Tony "TNT" Tucker former IBF heavyweight World champion who also went 12 rounds with Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis SIGNED & INSCRIBED "TNT" Stars and Stripes glove.
Mike Tyson vs Tony Tucker - 1/8/1987
Tony Craig Tucker (born December 27, 1958) former heavyweight boxer. Tucker fought professionally from 1980 to 1998. Nicknamed "TNT," he won a gold medal at the 1979 Pan American Games, and was briefly a World heavyweight champion.
Tucker had a notable amateur career, winning the 1979 National AAU Light Heavyweight Championship. He also won the 1979 Pan-Ams and World Cup at Light Heavyweight. He also lost a decision to LeRoy Murphy in the finals of the 1977 Ohio State Fair tournament, and was upset at the Western Olympic trials in 1980 by Alex DeLucia.
After turning pro in 1980, Tucker's early fights were often shown on NBC, as part of a collection known as Tomorrow's Champions.
Tucker's progress in the professional ranks was slow. He was injury prone, and he changed managers and trainers several times. Eventually his father Bob Tucker performed both roles.
After enjoying a high profile upon his professional debut, Tucker spent the majority of the 80s boxing in off-TV bouts. In addition, he injured his knee in a bout against Danny Sutton, which caused him to miss a little over a year.
In June 1984, he scored a win by knocking out Eddie "The Animal" Lopez in 9 rounds on the undercard of the Tommy Hearns-Roberto Duran fight. It was the first time Lopez had ever been knocked down. In September 1984 he followed it up by outpointing Jimmy Young.
In September 1986, Tucker finally landed a big fight, against 242 lb James "Broad-Axe" Broad, for the USBA belt and a World title eliminator. Tucker won by unanimous decision.
Reigning IBF champion (and generally recognized World champion) Michael Spinks elected not to fight Tucker, in favour of a big money fight with Gerry Cooney. He was stripped of his belt, and in April 1987 Tucker stopped Buster Douglas in 10 rounds for the vacant title. (Douglas would later knockout Mike Tyson).
As part of HBO's unification series, Tucker was obliged to face WBC and WBA heavyweight champion Mike Tyson immediately in the tournament final. In August 1987, 64 days after winning his title, Tucker was outpointed by Tyson and lost his belt. Tucker had fractured his right hand in four places during training prior to the fight, and fought Tyson without being able to use his right hand much. He said later that he had been told "if I pulled out [of the fight] I'd be blackballed forever".
Tucker earned the distinction of claiming the shortest reign of any heavyweight champion in history - 2 months and 2 days.
Meanwhile, Tyson was getting bigger and bigger on the World stage and with his win over Tucker, became the first heavyweight to hold all three recognized World title belts; WBC, WBA, and IBF.
Tucker returned to boxing in 1990, and by 1992 was back in Don King's stable. He won the NABF belt with a split decision over the highly ranked Orlin Norris, and successfully defended it against future World champion Oliver McCall, winning another 12 round decision. He finished 1992 with an 6th round TKO of Frankie Swindell and set himself up for another World title shot.
By 1993 Tucker had run his record up to 49-1 and in May of that year he challenged Lennox Lewis for the WBC World heavyweight title. Lewis won a 12 round unamious decision, knocking down Tucker twice. It was the first time in 34 year old Tucker's career he had been off his feet.
In 1995 George Foreman refused to defend his WBA World heavyweight title against Tucker, choosing to fight German Axel Schulz. Tucker and Bruce Seldon fought for the vacant WBA belt in April 1995. Seldon won by TKO after 7 rounds when doctors stopped the fight due to Tucker's eye closing shut.
Tucker lost his shot at a rematch when later that year he was outpointed by newly signed Don King heavyweight, British/Nigerian boxer Henry Akinwande over ten rounds.
In 1996 he was outpointed by old rival Orlin Norris. He scored two low-key wins in California, and in 1997 travelled to the U.K. to challenge Herbie Hide for the vacant WBO title. Tucker was dropped three times and knocked out in round 2.
In 1998 Tucker challenged John Ruiz for his NABF belt. Despite a big 6th round where he had Ruiz in trouble, Tucker was eventually stopped in the 11th.
He came back in May to knock out journeyman Billy Wright in 1 round, but later had his licence revoked due to medical concerns about Tucker's vision.