers that defeated Muhammad Ali (Frazier, Norton, Holmes, Berbick; the one he didn't train was Spinks). Died in 2001, aged 90 Click to show or hide the answer
Took the WBA and WBC middleweight titles from Alan Minter in 1980; defeated by Sugar Ray Leonard in 1987; widely regarded as the best middleweight of all time; changed his first name to Marvelous Click to show or hide the answer
First to win world titles at four different weights, eventually holding five. Basically a welterweight; also held light middleweight, middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight titles Click to show or hide the answer
WBC heavyweight champion, 1978–83: successfully defended the title against Muhammad Ali, 1980, by a TKO (Ali's last world title fight and fourth professional defeat – the only one not on points).  Relinquished the WBC title in December 1983, and accepted recognition as champion by the newly–created IBF; lost that title to Michael Spinks, September 1985 Click to show or hide the answer
Had part of each ear bitten off by Mike Tyson in 1997 Click to show or hide the answer
Jamaican–born British world welterweight champion, 1986–7 Click to show or hide the answer
British heavyweight, beat Tony Tucker 1997 to become WBO champion; lost to Vitali Klitschko 1999 Click to show or hide the answer
Swedish heavyweight, beat Floyd Patterson 1959, lost to him 1960 Click to show or hide the answer
First black World Heavyweight Champion (1908) Click to show or hide the answer
Ukrainian heavyweight (but initially German–based, moving to USA 2003): took the WBO title from Herbie Hide, 1999, losing it in 2000; Lennox Lewis' last opponent (2003 – lost by a technical k.o.); won the WBC title 2004 after Lewis retired; retired 2005, but regained the WBC title 2008 Click to show or hide the answer
Younger brother of Vitali Klitschko: won the WBO title 2003, and as of 2008 was IBF, WBO and IBO champion (making them the first brothers to hold world heavyweight champions simultaneously) Click to show or hide the answer
Super Heavyweight champion in the Commonwealth Games 1986 (Edinburgh) and Olympics 1998 (Seoul) – representing Canada Click to show or hide the answer
Muhammad Ali's opponent in his first (successful) world title fight – the only one he fought as Cassius Clay Click to show or hide the answer
First British heavyweight to have two world title attempts: lost both, to Paterson in 1959 and Ali 1966 Click to show or hide the answer
The longest reigning world heavyweight champion (1937–49); retired after 25 successful defences – a record, until broken in the Lightweight division by Julio César Chávez Click to show or hide the answer
The first world heavyweight champion to retired undefeated (1956 – but see Gene Tunney); defeated Joe Louis in his (Louis') last professional fight Click to show or hide the answer
Jamaican–born British heavyweight, won 37 of 38 pro fights (34 by KO), beaten only by Lennox Lewis; retired in 1994, died in a cycling accident in 2011 aged 48 Click to show or hide the answer
US welterweight, rated 2005–8 as the world's best pound–for–pound boxer; won world titles at six different weights; beat Ricky Hatton in Las Vegas, Dec 2007; listed by Forbes Magazine as the highest–earning sportsman of 2012, 2013 and 2014; trained by his father, who was a US champion welterweight in the 1980s, and also briefly trained Ricky Hatton; also at one time trained by his uncle Roger (his father's brother) Click to show or hide the answer
First to defeat Lennox Lewis in a professional fight, taking his WBC heavyweight title in 1994; Frank Bruno took it from him in 1995; fought Lewis again for the vacant title in 1997, after Mike Tyson relinquished it (preferring to fight Evander Holyfield rather than Lewis) – but lost on a t.k.o. in the 5th round, when he apparently refused to fight in the 4th or 5th Click to show or hide the answer
WBA world featherweight champion, 1985–6; BBC Sports Personality of 1985 Click to show or hide the answer
Won the world middleweight title from Italy's Vito Antuofermo, 1980; lost it to Marvin Hagler, 164 days later after saying "no black man will take my title" Click to show or hide the answer
Argentinian middleweight; World Champion 1970–77, retired as champion 1977. Died Jan 1995, 5 years into an 11–year prison sentence for the murder of his lover Click to show or hide the answer
Barry McGuigan won the WBA Featherweight title in 1985 from Click to show or hide the answer
Filipino boxer, first to hold world titles at seven different weights (2009); named fighter of the decade (2000s) by US boxing writers; beat Ricky Hatton in Las Vegas, 2009; lost to Floyd Mayweather, also in Las Vegas, 2015 Click to show or hide the answer
Won the vacant world heavyweight title following Marciano's retirement; lost to Johansson 1959, but became the first to regain the title 1960. First to use the "peek–a–boo" style, later adopted by Mike Tyson amongst others Click to show or hide the answer
Beaten by Muhammad Ali in his first comeback fight, October 1970 Click to show or hide the answer
1951: Randolph Turpin took the World Middleweight title (for 64 days) from Click to show or hide the answer
German world heavyweight champion 1930–2 – the first European champion since Bob Fitzsimmons (1897–9); first man to defeat Joe Louis in a professional fight (1936); later tried unsuccessfully to take the world heavyweight title from Louis (1938) Click to show or hide the answer
Frank Bruno's first professional defeat (1984, US opponent – became WBA world champion 1986) Click to show or hide the answer
Muhammad Ali's third professional defeat, and his last in a world title fight (WBA/WBC, 1978; Ali regained the WBA title from him later in 1978, but vacated it in 1979) Click to show or hide the answer
Olympic middleweight gold, 1976; later won world light heavyweight (1981) and heavyweight (1985) titles Click to show or hide the answer
British World Welterweight champion in 1976 Click to show or hide the answer
Last bare–knuckle Champion of the World Click to show or hide the answer
First heavyweight world champion to retire undefeated as a heavyweight (1928); beat Jack Dempsey twice (1926 and 1927) Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer
British world middleweight champion, 1951: defeated Sugar Ray Robinson Click to show or hide the answer
The youngest ever world heavyweight champion (20 years, 145 days – 22 November 1986) Click to show or hide the answer
7–foot Russian from whom David Haye took the WBA heavyweight title, 2009; the tallest and heaviest world champion ever Click to show or hide the answer
Beat Ezzard Charles 1951, aged 37, becoming the oldest boxer to win the world heavyweight title – record broken by George Foreman in 1994 (aged 45) Click to show or hide the answer
Henry Cooper's manager Click to show or hide the answer
Popular British heavyweight, defeated Brian London in 1945 (at White Hart Lane football ground) to take the British and Empire titles. Fought Lee Savold (USA) for the vacant world title after Joe Louis's retirement (1950), although this was recognised in the USA Click to show or hide the answer

© Haydn Thompson 2017–18