Lennox Lewis

Lennox Lewis
Statistics
Real nameLennox Claudius Lewis
NicknameThe Lion
Rated atHeavyweight
NationalityBritish, Canadian[1]
Birth dateSeptember 2 1965 (1965--) (age 42)
Birth placeWest Ham, London, England, UK
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights44
Wins41
Wins by KO32
Losses2
Draws1
No contests0
Medal record
Competitor for  Canada
Men’s Boxing
Olympic Games
Gold1988 SeoulSuper Heavyweight
Commonwealth Games
Gold1986 EdinburghSuper Heavyweight
Lennox Claudius Lewis CBE (born September 2 1965 in West Ham, London, England) is a retired professional boxer who represented Canada in the Olympics and fought under the British flag as a professional. He is a former undisputed lineal heavyweight champion. Along with Muhammad Ali and Evander Holyfield, Lewis is one of three boxers in heavyweight history to have won the Heavyweight Championship on three separate occasions. Lewis is 195cm (6 ft 5 in) tall and sports an 84-inch reach, much longer than average for his height. During his boxing prime, he weighed 112kg (247lb). Lewis often referred to himself as "the pugilist specialist".

Biography

Early life

Lewis was born in West Ham, London in 1965 to Jamaican born parents,[2] and moved to Kitchener, Ontario, Canada in 1977 at the age of 12. He attended Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute for high school, where he excelled in the sports of Canadian football, soccer and basketball.[3] He eventually decided that his favourite sport was boxing. Future events proved he was quite skilled as well, as he became a dominant amateur boxer and won the world amateur junior title in 1983.[4]

The next year, Lewis represented Canada as a super-heavyweight in the 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles. He advanced to the quarterfinals, where he lost a controversial decision to American Tyrell Biggs and settled for a fifth-place finish.

Surprisingly, Lewis chose not to turn professional after the Olympics, and instead fought four more years as an amateur, hoping for a second chance to win a gold medal. After winning several more amateur titles over those years, he travelled to Seoul, South Korea for the 1988 Summer Olympics and achieved his goal. In the gold medal match, Lewis defeated future world champion Riddick Bowe by a second round technical knockout.

Having achieved one goal, Lewis declared himself a professional boxer and moved back to England, where boxing had a significantly higher profile than in Canada. The early part of his pro career was filled with knockouts of journeymen, and he quickly shot up the world rankings.

Professional boxing career

Lewis captured the European heavyweight title late in 1990, added the British heavyweight title in March 1991 and the Commonwealth title in April 1992. By this time, Lewis was a consensus top-five heavyweight in the world.

On October 31 1992, Lewis knocked out Canada's hard-punching Donovan "Razor" Ruddock in two rounds for the No. 1 contender's position in the WBC world rankings. But ultimately, the victory won Lewis even more than that. After Bowe, who had become world heavyweight champion by upsetting Evander Holyfield, refused to fight Lewis as he had vowed before the Holyfield bout, his WBC title was declared vacant. On January 14 1993, the WBC declared Lewis its champion. He thus became the first world heavyweight titleholder from Britain in the 20th century.

Lewis successfully defended the belt three times, defeating Tony Tucker, who was decked for the first time in his career, Phil Jackson and Frank Bruno before he suffered a technical knockout loss at the hands of Oliver McCall on September 24 1994. In the second round, McCall connected with a powerful right hand to the chin, putting Lewis down on his back. Lewis was up at the count of six, signalling that he wanted to continue, but he was clearly dazed and the referee ended the fight. Lewis, and others, argued that the stoppage was premature and that a champion should be given the benefit of the doubt[5].

He received a chance to fight for the mandatory position of the WBC and won it by knocking out contender Lionel Butler in the U.S. But the WBC chose to bypass him and give Tyson the first shot at the title that had changed hands to former Lewis- and Tyson-victim Frank Bruno.

While he had the No. 1 contender's slot in the WBC rankings, he defeated Olympic gold medallist Ray Mercer and contender Tommy Morrison on the road, but agreed to stand back in exchange for a multi-million dollar payoff by promoter Don King, who wanted his fighter, Mike Tyson, to unify the titles by taking Bruce Seldon's WBA version. After Tyson's win, however, he [Tyson] refused to defend against Lewis, and the WBC title was declared vacant. This set up a rematch between Lewis and McCall, who squared off on February 7 1997 in Las Vegas. In one of the most bizarre fights ever, McCall refused to box in the fourth and fifth rounds and actually began to cry in the ring, forcing the referee to stop the fight and award Lewis the victory.

On March 28 1998, Lewis retained the WBC world title when he knocked out linear champion Shannon Briggs in five rounds. He had also retained the title against former WBO world champion Henry Akinwande, who was disqualified after five rounds for constantly clinching. Lewis then went up against Andrew Golota, whom he knocked out in the first, and against formerly undefeated European champion Željko Mavrović, whom he beat in a 12-round unanimous decision.

Years as Undisputed Champion

On March 13 1999, Lewis faced WBA and IBF titlist Evander Holyfield in New York City in what was supposed to be a heavyweight unification bout. Although most observers believed Lewis had won the fight, the bout was declared a draw, to much controversy. Eight months later in Las Vegas (November 13, 1999), the two men fought again and Lewis won a close, but unanimous decision.

Lewis later dropped the WBA and IBF titles in disputes (Lewis refused to fight the WBA's number 1 challenger, John Ruiz). He successfully defended his title three times: knocking out Michael Grant in two rounds, knocking out Francois Botha in two, and winning a twelve round decision against David Tua. However, on April 21 2001, Lewis was knocked out again, this time by 20-to-1 underdog Hasim Rahman in a bout in South Africa. The loss, coupled with Lewis' earlier KO loss to McCall, led many ringside observers to question Lewis' heart and chin. Prior to the bout, however, Lewis had a role in the film Ocean's Eleven in which he "boxed" against Wladimir Klitschko, and many feel that the distraction and disrupted training schedule contributed significantly to his loss.

While promoting the rematch with Rahman on ESPN's Up Close, the fighters got into a brawl[6] similar to the one between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in front of Howard Cosell on Wide World of Sports. Many felt the brawl was staged to promote the fight, so the reality of the episode is still a matter of debate. Lewis regained the title on November 17 by knocking out Hasim Rahman in the fourth round of their rematch.

Lewis vs. Tyson

Enlarge picture
The Lewis-Tyson fight was one of the most anticipated heavyweight fights in years.
On June 8 2002, Lewis defended his title against Tyson. A fight many had hoped would turn out to be one of the classics, turned out to be one-sided as Lennox used his jab and superior reach to score a dominant knockout victory over "Iron Mike". By the eighth round, Tyson was tired and sluggish, his face swollen and his eyes cut. As he came out for the round, his corner begged him to give them one more round of solid effort seemingly in a desperate, last-ditch attempt to get him to KO Lewis. However, it was Tyson who was knocked out by a perfectly timed right hand that sent him to the canvas for the full count.

This fight was the highest-grossing event in pay-per-view history, generating $106.9 million from 1.95 million buys in the USA, until it was surpassed by De La Hoya-Mayweather in 2007.[7]

Ticket sales were slow because they were priced as high as $2,400, but a crowd of 15,327 turned up to see the biggest sporting event ever in the city of Memphis, Tennessee. Tyson also had to pay Lewis $335,000 out of his purse for biting him at the news conference to announce the fight, which was originally scheduled for April 6 2002 in Las Vegas. Las Vegas, however, rejected the fight and several other states refused Tyson a license before Memphis finally bid $12 million to land it.

Lewis vs. Klitschko

In May 2003, Lewis sued boxing promoter Don King for $385 million, claiming that King used threats to have Tyson pull out of a rematch scheduled with Lewis for a month later. Lewis then scheduled a fight with Kirk Johnson for the championship belt of the less-recognized IBO, but dropped it when Johnson suffered an injury in training. Instead, Lewis fought Vitali Klitschko, the WBC's No. 1 contender and former WBO titlist. Lewis had planned to fight him in December, but since Klitschko had been on the undercard of the Johnson fight anyway, they agreed to square off on June 21. Lewis entered the ring at a career high 256 1/2 pounds.[8] For the first time in his career, Lewis was shoved around the ring by an equally strong fighter and was dominated for much of the fight, being wobbled in round two. However, Lewis gave a better showing in the fifth and sixth rounds, with Klitschko himself badly hurt by an uppercut in round six. Before the start of round seven, with Klitschko ahead on all three scorecards, the ringside doctor stopped the fight due to a severe cut above Klitschko's left eye. Lewis was awarded the win by TKO. The likely winner of this fight, had it continued, has been a popular subject of debate ever since.

Hanging Up the Gloves

Because Klitschko had fought so well against Lewis, boxing fans soon began calling for a rematch. The WBC agreed, and kept the Ukrainian as its No. 1 contender. Lewis was evasive about fighting Klitschko a second time and ultimately decided to pursue other interests, including sports management and music promotion. Lewis said he will not return to the ring. At his retirement, Lewis' record was 41 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw, with 32 wins by knockout. Though it was rumoured in an article published by the Daily Mail on the 24 February that he would return to fight Klitschko once again, Lewis quickly shot down those rumours on his personal website. He announced once again, on March 4, 2007 (after the Edison Miranda vs. Allen Green fight), that he was not coming out of retirement. He said he was putting on weight and that "You've never seen a skinny King".

Lewis is now a boxing commentator on HBO. He also appeared recently in the film Johnny Was as the DJ of a pirate radio station, alongside actors such as Vinnie Jones and Eriq La Salle.

Amateur Highlights

  • Record: 75-7(58)[9]
  • 1983 Junior World Super Heavyweight Champion
  • Represented Canada as a Super Heavyweight at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Results were:
  • Defeated Mohammad Youssuf (Pakistan) TKO 3
  • Lost to Tyrell Biggs (United States) points
  • 1985 Silver Medalist at World Cup competition.
  • 1986 Super Heavyweight Gold Medalist at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 1987 Super Heavyweight Silver Medalist at Pan-American Games in Indianapolis. Lost to Jorge Luis Gonzalez of Cuba in the final.
  • 1987 Won the North American Super Heavyweight championship competition, defeating Jorge Luis Gonzalez
  • Won the Super Heavyweight Gold medal for Canada at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. Results were:
  • Defeated Chrispine Odera (Kenya) TKO 2
  • Defeated Ulli Kaden (East Germany) TKO 1
  • Defeated Jasz Zarenkiewicz (Poland) forfeit
  • Defeated Riddick Bowe (United States) TKO 2

See also

References

1. ^ Mee, Bob. "Angry Lewis caught in the crossfire", The Daily Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 2001-04-18. Retrieved on 2007-03-22. 
2. ^ The Lennox Lewis interview. Playboy online. April 2002. Accessed 6 October 2006
3. ^ Rivet, Christine. "The champ hangs 'em up", The Record, Torstar Corporation, 2004-02-06. 
4. ^ Nack, William. "The Great Brit Hope", Sports Illustrated, Time Warner, 1993-02-01. Retrieved on 2007-03-22. 
5. ^ Feour, Royce. "Heavyweights' lone losses", Las Vegas Review-Journal, Stephens Media, LLC, 2000-11-08. Retrieved on 2007-06-17. 
6. ^ Rovell, Darren. "Lewis, Rahman get physical during taping", ESPN.com, ESPN Internet Ventures, 2001-08-30. Retrieved on 2007-03-22. 
7. ^ Umstead, R. Thomas. "HBO Rings In A PPV Knockout", Multichannel News, Variety Group, 2007-05-14. Retrieved on 2007-06-07. 
8. ^ Rafael, Dan. "Lewis shows his age in struggle to defend title", USA TODAY, Gannett Co. Inc., 2003-06-23. Retrieved on 2007-04-16. 
9. ^ Lennox Lewis. HBO.com. Home Box Office, Inc. (2007-02-20). Retrieved on 2007-06-05.
Preceded by
Michael Owen
BBC Sports Personality of the Year
1999
Succeeded by
Steve Redgrave

>
Previous champion
Evander Holyfield
IBF World Heavyweight 14th Champion
November 13, 1999 - April 22, 2001
Next champion
Hasim Rahman

>
Previous champion
Hasim Rahman
IBF World Heavyweight 16th Champion
November 17, 2001 - September 5, 2002
Next champion
Chris Byrd

>
Previous champion
Evander Holyfield
WBA World Heavyweight Champion
November 13, 1999 - April 29, 2000
Next champion
Evander Holyfield

>
Previous champion
Riddick Bowe
WBC World Heavyweight 16th Champion
December 14, 1992 - September 24, 1994
Next champion
Oliver McCall

>
Previous champion
Mike Tyson
WBC World Heavyweight 20th Champion
February 7, 1997 - November 17, 2001
Next champion
Hasim Rahman

>
Previous champion
Hasim Rahman
WBC World Heavyweight 22nd Champion
November 17, 2001 - February 6, 2004
Next champion
Vitali Klitschko

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Heavyweight is a division, or weight class, in boxing. Fighters who weigh over 200 pounds (14 st 4lb/90.72kg) are considered heavyweights by the major professional boxing organizations, including the International Boxing Federation, [1]
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Orthodox is a boxing term that designates the normal stance for a right-handed boxer.

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A boxer in the orthodox stance would have his left hand and left foot forward. Typically he or she would lead with a left jab, and follow with a right hook or right cross.
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Boxing (or pugilism) is a combat sport of English origin in which two participants of similar weight fight each other with their fists in a series of one to three-minute intervals called rounds.
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No official anthem specific to England — the anthem of the United Kingdom is "God Save the Queen".
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Boxing (or pugilism) is a combat sport of English origin in which two participants of similar weight fight each other with their fists in a series of one to three-minute intervals called rounds.
..... Click the link for more information.
This page is currently protected from editing until disputes have been resolved.
Protection is not an endorsement of the current [ version] ([ protection log]).
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Motto
"Dieu et mon droit" [2]   (French)
"God and my right"
Anthem
"God Save the Queen" [3]
..... Click the link for more information.
Heavyweight is a division, or weight class, in boxing. Fighters who weigh over 200 pounds (14 st 4lb/90.72kg) are considered heavyweights by the major professional boxing organizations, including the International Boxing Federation, [1]
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Muhammad Ali

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Name Muhammad Ali
Birth name Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.
Nickname The Greatest Of All Time
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Weight division Heavyweight
Nationality American
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