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Robert Wayne "Bob" Foster (December 15, 1938 – November 21, 2015) was an 20th century American professional boxer who fought as a light heavyweight and heavyweight. Known as "The Deputy Sheriff", Foster was one of the greatest light heavyweight champions in boxing history. He won the world light heavyweight title from Dick Tiger in 1968 via fourth-round knockout, and went on to defend his crown fourteen times in total from 1968 to 1974. Foster challenged Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali during his career, but was knocked out by both (the fight with Ali was not for a world heavyweight title, but for the regional NABF version).

Bob Foster
Bob Foster 1972.jpg
Foster c. 1972
Statistics
Real nameRobert Wayne Foster[1]
Nickname(s)The Deputy Sheriff
Weight(s)Heavyweight
Light heavyweight
Height6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Reach79 in (201 cm)
NationalityAmerican
Born(1938-12-15)December 15, 1938
Borger, Texas, U.S.
DiedNovember 21, 2015(2015-11-21) (aged 76)
Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights65
Wins56
Wins by KO46
Losses8
Draws1

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Foster was born at Borger, Texas on 15 December 1938.[Note 1] In his childhood years his family moved to Albuquerque in New Mexico, and he received his formal education at Albuquerque High School. On leaving school he enlisted with the United States Air Force, in which he served with the rank of Airman Second Class.[2] He began boxing on the Golden Gloves amateur circuit, and also took part in competitive inter-service matches for the U.S. Air Force.[3]

Boxing careerEdit

Foster started his professional career on the night of March 27, 1961, against Duke Williams, in Washington, D.C., winning by knockout in two rounds. The first 12 bouts of his career were spent campaigning in the United States' Eastern coast and in Canada. In his tenth bout, he made his first of multiple forays into the heavyweight division, and suffered his first loss, at the hands of Doug Jones, by a knockout in the eighth round.

After two more wins, he went in 1963 to Peru, where he lost to South American champion Mauro Mina by a decision in ten rounds at Lima.

Three more fights back in the States resulted in quick knockout wins for him, and then, in 1964, he made his second attempt at entering the heavyweight rankings, being knocked out in the seventh by future world Heavyweight champion Ernie Terrell. He finished the year by posting three more knockout wins at Light Heavyweight, two of them in the month of November. The night of November 11 was Foster's first fight of note as a light-heavyweight. One month after knocking out Don Quinn in the first round, he stepped up in the ring again and faced former world title challenger Henry Hank. He beat Hank by a knockout in the tenth.

In 1965, he had five fights, winning four and losing one. He beat Hank again, by decision in 12 rounds, and lost to Zora Folley, by a decision in ten rounds, in another attempt at joining the heavyweight top ten.

In 1966 he defeated Leroy Green in two rounds.

By 1967, Foster, although his attempts to become a top heavyweight were being frustrated, was a ranked light heavyweight. He decided to stick to the light-heavyweight division for the time being, and he won all seven of his fights, six by knockout. Among the fighters he beat were Eddie Cotton, Eddie Vick, and Sonny Moore. After defeating Moore, Foster was the world's number one ranked light heavyweight challenger.

World light-heavyweight championEdit

In 1968, Foster got his first shot at a world title. At Madison Square Garden in New York, on the night of March 24, Foster became world champion by knocking out Dick Tiger in four rounds. Tiger had been a two-time world middleweight champion and was defending his world light heavyweight crown that night. Foster then decided to box at heavyweight once again, and beat future George Foreman victim Charlie Polite by a knockout in three. He ended that year defeating Vick again, and his future world title challenger Roger Rouse, both by a knockout.

In 1969, he began by rising off the canvas to knock out Frank DePaula in the same first round and retain his belt. It is believed that was the first time ever a boxer won a world title fight in the first round after being floored in that same round. It is also believed that that fight is one of only three times that's happened... the second time being in 1984, when Juan Meza rose off a knockdown to dethrone world Jr. Featherweight champion Jaime Garza in the same first round too. It also happened in the 21st century, when Kendall Holt was dropped twice, only to knockout Ricardo Torres in round 1, for the WBO 140 lb title.

Foster's next fight in 1969 was against Andy Kendall, whom he beat in four rounds by knockout, to once again retain the crown. He closed the 1960s with two more knockout wins.

Frazier vs FosterEdit

In 1970, Foster made two more trips to the heavyweights. In the first, he beat fringe contender Lee Wallace in six rounds by knockout. This was followed by a return to the light-heavyweight division to defend his title against Rouse. Infuriated by some comments that Rouse's manager had made before the bout concerning the fact that even though Foster knocked out Rouse in their first bout he was not able to drop him, Foster dropped Rouse five times en route to a fourth-round knockout victory. A knockout in 10 to retain the title against Mark Tessman followed, and then he was given the chance to challenge for the world heavyweight title. Facing world champion Joe Frazier on the night of November 18 in Detroit, he was knocked out in two rounds.

After defeating Hal Carroll by a knockout in four rounds to defend his crown, the WBA stripped him of the title, but he remained as world champion on the WBC. Foster became enraged at the WBA, which proceeded to have Vicente Rondon of Venezuela and Jimmy Dupree fight for the world title. Rondon won, becoming the second Latin American world light-heavyweight champion (after José Torres), and Foster set his eyes on him. Foster went on defending his WBC title, and he defeated challengers Ray Anderson, Tommy Hicks, and Brian Kelly. Of those three, it was Anderson who was the only one to last the 15 round distance with Foster.

Ali vs FosterEdit

Foster and Rondon met in Miami on April 7, 1972, in a unification bout. Foster became the undisputed world champion once again, by knocking Rondon out in the second round. In his next fight, he used what many critics have called one of the best punches in history to retain his title by a knockout in four against Mike Quarry. Foster then went up in weight and faced former and future world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, in what was legendary referee Mills Lane's first bout of note as a referee. Foster lost to Ali by a knockout in the eighth, after being knocked down 7 times.

In 1973, Foster retained his title twice against Pierre Fourie, both by decision. Their second fight had a distinct social impact because it was fought in Apartheid-ruled South Africa, Foster being Black and Fourie being White. Foster became a hero to South African Blacks by beating Fourie the first time around, and in their rematch, the first boxing fight in South Africa after Apartheid featuring a White versus a Black, he cemented that position by defeating Fourie on points again. However, as Mark Mathabane noted in his autobiography Kaffir Boy, South Africa's black population also felt betrayed by Foster since he didn't address Apartheid during his time in South Africa.

His last defense as world light-heavyweight champion came in 1974, when he was dropped by Argentinian Jorge Ahumada, but managed to keep the title with a draw. After that, he announced his retirement, leaving the world's light-heavyweight championship vacant.[4]

Foster returned to the boxing in 1975, winning a series of 10 round contests, before retiring from the sport permanently in 1978 at the age of 40.

Post boxing lifeEdit

In the mid-1970's Foster became a police officer with the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department, later becoming a detective and a well known policeman in Albuquerque, New Mexico.[5]

DeathEdit

Foster died at the age of 75 on November 21, 2015 in a hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico.[5] His body was buried at Fairview Memorial Park cemetery in Albuquerque.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

He married four times and became a widower in 1984.

TributesEdit

He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame at Canastota, New York, in 1990.

Foster had a record of 56 wins, 8 losses and 1 draw, with 46 wins coming by knockout. He was named to Ring Magazine's list of 100 Greatest Punchers. He was also named to Ring Magazine's list of the 80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years, ranking at #55.

Professional boxing recordEdit

56 Wins (46 KOs), 8 Losses (6 KOs), 1 Draw[7]
Res. Record Opponent Type Round,
Time
Date Location Notes
Loss 56–8–1   Bob Hazelton TKO 2 (?),
?
1978-06-02   Century II Convention Hall, Wichita, Kansas
Loss 56–7–1   Mustafa Wassaja RTD 5 (8),
-
1978-02-09   K.B. Hallen, Copenhagen
Win 56–6–1   Bob Hazelton KO 10 (10),
0:22
1977-09-02   Willemstad, Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles
Win 55–6–1   Al Bolden KO 6 (10),
?
1976-09-25   Spokane Coliseum, Spokane, Washington
Win 54–6–1   Harold Carter UD 10 1976-08-28   Eagles Aerie, Missoula, Montana
Win 53–6–1   Al Bolden KO 3 (10),
?
1976-05-08   Adams Field House, Missoula, Montana
Win 52–6–1   Bill Hardney KO 3 (10),
1:26
1975-06-28   Sweeney Gym, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Draw 51–6–1   Jorge Ahumada SD 15 1974-06-17   University Arena, Albuquerque, New Mexico Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles
Win 51–6   Pierre Fourie UD 15 1973-12-01   Rand Stadium, Johannesburg, Transvaal Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles
Win 50–6   Pierre Fourie UD 15 1973-08-21   University Arena, Albuquerque, New Mexico Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles
Loss 49–6   Muhammad Ali KO 8 (12),
0:40
1972-11-21   Sahara Tahoe Hotel, Stateline, Nevada For NABF heavyweight title.
Win 49–5   Chris Finnegan KO 14 (15),
0:55
1972-09-26   Empire Pool, Wembley, London Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles
The Ring Fight of the Year 1972.
Win 48–5   Mike Quarry KO 4 (15),
?
1972-06-27   Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles
Win 47–5   Vicente Rondón KO 2 (15),
2:55
1972-04-07   Miami Beach Convention Hall, Miami Beach, Florida Retained WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles
Won WBA light heavyweight title
Win 46–5   Brian Kelly TKO 3 (15),
1:56
1971-12-16   Fairgrounds Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Retained WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles
Win 45–5   Tommy Hicks TKO 8 (15),
?
1971-10-30   Catholic Youth Center, Scranton, Pennsylvania Retained WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles
Win 44–5   Vernon McIntosh TKO 3 (10),
0:37
1971-08-17   Miami Beach, Florida
Win 43–5   Ray Anderson UD 15 1971-04-24   Curtis Hixon Hall, Tampa, Florida Retained WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles
Win 42–5   Hal Carroll TKO 4 (15),
2:32
1971-03-02   Catholic Youth Center, Scranton, Pennsylvania Retained WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles
Loss 41–5   Joe Frazier KO 2 (15),
0:49
1970-11-18   Cobo Arena, Detroit, Michigan For WBA, WBC, and lineal heavyweight titles
Win 41–4   Mark Tessman TKO 10 (15),
?
1970-06-27   Baltimore Civic Center, Baltimore, Maryland Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles
Win 40–4   Roger Rouse TKO 4 (15),
?
1970-04-04   Harry Adams Field House, Missoula, Montana Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles
Win 39–4   Roy Wallace KO 6 (10),
?
1970-03-09   Fort Homer W. Hesterly Armory, Tampa, Florida
Win 38–4   Bill Hardney TKO 4 (10),
?
1970-02-24   Orlando Sports Stadium, Orlando, Florida
Win 37–4   Chuck Leslie TKO 5 (10),
2:58
1969-11-02   New Orleans Municipal Auditorium, New Orleans, Louisiana
Win 36–4   Levan Roundtree TKO 4 (10),
2:10
1969-06-19   Atlanta Municipal Auditorium, Atlanta, Georgia
Win 35–4   Andy Kendall TKO 4 (15),
1:15
1969-05-24   Eastern States Coliseum, West Springfield, Massachusetts Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles
Win 34–4   Frank DePaula TKO 1 (15),
2:17
1969-01-22   Madison Square Garden, New York, New York Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles
Win 33–4   Roger Rouse TKO 5 (10),
2:34
1968-09-09   Washington Coliseum, Washington, D.C.
Win 32–4   Eddie Vick TKO 9 (10),
?
1968-08-26   Tingley Coliseum, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Win 31–4   Charley Polite TKO 3 (10),
?
1968-07-29   Eastern States Coliseum, West Springfield, Massachusetts
Win 30–4   Dick Tiger KO 4 (15),
2:05
1968-05-24   Madison Square Garden, New York, New York Won WBA, WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles
Win 29–4   Sonny Moore KO 5 (10),
?
1967-12-05   Washington Coliseum, Washington, D.C.
Win 28–4   Eddie Vick UD 10 1967-11-20   Providence Coliseum, Providence, Rhode Island
Win 27–4   Levan Roundtree KO 8 (10),
1:35
1967-10-25   Washington, D.C.
Win 26–4   Henry Matthews TKO 2 (10),
?
1967-06-09   Starland Arena, Roanoke, Virginia
Win 25–4   Eddie Cotton KO 3 (12),
1:58
1967-05-08   Washington Coliseum, Washington, D.C.
Win 24–4   Andres Antonio Selpa KO 2 (10),
2:30
1967-02-27   Washington Coliseum, Washington, D.C.
Win 23–4   Jim Robinson KO 1 (10),
?
1967-01-16   Washington Coliseum, Washington, D.C.
Win 22–4   LeRoy Green KO 2 (?),
?
1966-12-06   Norfolk Arena, Norfolk, Virginia
Loss 21–4   Zora Folley UD 10 1965-12-06   Municipal Auditorium, New Orleans, Louisiana
Win 21–3   Henry Hank UD 12 1965-07-26   Municipal Auditorium, New Orleans, Louisiana
Win 20–3   Chuck Leslie TKO 3 (10),
2:58
1965-05-24   Municipal Auditorium, New Orleans, Louisiana
Win 19–3   Dave Russell TKO 6 (10),
1:30
1965-03-21   Norfolk Arena, Norfolk, Virginia
Win 18–3   Bobby Rascon KO 2 (10),
?
1965-02-15   Albuquerque Civic Auditorium, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Win 17–3   Henry Hank TKO 9 (10),
?
1964-12-11   Municipal Auditorium, Norfolk, Virginia
Win 16–3   Norman Letcher TKO 1 (10),
0:43
1964-11-23   Kezar Pavilion, San Francisco, California
Win 15–3   Don Quinn KO 1 (10),
1:07
1964-11-11   Norfolk, Virginia
Loss 14–3   Ernie Terrell TKO 7 (10),
0:58
1964-07-10   Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
Win 14–2   Allen Thomas TKO 1 (10),
1:26
1964-05-08   Chicago Coliseum, Chicago, Illinois
Win 13–2   Dave Bailey KO 1 (6),
?
1964-02-25   Miami Beach Convention Hall, Miami Beach, Florida
Win 12–2   Willi Besmanoff KO 3 (10),
?
1963-12-11   Norfolk, Virginia
Loss 11–2   Mauro Mina UD 10 1963-11-07   Estadio Nacional, Lima
Win 11–1   Curtis Bruce KO 4 (?),
?
1963-04-29   Capitol Arena, Washington, D.C.
Win 10–1   Richard Benjamin KO 1 (8),
?
1963-02-18   Capitol Arena, Washington, D.C.
Loss 9–1   Doug Jones TKO 8 (10),
0:23
1962-10-20   Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
Win 9–0   Bert Whitehurst SD 8 1962-06-27   Sunnyside Garden Arena, Sunnyside, Queens, New York City, New York
Win 8–0   Billy Tisdale TKO 2 (6),
?
1962-05-19   St. Nicholas Arena, New York, New York
Win 7–0   Clarence Floyd KO 4 (6),
2:56
1961-12-04   Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario
Win 6–0   Ernie Knox TKO 3 (6),
?
1961-11-21   Norfolk, Virginia
Win 5–0   Floyd McCoy PTS 6 1961-08-08   Delormier Stadium, Montreal, Quebec
Win 4–0   Ray Bryan TKO 2 (6),
?
1961-06-22   Forum, Montreal, Quebec
Win 3–0   Billy Johnson PTS 4 1961-05-08   St. Nicholas Arena, New York, New York
Win 2–0   Clarence Ryan PTS 4 1961-04-03   St. Nicholas Arena, New York, New York
Win 1–0   Duke Williams KO 2 (4),
?
1961-03-27   Capitol Arena, Washington, District of Columbia Professional debut.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ The headstone on Foster's grave gives his year of birth as 1937.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Entry for Foster in the 'Encyclopedia Britannica' https://www.britannica.com/biography/Bob-Foster
  2. ^ Obituary for Bob Foster, 'Daily Telegraph', 4 December 2015.
  3. ^ Entry for Foster in the 'Encyclopedia Britannica' https://www.britannica.com/biography/Bob-Foster
  4. ^ "Foster Keeps Title on Draw". St. Petersburg Times. 1974-06-18. Archived from the original on 2012-07-21. Retrieved 2010-01-13.
  5. ^ a b Goldsmith, Alex (2015-11-21) Champion boxer, BCSO deputy Bob Foster dead at 77. krqe.com
  6. ^ Entry for Bob Foster's grave in Findagrave website (2019). https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/155272027/bob-foster
  7. ^ Bob Foster's Professional Boxing Record. BoxRec.com. Retrieved on 2011-12-27.

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Dick Tiger
Lineal Light Heavyweight Champion
May 24, 1968 – September 16, 1974
Retired
Vacant
Title next held by
Michael Spinks
WBA Light Heavyweight Champion
May 24, 1968 – December 9, 1970
Stripped
Vacant
Title next held by
Vicente Rondon
WBC Light Heavyweight Champion
May 24, 1968 – September 16, 1974
Retired
Vacant
Title next held by
John Conteh
Preceded by
Vicente Rondon
WBA Light Heavyweight Champion
April 7, 1972 – September 16, 1974
Retired
Vacant
Title next held by
Victor Galindez