Evander Holyfield vs. Seamus McDonagh

Evander Holyfield vs. Seamus McDonagh was a professional boxing match contested on June 1, 1990 for the WBC continental Americas heavyweight title.

Evander Holyfield vs. Seamus McDonagh
Holyfield vs McDonagh.jpg
DateJune 1, 1990
VenueConvention Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Title(s) on the lineWBC Continental Americas heavyweight title
Tale of the tape
Boxer Evander Holyfield Seamus McDonagh
Nickname "The Real Deal"
Hometown Atlanta Georgia, U.S. Enfield, County Meath, Ireland
Purse $1,250,000 $100,000
Pre-fight record 23–0 19–1–1
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm) 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 210 lb (95 kg) 211 lb (96 kg)
Style Orthodox Orthodox
Recognition WBC Continental Americas heavyweight champion
Former undisputed cruiserweight champion
Holyfield won by 4th round TKO


As 1989 came to an end, Evander Holyfield was the number-one ranked heavyweight contender after going 5–0 and winning each fight via stoppage. In January 1990, after over a year of speculation, Holyfield had finally secured a heavyweight title match against undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.[1] The fight was scheduled for June 18, but Tyson would first have to get past James "Buster" Douglas, whom he was to face in Tokyo on February 11. Holyfield would make the trip to Japan see his would-be opponent up close, but in a shocking upset Douglas would defeat Tyson by 10th-round knockout, effectively cancelling the planned Tyson–Holyfield bout.[2] Tyson and promoter Don King pushed for an immediate rematch,[3] but Douglas refused and instead chose to face Holyfield.[4] However, with the Douglas–Holyfield bout set for October 1990 and Holyfield having not fought since November 1989, it was announced that Holyfield would face Seamus McDonagh in what was to be a "tuneup" prior to facing Douglas.[5] McDonagh was 19–1–1 in 20 professional fights and at the time of his fight with Holyfield, was an English Literature major at St. John's University. Though he was a sizable underdog, McDonagh used Douglas' defeat of Tyson as inspiration that he too could pull off an upset, stating "What Buster Douglas did to Mike Tyson excites me and gives me confidence. I think I can do it here." whilst also claiming that he had "more power than Holyfield's last two opponents (Adílson Rodrigues and Alex Stewart) and I have speed."[6]

The fightEdit

As the fight round began, McDonagh charged toward Holyfield and backed him into a corner, causing Holyfield to respond by tackling McDonagh to the canvas. McDonagh would continue to be aggressive, but a sharp left uppercut sent McDonagh down. McDonagh was able to continue and threw a left hook that missed Holyfield, who again tackled McDonagh to the canvas. With 30 seconds left in round one, Holyfield countered a McDonagh left with a right that sent McDonagh down for a second official knockdown. With the three-knockdown rule in effect, Holyfield would attack an exhausted McDonagh with 15 seconds remaining, though McDonagh was able to survive after clinching Holyfield within the rounds final five seconds. Holyfield would continue to wear down McDonagh in rounds two and three before ending the fight 44 second into round four. The end came as the two fighters were exchanging punches before Holyfield landed a left hook that sent McDonagh down through the ropes. McDonagh would get back up at the referee's count of nine, but as he was clearly hurt, Joe Cortez stopped the fight, giving Holyfield the TKO victory.[7]


  1. ^ Tyson Agrees to Fight Holyfield, UPI article, 1990-01-10 Retrieved on 2020-03-27
  2. ^ Tyson Loses World Title in a Stunning Upset, NY Times article, 1990-02-11 Retrieved on 2020-03-27
  3. ^ Tyson Concedes; Wants Rematch, N.Y. Times article, 1990-02-14, Retrieved on 2020-03-28
  4. ^ Douglas Shuns Tyson For Holyfield, N.Y. Times article, 1990-02-19, Retrieved on 2020-03-28
  5. ^ Holyfield Back in Ring, N.Y. Times article, 1990-04-27, Retrieved on 2020-03-28
  6. ^ McDonagh Likes Underdog Role Against Holyfield, L.A. Times article, 1990-06-01, Retrieved on 2020-03-29
  7. ^ Holyfield Knocks Out McDonagh, NY Times article, 1990-06-02 Retrieved on 2020-03-29