Lennox Lewis vs Oliver McCall I WBC heavyweight World title official on-site 22 page programme, billed "Whose Moment Of Glory", 24th September 1994, The Arena, Wembley, London.
McCall W TKO 2
* A right to the chin puts Lewis down in the 2nd round. referee Garcia stops the fight after Lewis gets up, determining that he is in no condition to continue.
* "I was clear to fight. I was totally robbed." - Lennox Lewis
* "I'm absolutely sure about what I did. Lennox Lewis was knocked out. To allow more punches to Lewis could have had fatal consequences. My duty is to protect the health of the boxer." - Referee José Guadalupe García
Lennox Claudius Lewis, CM, CBE (born 2 September 1965) is a retired undisputed World heavyweight champion.
He holds dual British and Canadian citizenship. As an amateur he won gold representing Canada at the 1988 Olympic Games after defeating future heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe in the final. Lewis is regarded by many as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time.
Lewis turned professional in 1989, winning his first 21 fights before he knocked out Donovan Ruddock in 1992 to take over the number one position in the World Boxing Council (WBC) rankings. He was declared WBC heavyweight champion in December 1992 after Riddick Bowe was stripped of the title.
Lewis lost the title to Oliver McCall in 1994 but defeated McCall in a rematch to win the vacant WBC title in 1997. He defended the title four times before becoming the Lineal Champion when he beat Shannon Briggs by knockout in 1998.
He became undisputed champion when he defeated Evander Holyfield in November 1999. After defeating Mike Tyson by knockout in 2002 and stopping Vitali Klitschko in 2003, Lennox Lewis retired from boxing in 2004.
Lewis is 6 feet 5 inches (196 centimetres) tall and has an 84-inch (213 cm) reach. During his boxing prime, he weighed about 245 pounds (111 kg). Lewis often referred to himself as "the pugilist specialist." Lewis is rated by BoxRec as the number one pound-for-pound best British boxer of all time.
Lewis was born on 2 September 1965, in Stratford, London, England to Jamaican-born parents. At birth he weighed 10 pounds 10 ounces (4.8 kg), and was given the name Lennox by the doctor, who said he looked like a Lennox.
Lewis 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 Canadian football, soccer and basketball.
Lewis eventually decided that his favourite sport was boxing. He became a dominant amateur boxer and won the World amateur junior title in 1983.
At the age of 18, Lewis represented Canada as a super heavyweight at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
He advanced to the quarter-finals, where he lost a decision to American Tyrell Biggs, the eventual gold medallist.
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. At 1986 World Amateur Boxing Championships, he lost in the preliminary round to Petar Stoymenov of Bulgaria. After winning several more amateur titles during 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 referee stopped contest (RSC). He was Canada's flag bearer at the Games' closing ceremony.
Professional Boxing Career
Having achieved his goal, Lewis declared himself a professional and moved back to his native England. He claimed he had always considered himself British, but many British fans regarded him as "a Canadian at heart and a Briton for convenience."
He signed with boxing promoter Frank Maloney and his early professional career was filled with knockouts of journeymen.
After he signed with American promoter Main Events, he won the European heavyweight title in 1990 against Frenchman Jean Maurice Chanet. In his next fight in March 1991, Lewis won the British title against undefeated, World-ranked Gary Mason, and in April 1992 won the Commonwealth title against Derek Williams.
Lewis was a top-five World heavyweight. He defeated former WBA heavyweight champion Mike Weaver, 1984 Olympic Gold medalist Tyrell Biggs, former World cruiserweight title holders Glenn McCrory and Osvaldo Ocasio, and journeymen Levi Billups and Mike Dixon.
On 31 October 1992, Lewis knocked out Canadian Donovan "Razor" Ruddock in two rounds for the number one contender's position in the WBC rankings. It was Lewis' most impressive win to date, and established him as one of the World's best heavyweights. Sportscaster Larry Merchant declared, "We have a great new heavyweight."
The win over Ruddock made Lewis the number one contender for Riddick Bowe's heavyweight championship. Bowe refused to face Lewis, and held a press conference to dump his title in a trash can and relinquish it. On 14 December 1992, the WBC declared Lewis its champion, making him the first World heavyweight titleholder from Britain in the 20th century.
Lewis defended the belt three times, defeating Tony Tucker, whom he knocked down for the first time in Tucker's career, and he followed this with knockout victories over Frank Bruno and Phil Jackson. The Lennox Lewis vs. Frank Bruno fight was the first time two British-born boxers fought for a version of the World heavyweight title in the modern era.
Loss To McCall
Lewis lost his WBC title to Oliver McCall on 24 September 1994 in a huge upset at the Wembley Arena in London. In the second round, McCall landed a powerful right hook, putting Lewis on his back. Lewis gained his feet at the count of six, but stumbled forward into the referee in a daze. Referee Jose Guadalupe Garcia felt Lewis was unable to continue and ended the fight, giving McCall the title by technical knockout.
Lewis and others argued the stoppage was premature and that a champion should be given the benefit of the doubt.
They also contended that Garcia, a Mexican referee working for the Mexican-based WBC, had been persuaded by promoter Don King to end the fight early if the opportunity arose, to bring back the heavyweight title to his promotional stable.
After the fight, Lewis decided he needed a new trainer to replace Pepe Correa, who had become increasingly difficult to work with. Correa denounced Lewis in public after being fired.
Renowned trainer Emanuel Steward, who had been McCall's trainer during their fight, was Lewis' choice. Even before the fight with McCall, Steward had seen much potential in Lewis and immediately expressed a desire to work with him. He corrected several of Lewis' technical flaws, which included maintaining a more balanced stance, less reliance on his straight right hand, and a focus on using a strong, authoritative jab; the latter of which would become a hallmark of Lewis' style throughout the rest of his career.
Their partnership lasted until Lewis' retirement, both having mutual praise and respect for each other to this day.
Regaining The WBC Title
Lennox Lewis vs Lionel Butler
In his first comeback fight Lewis was given a chance to fight for the mandatory challenger position within the WBC and won it by knocking out American contender Lionel Butler.
However, at the behest of promoter Don King, the WBC bypassed him and gave Mike Tyson the first chance at the title recently been won by Briton Frank Bruno from Oliver McCall. Bruno had previously lost to both Lewis and Tyson.
Lewis had the number 1 contender's slot in the WBC rankings when he knocked out Australian Justin Fortune, then defeated former WBO Champion Tommy Morrison in October 1995, followed by Olympic gold medallist and former WBO champion Ray Mercer in a close majority decision in May 1996. Lewis successfully sued to force Tyson to make a mandatory defence of the WBC title against him or force him to give up the title, winning a four million dollar settlement from promoter Don King. Rather than fight Lewis, Tyson relinquished the WBC title to fight Evander Holyfield. The WBC title was declared vacant. This set up a rematch between Lewis and McCall, who met on 7 February 1997 in Las Vegas for the WBC title.
Lennox Lewis vs Oliver McCall II
In one of the strangest fights in boxing history, McCall (having lost the first three rounds) refused to box in the fourth and fifth rounds. He then began crying in the ring, forcing the referee to stop the fight and award Lewis the victory and the title. As newly re-crowned WBC champion, Lewis successfully defended the title during 1997 against fellow Briton and former WBO World champion Henry Akinwande, who was disqualified after five rounds for excessive clinching.
Lewis then met Poland's Andrew Golota, whom he knocked out in the first round. Lewis retained the WBC World title in 1998 when he knocked out lineal champion Shannon Briggs in five rounds (Briggs had recently outpointed George Foreman in a controversial fight to win the lineal title), and beat formerly-undefeated European champion Željko Mavrović from Croatia in a 12-round unanimous decision. Lewis stated in 2006 that his fight with Mavrovic was the most awkward win of his career.
Evander Holyfield vs Lennox Lewis
On 13 March 1999, Lewis faced WBA and IBF title holder Evander Holyfield in New York City in what was supposed to be a heavyweight unification bout. Lewis fought a tactical fight, keeping Holyfield off balance with a long jab and peppering him with combinations almost at will. Although most observers believed Lewis had clearly won the fight, the bout was declared a draw, to much controversy. The raw statistics of the fight suggested the bout belonged to Lewis, who landed 348 punches compared to Holyfield's 130. Lewis also out-jabbed Holyfield 137 to 52. Judge Eugenia Williams, who scored the fight in Holyfield's favour, said she saw Lewis land fewer punches than Holyfield.
Evander Holyfield vs Lennox Lewis II
The sanctioning bodies ordered a rematch. Eight months later in Las Vegas (13 November 1999), the two men fought again in a more open and entertaining contest than the original fight, with the two boxers having some heavy exchanges from rounds 6 to 9. The punch stats however still clearly favoured Lewis who landed 195 punches to Evander Holyfield's 137 punches, although interestingly Lewis landed 119 power shots and 76 jabs, showing a definite shift in his tactics from the first fight when he focused more on the jab.
This time around the 3 Judges did score the fight unanimously (115–113, 116–112 & 117–111) all in favour of Lewis who became undisputed heavyweight champion of the World. The British public voted Lewis the 1999 BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Reign as Undisputed Champion
After Lewis defeated Holyfield the WBA ordered Lewis to defend the title against John Ruiz of Puerto Rico, then an obscure Don King fighter who had been made the WBA's #1-ranked contender. The WBA gave permission for Lewis to fight his WBC mandatory Michael Grant first if he would fight Ruiz next, which Lewis agreed to. Opposed to this, Ruiz's promoter challenged this decision in court on the basis of a clause in the Lewis-Holyfield rematch contract that said Lewis's first bout as undisputed champion would be against the WBA's number one contender. Lewis was therefore to be stripped of his WBA belt if he fought Grant first. It was because of this that the WBA instated its "Super Champion" title, giving unified titleholders who also hold a WBA belt more time to defend against mandatory challengers.
Lewis proceeded to fight the 6 ft 8 inch American Michael Grant who he considered the best contender available. He successfully defended his WBC, IBO & IBF titles against Grant with a second round knockout victory in Madison Square Garden in April 2000.
Later that same year Lewis knocked out South African Francois Botha in two rounds in London, before winning a 12-round decision against New Zealander and IBF mandatory opponent, David Tua in Las Vegas.
Lennox Lewis vs Hasim Rahman
On 21 April 2001, Lewis was knocked out by 15-to-1 underdog Hasim Rahman in a bout in South Africa. Prior to the bout, Lewis had a role in the film Ocean's Eleven in which he "boxed" against Wladimir Klitschko.
Hasim Rahman vs Lennox Lewis II
Lewis immediately sought a rematch with the new champion; however, Rahman, now being promoted by Don King, tried to secure another opponent for his inaugural title defence. Lewis took Rahman to court to honour the rematch clause in their contract. Rahman was ordered to honour the clause and give Lewis a rematch in his first title defence. While promoting the rematch with Rahman on ESPN's Up Close, the fighters got into a brawl similar to the one between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in front of Howard Cosell on Wide World of Sports. Lewis regained the title on 17 November by outclassing and then knocking out Hasim Rahman in the fourth round of their rematch.
Lennox Lewis vs Mike Tyson
The Lewis-Tyson fight was one of the most anticipated heavyweight fights in years.
On 8 June 2002, Lewis defended his title against Mike Tyson.
A fight many had hoped would be a classic 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 end of the seventh round Tyson was tired and sluggish, his face swollen and his eyes cut. He was knocked out in the eighth by a right hook. After the fight, George Foreman declared, "He [Lewis] is, no doubt, the best heavyweight of all time. What he's done clearly puts him on top of the heap." This was the highest-grossing event in pay-per-view history, generating $106.9 million from 1.95 million buys in the U.S., until it was surpassed by De La Hoya-Mayweather in 2007.
Ticket sales were slow because they were priced as high as $2,400, but a crowd of 15,327 turned up to see boxing's then biggest event at the Pyramid Arena in 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 6 April 2002 in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas, however, rejected the fight because of Tyson's licensing problems and several other states refused Tyson a license before Memphis finally bid $12 million to land it.
Lennox Lewis vs Vitali Klitschko
In May 2003, Lewis sued boxing promoter Don King for $385 million, claiming that King used threats and bribery to have Tyson pull out of a rematch with Lewis and a fight on the card of a Lewis title defence.
Lewis scheduled a fight with Kirk Johnson for June, but when Johnson suffered an injury in training, Lewis fought Vitali Klitschko, the WBC's #1 contender and former WBO champion. 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 256½ pounds. Lewis was dominated in the early rounds and was wobbled in round two by solid Klitschko punches. Lewis opened a cut above Klitschko's eye with a right cross in the third round and gave a better showing from the fourth round onwards, with both fighters looking tired. Before the start of round seven the doctor advised that the fight should be stopped because of a severe cut above Klitschko's left eye, awarding Lewis victory by TKO. Klitschko was leading 58–56 on all three judges' scorecards when the fight was stopped.
Interviewed about the fight by HBO, doctor Paul Wallace explained his decision, "When he raised his head up, his upper eyelid covered his field of vision. At that point I had no other option but to stop the fight. If he had to move his head to see me, there was no way he could defend his way against a punch."
Klitschko's face required sixty stitches.
Because Klitschko had fought so bravely against Lewis, boxing fans soon began calling for a rematch. The WBC agreed, and kept the Ukrainian as its No. 1 contender. Lewis initially was in favour of a rematch:
"I want the rematch, I enjoyed that fight. It was just a fight, We went at it. You have to play dollars and cents but I'm opting more for the rematch."
Negotiations for the rematch followed but Lewis changed his mind. Instead, Klitschko fought and defeated Kirk Johnson on December 6 in WBC Eliminator, setting up a mandatory rematch with Lewis. Lewis announced his retirement shortly thereafter and vacated the title. Lewis announced his retirement in February 2004 and decided to pursue other interests, including sports management and music promotion.
Lewis said he would not return to the ring. At his retirement, Lewis's 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 February 24 that he would return to fight Klitschko once again, Lewis quickly shot down those rumours on his personal website. In 2008 Lewis commented on a possible match up with Riddick Bowe. "He waits until I am in retirement to call out my name," said Lewis. "I will come out of retirement to beat up that guy. I'll beat him up for free."
Along with Gene Tunney and Rocky Marciano, Lewis is one of three World heavyweight champions to have retired with no unavenged defeats.
In 2008, Lewis was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. In 2009, in his first year of eligibility, Lewis was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.
Lewis worked as a boxing analyst for HBO on Boxing After Dark from 2006 until 2010.
In 2000, Lewis appeared on Reflection Eternal's debut album Train of Thought, giving a shout out on the track "Down for the Count."
In 2002, Lewis was reportedly offered £5m by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) chairman Vince McMahon to take up professional wrestling in his industry. His camp held discussions over a possible match with WWE superstar Brock Lesnar in February 2003, at the No Way Out pay-per-view event. Prior to the offer Lennox was familiar with wrestling; he was part of the famous match held in Wembley Stadium between The British Bulldog and Bret "The Hitman" Hart for the Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam in 1992, representing the Bulldog during his entrance while bearing an Union Flag.
In 2003, Lewis made a brief cameo appearance in the Jennifer Lopez and LL Cool J video "All I Have".
In 2006 he appeared in the movie Johnny Was with Vinnie Jones.
Lewis played in the World Series of Poker in both 2006 and 2007, and was knocked out without winning any money.
Lewis appeared on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice in 2008. He came in fourth place (out of 14).
Lewis has also done a public service announcement against domestic violence for Do Something.
In 2011 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.
Lewis is a supporter of his home town football club, West Ham United.
Lewis in January 2008
Upon retiring from boxing, Lewis moved to Miami Beach with his wife, Violet Chang, a former Miss Jamaica runner-up. They have four children. Lewis told AventuraUSA.com in 2007 that he is contemplating opening an "international boxing academy" and perhaps one day starting a record label, but he has yet to embark on either endeavour. Lewis supports the English football team West Ham United, the local team for the place of his birth. Lewis has a villa at the Tryall Club in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Lewis is an avid amateur chess player, and funded an after-school chess programme for disadvantaged youths, one of whom earned a university chess scholarship at Tennessee Tech.
* Razor Ruddock-avenged as a professional
* Aleksandr Miroshnichenko
* Ulli kaden-avenged in 1988 Olympics
* Tyrell Biggs-avenged as a professional
* Jorge Luis Gonzalez-avenged
* Petar Stoymenov
* 1983 Junior World Super Heavyweight Champion
* Represented Canada as a Super Heavyweight at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
* 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. Defeated Chris Odera (Kenya) TKO 2
* Defeated Ulli Kaden (East Germany) TKO 1
* Defeated Janusz Zarenkiewicz (Poland) forfeit
* Defeated Riddick Bowe (United States) TKO 2.
Oliver "The Atomic Bull" McCall (born 21 April 1965) is an American heavyweight known for his outstanding ability to take a punch and winning the World Boxing Council Heavyweight Championship 1994 as a result of knocking out Lennox Lewis in the second round, in Lewis' home town of London, England.
McCall had a strong amateur career prior to turning pro, twice a winner of the Chicago Golden Gloves.
Known as "The Atomic Bull", McCall turned pro in 1985 and slowly worked his way up the heavyweight ranks. He beat Jesse Ferguson and future heavyweight champion Bruce Seldon and lost a very close decision to Tony Tucker before landing the shot against Lewis in 1994. After a close first round McCall came out aggressive in the second and landed a big right hand as Lewis was coming forward, Lewis dropped to the canvas and got up before the count of ten, but he was unsteady on his feet, forcing the referee to wave a stop to the fight.
McCall's win over Lewis marked Don King's return to power in the heavyweight division, since none of his stable of fighters had been able to win the heavyweight title since Mike Tyson lost it in 1990. He successfully defended the title in a bout against 45 year old ex-champ Larry Holmes in Las Vegas winning 115-112 115-114 and 114-113 on the score cards, before returning to London to face Frank Bruno in 1995.
During a press conference before the fight McCall claimed he was going to get revenge for America after Gerald McClellan had been rendered brain damaged after a fight with Nigel Benn a few months earlier. He had claimed that he was going to hurt Bruno and that the only thing Bruno would be able to do was throw illegal rabbit punches.
The fight took place at the old Wembley stadium. Bruno started off well, working behind the jab and landing some big right hands. McCall seemed uninterested in fighting and lagged far behind on the score cards going into the latter rounds. By round 9 Bruno had built up a big lead on the score cards and looked comfortably in charge. McCall finally sparked into life in round 10 perhaps realizing that he was behind on the score cards. McCall landed several big punches over the final 3 rounds and had Bruno in trouble several times but Bruno managed to hold on and win the title by a unanimous decision.
McCall returned to the ring 6 months after losing his title. He beat future WBC heavyweight champion Oleg Maskaev in less than 3 minutes, and then a month later beat James Stanton in 6 rounds.
Lewis vs. McCall II
Lewis and McCall squared off again on February 7, 1997 in Las Vegas. In a bizarre fight, McCall refused to fight in the fourth and fifth rounds, beginning to cry and eventually forcing the referee to stop the fight and award Lewis the victory. The referee for the fight, Mills Lane, stated in an interview after the match, "In the third round, he got in close, and then seemed frustrated, and then he just backed off and put his arms down. . . . I thought he was playing possum but then I saw his lips started to quiver and I thought, 'My God, is he losing it? I wanted to fix the fight for him, but he started crying, so I had to stop the fight'.
In 2001 at the age of 36 he resurrected his career with a tenth round knockout of Henry Akinwande, at the time one of the most avoided contenders in the World, on a high profile Lennox Lewis undercard in Las Vegas. McCall was ranked number 4 in the World off this performance, but was arrested shortly afterwards and imprisoned for over a year, losing his ranking.
In December 2004 he lost a close points decision to fellow contender DaVarryl Williamson on a high profile Don King undercard from New York, and in 2005 he travelled to Germany for an eliminator to skillful and well regarded Cuban Juan Carlos Gomez, and was outpointed over ten rounds. However this loss was removed from McCall's record as Gomez later failed a drug test.
Although never knocked down as a professional boxer, McCall's career has been mottled by several stints in drug rehabilitation facilities and arrests for disorderly behaviour.
He has attempted numerous comebacks, though the efforts have repeatedly been frustrated by run-ins with the law.
In January, 2006 he was arrested by police in Nashville, Tennessee, who say they had to use a Taser on McCall after he tried running away from officers trying to arrest him for trespassing in a public housing development.
Police told reporters that McCall had in his possession a glass pipe and a five-dollar bill containing a small amount of cocaine. They say the 40-year-old McCall later spat at an officer and threatened to kill him.
He was held on $299,000 bond and charged with criminal trespass, resisting arrest, assaulting police officers, threatening to kill an officer, and being a fugitive from justice on charges in his home state of Virginia. He was released on 8 May 2006.
Aiming For Another Shot At The Title
Despite his legal troubles, Oliver's career has since continued. He began his next run at a title with a first round TKO of Kenny Craven in June 2006.
McCall defeated Darroll Wilson in a fourth-round TKO in Louisville, Kentucky, on September 9, 2006, for the WBC Fecarbox Championship.
On December 9, 2006, McCall defeated Yanqui Diaz via seventh-round KO in Hollywood, Florida.
On 16th of June 2007, McCall defeated Sinan Samil Sam for the WBC International Heavyweight Championship by unanimous decision in Ankara, Turkey. This guaranteed him a shot at the WBC Heavyweight Championship (currently held by Vitali Klitschko). However, McCall took a fight with slick Cuban fighter Juan Carlos Gomez, a fight which McCall lost. As a result, Gomez took his place as the WBC's next mandatory challenger.
The long inactive McCall defeated Australian John Hopoate by 2nd round T.K.O on the 22nd of May, 2009 for the vacant IBA Intercontinental heavyweight belt. McCall dominated the fight and knocked Hopoate down twice.
McCall was raised on the south side of Chicago, and is married with four daughters and three sons. He has two children currently in high school, one daughter: Jeneva McCall who is following her dad's footsteps in sport history, she is currently fifth best in the state of Illinois for discus throw and one son: Mikael McCall who is currently a freshman in high school and who is following his older sister's footsteps. One other son, Elijah McCall is currently a professional boxer as well.