Lennox Claudius Lewis CM CBE (born 2 September 1965) is a boxing commentator and former professional boxer who competed from 1989 to 2003. He is a three-time world heavyweight champion, a two-time lineal champion, and the last heavyweight to hold the undisputed championship. Holding dual British and Canadian citizenship,[2] Lewis represented Canada as an amateur at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics; in the latter, he won a gold medal in the super-heavyweight division.

Lennox Lewis
Lewis in 2010
Real nameLennox Claudius Lewis
Nickname(s)The Lion
Height6 ft 5 in (196 cm)[1]
Reach84 in (213 cm)[1]
  • British
  • Canadian
Born (1965-09-02) 2 September 1965 (age 58)
West Ham, London, England
Boxing record
Total fights44
Wins by KO32
Medal record
Men's amateur boxing
Representing  Canada
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1988 Seoul Super-heavyweight
Commonwealth Games
Gold medal – first place 1986 Edinburgh Super-heavyweight
Pan American Games
Silver medal – second place 1987 Indianapolis Super-heavyweight
North American Championships
Gold medal – first place 1985 Beaumont Super-heavyweight
Gold medal – first place 1987 Toronto Super-heavyweight
World Cup
Silver medal – second place 1985 Seoul Super-heavyweight
Junior World Championships
Gold medal – first place 1983 Santo Domingo Super-heavyweight

In his first three years as a professional, Lewis won several regional heavyweight championships, including the European, British, and Commonwealth titles. After winning his first 21 fights, he defeated Donovan Ruddock in 1992 to take over the number one position in the WBC rankings. He was declared WBC heavyweight champion later that year after Riddick Bowe gave up the title to avoid defending it against Lewis. He defended the title three times before an upset knockout loss to Oliver McCall in 1994. Lewis avenged the loss in a 1997 rematch to win back the vacant WBC title.

Two fights against Evander Holyfield in 1999 (the first ending in a controversial draw) saw Lewis become undisputed heavyweight champion by unifying his WBC title with Holyfield's WBA and IBF titles, as well as the vacant IBO title. In 2000, the WBA stripped Lewis of his title when he chose to face Michael Grant instead of mandatory challenger John Ruiz. Similarly, the IBF stripped Lewis of their title in 2002 when he chose not to face their mandatory challenger Chris Byrd.

Lewis was knocked out by Hasim Rahman in an upset in 2001, but this defeat was avenged later in the year. In 2002, Lewis defeated Mike Tyson in one of the most highly anticipated fights in boxing history. Prior to the event, Lewis was awarded the Ring magazine heavyweight title, which had been discontinued in the late 1980s. In what would be his final fight, Lewis defeated Vitali Klitschko in a brutal and bloody encounter in 2003. He vacated his remaining titles and retired from boxing in 2004.

Lewis often refers to himself as "the pugilist specialist". He is 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) tall, with an 84 in (213 cm) reach, and weighed about 245 lb (111 kg) during his boxing prime. He is regarded by many as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time, and one of the greatest British fighters of all time.[3][4]

Early life Edit

Lewis was born on 2 September 1965 in West Ham, London, to Jamaican parents and according to his mother, he would often fight with other children growing up.[5] At birth he weighed 4.8 kg (10 lb 10 oz), and was given the name Lennox by the doctor, who said "he looked like a Lennox."[6] Lewis moved to Kitchener, Ontario, Canada with his mother 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.[7] In the 1982–83 school year, he helped the school's AAA basketball team win the Ontario provincial championship.[8][9]

Amateur career Edit

Lewis eventually decided that his favourite sport was boxing. He took up boxing circa 1978.[10] He became a dominant amateur boxer and won the gold medal at the Junior World Championships in 1983.[11] At age 18, Lewis represented Canada in the super-heavyweight division at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. By that time he was ranked #6 in the world by the AIBA.[12] He advanced to the quarter-finals, where he lost by decision to Tyrell Biggs of the US, who went on to win the gold medal. Despite being 6'5" tall, and having a very strong punch, his coaches admitted they had to pressure him to convert size and raw talent into aggression.[13] His amateur boxing coaches were Arnie Boehm and Adrian Teodorescu, who guided Lewis to the Olympic title in 1988.[14][15]

"I think in the first fight I was just trying to knock him out, trying to prove my stuff because a lot of people thought the Cubans were unbeatable. I didn't think so at all. I just wanted to go out there and prove it by knocking him out. I guess that was a bit too much. I should have stuck to my natural talent and boxed."

—Lennox Lewis on his two fights versus Jorge Luis González in August 1987[16]

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 the 1986 World Championships, he lost in the preliminary round to Petar Stoimenov of Bulgaria.[17] Later that year, Lewis won gold at the Commonwealth Games. He had a close fight against Cuban Jorge Luis González at the 1987 Pan American Games super-heavyweight finals: the American judge scored the bout in favour of Lewis 60–57, while the judges from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Uruguay scored the bout 59–58 for González.[18] He avenged the loss shortly thereafter, boxing for the North American amateur title eight days later.[16]

After winning several more amateur titles in the following years, he travelled to Seoul, South Korea, for the 1988 Summer Olympics and achieved his goal. In the gold medal final, Lewis defeated Riddick Bowe with a second-round referee stopped contest (RSC). Lewis became the first super-heavyweight gold medallist to become world heavyweight champion as a professional. In the Games' closing ceremony, Lewis was Canada's flag bearer.[19] Lewis became the first Canadian to win boxing gold in 56 years.[20]

Lewis, upon turning professional, had registered an amateur record of 85–9.[21] HBO Boxing credited him with a shorter amateur record of 75 wins (58 by knockout) and 7 losses.[22] Of all losses on the record, Valeriy Abadzhyan of the Soviet Union was the only opponent to stop Lewis in amateurs, in October 1986.[23]

After winning the Olympic gold, Lewis was approached immediately by big-time American boxing promoters, including Bob Arum. However, he was not overly impressed by their contract offers and thought about signing a professional contract with a Toronto-based promotion group. "I feel like a basketball player being scouted by scouts down in the States. I don't want anyone controlling me. These (offers) coming to me after the Olympics are mainly because I won the gold."[24]

Professional career Edit

Early career Edit

Having achieved his goal, Lewis declared himself a professional and moved back to his native England. He claimed he had always considered himself British,[25][26][27] but one article reported that many British fans regarded him as "a Canadian at heart and a Briton for convenience."[28] In 2015 Lewis explained "When I turned pro, I had to go to the United Kingdom in order to pursue my career. The infrastructure to develop boxers wasn't in Canada then."[29]

Lewis signed with boxing promoter Frank Maloney and his early professional career was filled with knockouts of journeymen, as well as fighters such as Osvaldo Ocasio. After he signed with American promoter Main Events,[citation needed] 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, and during this period he also defeated former WBA heavyweight champion Mike Weaver, 1984 Olympic Gold medalist Tyrell Biggs, former world cruiserweight title holders Glenn McCrory and trial horses Levi Billups and Mike Dixon.

WBC heavyweight champion Edit

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's 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 mandatory challenger for Riddick Bowe's heavyweight championship. Bowe held a press conference during which he threw his WBC title belt in a rubbish bin, relinquishing it to avoid a mandatory defence against Lewis.[30] 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 Frank Bruno and Phil Jackson by knockout. 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.[31]

Lewis vs. McCall Edit

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 cross, putting Lewis on his back. Lewis returned to 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.[32] In spite of the Lewis camp protests, Boxing Monthly editor Glynn Leach pointed out that Lewis "only seemed to recover his senses once the fight was waved off", and that "in the opinions of everyone I spoke to at ringside, the decision was correct."

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's 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's technical flaws, which included maintaining a more balanced stance, less reliance on his cross, and a focus on using a strong, authoritative jab; the latter of which would become a hallmark of Lewis's style throughout the rest of his career. Their partnership lasted until Lewis's retirement.[33]

Regaining the WBC title Edit

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,[citation needed] the WBC bypassed him and gave Mike Tyson the first chance at the title recently 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, winning the minor IBC title. This was followed by a close majority decision win over Olympic gold medallist and former WBO champion Ray Mercer in May 1996. Lewis successfully sued to force Tyson to make a mandatory defence of the WBC title against him. Lewis was offered a $13.5 million guarantee to fight Tyson to settle the lawsuit, but turned it down. This would have been Lewis's highest fight purse to date. Lewis accepted $4 million from Don King to step aside and allow Tyson to fight Bruce Seldon instead, with a guarantee that if Tyson defeated Seldon, he would fight Lewis next.[34] After winning the WBA title from Seldon, Tyson relinquished the WBC title to fight Evander Holyfield instead. 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.

In one of the strangest fights in boxing history, McCall, who had 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 recrowned WBC champion, Lewis successfully defended the title in 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, who had recently outpointed George Foreman in a controversial fight to win the lineal title in five rounds, 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.[35]

Lewis–Holyfield rivalry Edit

Lewis vs. Holyfield Edit

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.[36] Judge Eugenia Williams, who scored the fight in Holyfield's favour, said she saw Lewis land fewer punches than Holyfield.[37]

Lewis vs. Holyfield II Edit

The sanctioning bodies ordered a rematch.[38] 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 six to nine. The punch stats however still clearly favoured Lewis, who landed 195 punches to Holyfield's 137, although 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 the three judges scored the fight unanimously (115–113, 116–112 & 117–111) 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.[39]

Lewis's thoughts on both Holyfield fights Edit

Lewis did not view either bout with Evander Holyfield as among his most difficult, but conceded Holyfield tested his limits more than any other boxer.

"People seem to be genuinely surprised when I tell them Holyfield was my toughest opponent, not to be confused with my toughest fight, which was Ray Mercer, but when you really dive into why that is, it actually makes a lot of sense."[40]

Reign as undisputed heavyweight champion Edit

After Lewis defeated Holyfield the WBA ordered Lewis to defend the title against John Ruiz of Chelsea, Massachusetts, who was then an obscure Don King fighter who had been made the WBA's number one-ranked contender. The WBA gave permission for Lewis to fight his WBC mandatory Michael Grant first if he would fight Ruiz next, to which Lewis agreed. Opposed to this, King 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.[citation needed]

Lewis proceeded to fight the 203 cm (6 foot 7 inch) American Michael Grant, whom he considered the best contender available. He successfully defended his WBC, IBO and 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.

Lewis vs. Rahman Edit

On 21 April 2001, Lewis was knocked out by 20-to-1 underdog Hasim Rahman in a bout at Carnival City Casino[41] in South Africa. The main event actually took place on Sunday 22 April 2001 at 05:00 local time[42] in order to accommodate HBOs significant United States-based audience at a reasonable hour on the Saturday night. Before the bout, Lewis had a role in the film Ocean's Eleven in which he "boxed" against Wladimir Klitschko.

Lewis vs. Rahman II Edit

Lewis immediately sought a rematch with the new champion; Rahman, however, 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[43] 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.

Unbeaten streak Edit

Lewis vs. Tyson Edit

On 8 June 2002, Lewis defended his title against Mike Tyson. Ticket sales were slow because they were priced as high as US$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 announcing 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 licence before Memphis finally bid US$12 million to land it.

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 cross. 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."[44] This was the highest-grossing event in pay-per-view history, generating US$106.9 million from 1.95 million buys in the US, until it was surpassed by De La Hoya-Mayweather in 2007.[45] Both fighters were guaranteed US$17.5 million.

Lewis vs. Klitschko Edit

Lewis was forced to vacate the IBF title in 2002 after refusing to face mandatory challenger Chris Byrd. In May 2003, Lewis sued boxing promoter Don King for US$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 No. 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 21 June. Lewis entered the ring at a career high 116 kg (25612 pounds).[46] 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. Lewis was guaranteed US$7 million and Klitschko US$1.4 million. The gate was US$2,523,384 from an attendance of 15,939 at the Staples Center in California. The fight aired live on HBO's World Championship Boxing with approximately 7 million viewers.[47]

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.[48][49][50]

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.[51]

Negotiations for the rematch followed but Lewis changed his mind.[52] Instead, Klitschko fought and defeated Kirk Johnson on 6 December in WBC Eliminator, setting up a mandatory rematch with Lewis. Lewis announced his retirement shortly thereafter in February 2004, to pursue other interests, including sports management and music promotion, and vacated the title. Lewis said he would not return to the ring. At his retirement, Lewis's record was 41 wins, two losses and one draw, with 32 wins by knockout.

Retirement Edit

In 2008 when asked about a potential bout after being antagonised by Riddick Bowe, Lewis quipped

"He waits until I am in retirement to call out my name, I will come out of retirement to beat up that guy. I'll beat him up for free."[53]

In 2011, Bowe again confronted Lewis, this time over Twitter, demanding he "put [his] gold medal on and let's fight for that!!", where Lewis remarked "I thought we already did."

Lewis worked as a boxing analyst for HBO on Boxing After Dark from 2006 until 2010.

Boxing style Edit

Lewis was a classic upright boxer, who beat opponents from the outside with his dominant 84" reach. His jab, which was often a pawing shot early in his career, became a formidable weapon under the tutelage of Emmanuel Steward, which Lewis used to set up his signature punch, the straight right hand. Under Steward, Lewis became less reliant on his right hand and displayed a more complete skill-set. Criticised at times for being too patient and for his lack of in-fighting skills, Lewis was at his most effective when boxing from range. Known for his physical strength, Lewis was able to manoeuvre opponents into punching range and was especially effective against taller opponents. Lewis eventually developed into one of the most complete heavyweights in history: able to box at range or fight aggressively when necessary, as well as being considered one of the hardest punchers of all time.[citation needed]

Legacy and historical standing Edit

Lewis was the seventh Olympic gold medallist to become world heavyweight champion after Floyd Patterson, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Leon Spinks, and Michael Spinks. He holds the distinction of being the first professional heavyweight champion to win a gold medal in the super-heavyweight category, which was not created until the 1984 Summer Olympics. He is also the only boxer to represent Canada at the Summer Olympics and subsequently win a professional world title. Lewis was the first boxer to hold the British heavyweight title and subsequently win a world title. Although three fighters have since repeated this feat (Herbie Hide, Tyson Fury, and Anthony Joshua), only Lewis also won the Lonsdale belt outright.

While struggling to achieve popularity and respect earlier in his professional career, Lewis's standing has increased since his retirement in 2003, and he is now considered one of the greatest heavyweights of all time. Struggling to win the affection of the British public and facing indifference from an American audience, Lewis's body of work eventually established him as the dominant heavyweight of his time. He is the last undisputed heavyweight champion.

Lewis became one of only two boxers in history, and the first since Ken Norton in 1978, to have been awarded the heavyweight championship without actually winning a championship bout when the WBC awarded him their title in 1992. This was due to Riddick Bowe relinquishing the title after failing to agree to defend the title against Lewis, who had become the mandatory challenger by defeating Donovan Ruddock a few weeks earlier. In 2001, Lewis became the fourth boxer (after Muhammad Ali, Evander Holyfield and Michael Moorer) to have held the world heavyweight championship on three occasions.

Lewis defeated 15 boxers for the world heavyweight title, the fifth-most in history. His combined three reigns tally 3,086 days (8 years, 5 months and 13 days), which ranks as the fourth-longest cumulative time spent as world heavyweight champion. His total of fourteen successful defences ranks as the fifth-highest in heavyweight history. At four years, two months and fifteen days, Lewis has the twelfth-longest reign in heavyweight championship history. As of May 2023, BoxRec ranks Lennox as the fifth greatest European fighter of all time.[54]

In 2018, Boxing News ranked Lewis as the third-greatest heavyweight of all time, behind Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis. While acknowledging that he could occasionally be vulnerable, the magazine stated that at his best, Lewis was as unbeatable as any heavyweight in history. In 2017, Boxing News also ranked Lewis as the second best British fighter of all time, after Jimmy Wilde. In the same year, The Ring magazine ranked Lewis as both the greatest heavyweight of the last thirty years and the joint-eleventh greatest heavyweight of all time (alongside Evander Holyfield), describing him as "a giant who fought with finesse" who beat every available contender.[55] Thomas Hauser stated that the idea of Lewis having no chin was a myth, citing his rising from the powerful punch from Oliver McCall which floored Lewis for the first knockdown of his career, and suggesting that he was perhaps stopped prematurely. He also contended that the knockout punch from Hasim Rahman in their first fight would have knocked out anyone. In 2003, The Ring ranked Lewis 33rd in their list of greatest punchers of all time.

Along with Ingemar Johansson and Rocky Marciano, Lewis is one of three world heavyweight champions to have retired with victories over every opponent he faced as a professional. Unlike Johansson, who lost twice to Floyd Patterson after winning their first bout, Lewis is the only heavyweight to have avenged all his in-ring defeats. He is also, along with Gene Tunney, Marciano and Vitali Klitschko, one of four heavyweight champions to have ended his career as world champion, and with a world title fight victory in his final fight.

In 1999, he was named Fighter of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America, as well as BBC Sports Personality of the Year. In 2008, Lewis was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.[56] In 2009, in his first year of eligibility, Lewis was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.[57] He was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.[58]

Life outside boxing Edit

Lewis in 2008

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 2001, Lewis had a role in the film Ocean's Eleven in which he "boxed" against Wladimir Klitschko.

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 Brock Lesnar in February 2003, at the No Way Out pay-per-view event.[59] Prior to the offer Lewis was familiar with wrestling; he was part of the famous match held in the old 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 a Union Flag.

In 2002, Lewis played himself on an episode of The Jersey called "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad Jersey".[60]

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 made a public service announcement against domestic violence for Do Something.[61]

In 2011, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. He also has his own charitable foundation called the Lennox Lewis foundation which helps disadvantaged children in Canada, Jamaica, the United Kingdom, and the United States.[62]

Lewis is a supporter of his home town football club, West Ham United.[63]

On 24 May 2018, Lewis was part of an Oval Office ceremony to announce the pardon of boxer Jack Johnson.[64]

Personal life Edit

Upon retiring from boxing, Lewis moved to Miami Beach with his wife, Violet Chang, a former Miss Jamaica runner-up. They have three children.

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.[65]

Professional boxing record Edit

44 fights 41 wins 2 losses
By knockout 32 2
By decision 7 0
By disqualification 2 0
Draws 1
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Age Location Notes
44 Win 41–2–1 Vitali Klitschko TKO 6 (12), 3:00 21 Jun 2003 37 years, 292 days Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, US Retained WBC, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight titles
43 Win 40–2–1 Mike Tyson KO 8 (12), 2:25 8 Jun 2002 36 years, 279 days The Pyramid, Memphis, Tennessee, US Retained WBC, IBF, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight titles
42 Win 39–2–1 Hasim Rahman KO 4 (12), 1:29 17 Nov 2001 36 years, 76 days Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, US Won WBC, IBF, and IBO heavyweight titles
41 Loss 38–2–1 Hasim Rahman KO 5 (12), 2:32 22 Apr 2001 35 years, 232 days Carnival City, Brakpan, South Africa Lost WBC, IBF, and IBO heavyweight titles
40 Win 38–1–1 David Tua UD 12 11 Nov 2000 35 years, 70 days Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, US Retained WBC, IBF, and IBO heavyweight titles
39 Win 37–1–1 Francois Botha TKO 2 (12), 2:39 15 Jul 2000 34 years, 317 days London Arena, London, England Retained WBC, IBF, and IBO heavyweight titles
38 Win 36–1–1 Michael Grant KO 2 (12), 2:53 29 Apr 2000 34 years, 240 days Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, US Retained WBC, IBF, and IBO heavyweight titles
37 Win 35–1–1 Evander Holyfield UD 12 13 Nov 1999 34 years, 72 days Thomas & Mack Center, Paradise, Nevada, US Retained WBC heavyweight title;
Won WBA, IBF, and vacant IBO heavyweight titles
36 Draw 34–1–1 Evander Holyfield SD 12 13 Mar 1999 33 years, 192 days Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, US Retained WBC heavyweight title;
For WBA and IBF heavyweight titles
35 Win 34–1 Željko Mavrović UD 12 26 Sep 1998 33 years, 24 days Mohegan Sun Arena, Montville, Connecticut, US Retained WBC heavyweight title
34 Win 33–1 Shannon Briggs TKO 5 (12), 1:45 28 Mar 1998 32 years, 207 days Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US Retained WBC heavyweight title
33 Win 32–1 Andrew Golota KO 1 (12), 1:35 4 Oct 1997 32 years, 32 days Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US Retained WBC heavyweight title
32 Win 31–1 Henry Akinwande DQ 5 (12), 2:34 12 Jul 1997 31 years, 313 days Caesars Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada, US Retained WBC heavyweight title;
Akinwande disqualified for repeated holding
31 Win 30–1 Oliver McCall TKO 5 (12), 0:55 7 Feb 1997 31 years, 158 days Las Vegas Hilton, Winchester, Nevada, US Won vacant WBC heavyweight title
30 Win 29–1 Ray Mercer MD 10 10 May 1996 30 years, 251 days Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, US
29 Win 28–1 Tommy Morrison TKO 6 (12), 1:22 7 Oct 1995 30 years, 35 days Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US Won IBC heavyweight title
28 Win 27–1 Justin Fortune TKO 4 (10), 1:48 2 Jul 1995 29 years, 303 days Point Theatre, Dublin, Ireland
27 Win 26–1 Lionel Butler TKO 5 (12), 2:55 13 May 1995 29 years, 253 days ARCO Arena, Sacramento, California, US
26 Loss 25–1 Oliver McCall TKO 2 (12), 0:31 24 Sep 1994 29 years, 22 days Wembley Arena, London, England Lost WBC heavyweight title
25 Win 25–0 Phil Jackson TKO 8 (12), 1:35 6 May 1994 28 years, 246 days Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US Retained WBC heavyweight title
24 Win 24–0 Frank Bruno TKO 7 (12), 1:12 1 Oct 1993 28 years, 29 days Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff, Wales Retained WBC heavyweight title
23 Win 23–0 Tony Tucker UD 12 8 May 1993 27 years, 248 days Thomas & Mack Center, Paradise, Nevada, US Retained WBC heavyweight title
22 Win 22–0 Donovan Ruddock TKO 2 (12), 0:46 31 Oct 1992 27 years, 59 days Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London, England Retained Commonwealth heavyweight title
21 Win 21–0 Mike Dixon TKO 4 (10), 1:02 11 Aug 1992 26 years, 344 days Broadway by the Bay Theater, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US
20 Win 20–0 Derek Williams TKO 3 (12), 2:30 30 Apr 1992 26 years, 241 days Royal Albert Hall, London, England Retained British and European heavyweight titles;
Won Commonwealth heavyweight title
19 Win 19–0 Levi Billups UD 10 1 Feb 1992 26 years, 152 days Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, US
18 Win 18–0 Tyrell Biggs TKO 3 (10), 2:47 23 Nov 1991 26 years, 82 days Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia, US
17 Win 17–0 Glenn McCrory KO 2 (12), 1:30 30 Sep 1991 26 years, 28 days Royal Albert Hall, London, England Retained British and European heavyweight titles
16 Win 16–0 Mike Weaver KO 6 (10), 1:05 12 Jul 1991 25 years, 283 days Caesars Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada, US
15 Win 15–0 Gary Mason TKO 7 (12), 0:44 6 Mar 1991 25 years, 185 days Wembley Arena, London, England Retained European heavyweight title;
Won British heavyweight title
14 Win 14–0 Jean-Maurice Chanet TKO 6 (12), 0:16 31 Oct 1990 25 years, 59 days Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, London, England Won European heavyweight title
13 Win 13–0 Mike Acey KO 2 (10), 0:34 11 Jul 1990 24 years, 312 days Superstars Nite Club, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
12 Win 12–0 Ossie Ocasio UD 8 27 Jun 1990 24 years, 298 days Royal Albert Hall, London, England
11 Win 11–0 Dan Murphy TKO 6 (8), 2:11 20 May 1990 24 years, 260 days Town Hall, Sheffield, England
10 Win 10–0 Jorge Dascola KO 1 (8), 2:59 9 May 1990 24 years, 249 days Royal Albert Hall, London, England
9 Win 9–0 Michael Simuwelu TKO 1 (8), 0:58 14 Apr 1990 24 years, 224 days Royal Albert Hall, London, England
8 Win 8–0 Calvin Jones KO 1 (8), 2:34 22 Mar 1990 24 years, 201 days Leisure Centre, Gateshead, England
7 Win 7–0 Noel Quarless TKO 2 (6), 1:25 31 Jan 1990 24 years, 151 days York Hall, London, England
6 Win 6–0 Greg Gorrell TKO 5 (8), 0:51 18 Dec 1989 24 years, 107 days Memorial Auditorium, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
5 Win 5–0 Melvin Epps DQ 2 (6), 0:30 5 Nov 1989 24 years, 64 days Royal Albert Hall, London, England Epps disqualified for rabbit punching
4 Win 4–0 Steve Garber KO 1 (6) 10 Oct 1989 24 years, 38 days City Hall, Hull, England
3 Win 3–0 Andrew Gerrard TKO 4 (6), 0:33 25 Sep 1989 24 years, 23 days Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, London, England
2 Win 2–0 Bruce Johnson TKO 2 (6) 21 Jul 1989 23 years, 322 days Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US
1 Win 1–0 Al Malcolm KO 2 (6), 0:19 27 Jun 1989 23 years, 298 days Royal Albert Hall, London, England

Pay-per-view bouts Edit

United States Edit

Date Fight Billing Buys Revenue
4 October 1997 Lewis vs. Golota Lewis-Golota 300,000[66]
13 March 1999 Holyfield vs. Lewis Undisputed 1,200,000[67] $54,000,000
13 November 1999 Holyfield vs. Lewis II Unfinished Business 850,000[67] $12,800,000
29 April 2000 Lewis vs. Grant Two Big 340,000[67]
11 November 2000 Lewis vs. Tua Royal Rampage 420,000[67]
17 November 2001 Rahman vs. Lewis II Final Judgement 460,000[68] $23,000,000
8 June 2002 Lewis vs. Tyson Lewis-Tyson: Is On 1,970,000[69] $106,900,000
Total 7 pay-per-view fights 5,540,000

United Kingdom Edit

Date Fight Network Buys Source(s)
13 March 1999 Evander Holyfield vs. Lennox Lewis Sky Box Office 400,000 [70]
8 June 2002 Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson Sky Box Office 750,000 [71]
Total UK sales Sky Box Office 1,150,000

Amateur bouts and tournaments Edit

Honours Edit

  • Lennox Lewis, CM (1988–1998)
  • Lennox Lewis, CM, MBE (1998–2002)
  • Lennox Lewis, CBE, CM (2002–present)

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b HBO Sports tale of the tape prior to the Mike Tyson fight.
  2. ^ Mee, Bob (18 April 2001). "Angry Lewis caught in the crossfire". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 9 December 2007. Retrieved 22 March 2007.
  3. ^ "Lennox Lewis: One of the greatest ever". Boxingnews24.com. 3 May 2013. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  4. ^ "Lennox Lewis is, "The best heavyweight of all time"". 15 July 2000. Archived from the original on 27 October 2021. Retrieved 25 February 2016 – via YouTube.
  5. ^ The Lennox Lewis interview Archived 22 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine. Playboy online. April 2002. Accessed 6 October 2006
  6. ^ YouTube: An Audience With Lennox Lewis 1/4
  7. ^ Rivet, Christine (6 February 2004). "The champ hangs 'em up". The Record. Torstar Corporation. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007.
  8. ^ OFSAA Past Champions Boys' Basketball Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine OFSAA. Accessed on 28 December 2015.
  9. ^ Boxer Lennox Lewis to receive honorary doctorate Archived 13 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine Share. Accessed on 28 December 2015.
  10. ^ Amateur Sports, The Gazette (Montreal), 21 February 1983, p. 38.
  11. ^ Nack, William (1 February 1993). "The Great Brit Hope". Sports Illustrated. Time Warner. Retrieved 22 March 2007.
  12. ^ Olympics '84 Saturday, Lethbridge Herald, 4 August 1984, p. 22.
  13. ^ News Analysis by Geoff Fraser, Calgary Herald, 1 August 1986, p. 40.
  14. ^ Brunt, Stephen (11 October 2002). "Good deeds distinguished boxing trainer". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  15. ^ Wendy-Ann Clarke (13 December 2016). "'Always in my corner': Olympians pay tribute to beloved boxing coach". CBC.ca. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  16. ^ a b Lewis dances to win by Randy Jensen, Lethbridge Herald, 31 August 1987, p. 9.
  17. ^ "WorldChamps1986". Amateur-boxing.strefa.pl. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  18. ^ In the Arena: Canada closed off the 10th Pan American Games with a silver medal in the boxing ring, Winnipeg Free Press, 24 August 1987, p. 37.
  19. ^ "1988 Seoul". Canadian Olympic Committee. 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  20. ^ All The Games Are Over, Medicine Hat News, 3 October 1988, p. 1.
  21. ^ Lennox Lewis at the International Boxing Hall of Fame Web-site.
  22. ^ "Lennox Lewis". HBO.com. Home Box Office, Inc. 20 February 2007. Retrieved 5 June 2007.
  23. ^ Valeriy Abadzhyan Partial Record – Amateur Boxing Results
  24. ^ Sports by Martin Clean, The Ottawa Citizen, 25 October 1988, p. 68.
  25. ^ Lewis, Ron (2 April 2008). "Lennox Lewis still fighting his corner as he lays into heavyweight issues". The Times. London. Retrieved 22 March 2010.
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  29. ^ Lankhof, Bill (14 July 2015). "Lennox Lewis wants to make Toronto 'Boxing City'". Toronto: Sun Media. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
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  31. ^ Bruno vs. Lewis: A Personal Battle of Britain. Nytimes.com (10 August 1993). Retrieved on 25 November 2011.
  32. ^ Feour, Royce (8 November 2000). "Heavyweights' lone losses". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Stephens Media, LLC. Retrieved 17 June 2007.
  33. ^ Evans, Gavin (19 September 2005). Mama's Boy: Lennox Lewis and the Heavyweight Crown. Highdown Publishing. ISBN 9781905156092.
  34. ^ "BOXING;Bronchitis Stops Tyson: Seldon Fight Is Off". The New York Times. 4 July 1996. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
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  36. ^ BBC report of the fight. BBC News (14 March 1999). Retrieved on 25 November 2011.
  37. ^ BBC report after the fight. BBC News (14 March 1999). Retrieved on 25 November 2011.
  38. ^ Berkow, Ira (15 March 1999). "A Rematch For Holyfield And Lewis Is Ordered". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 May 2009.
  39. ^ "Sports Personality Roll of Honour". BBC. Retrieve 26 December 2013
  40. ^ Coleman, Joe. "Lewis on Holyfield fights". talksport. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  41. ^ "Lennox Lewis vs. Hasim Rahman". goldengloves.co.za. 15 July 2020. Retrieved 22 July 2021.
  42. ^ Lancaster, Rob. "Thunder in Africa: Recalling Hasim Rahman's Shock Win Over Lennox Lewis". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  43. ^ Rovell, Darren (30 August 2001). "Lewis, Rahman get physical during taping". ESPN. Retrieved 22 March 2007.
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  45. ^ Umstead, R. Thomas (14 May 2007). "HBO Rings in a PPV Knockout". Multichannel News. Variety Group. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
  46. ^ Rafael, Dan (23 June 2003). "Lewis shows his age in struggle to defend title". USA Today. Gannett Co. Inc. Retrieved 16 April 2007.
  47. ^ "UFC's Debut on Fox Draws 5.7 Million Viewers". 29 March 2018.
  48. ^ "BOXING; 60 Stitches for Klitschko", The New York Times, 25 June 2003, retrieved 23 December 2010.
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  50. ^ "Relief for Lewis, stitches for Klitschko", BBC, 22 June 2003 retrieved 23 December 2010.
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External links Edit

Sporting positions
Regional boxing titles
Preceded by
Jean-Maurice Chanet
European heavyweight champion
31 October 1990 – October 1992
Title next held by
Henry Akinwande
Preceded by British heavyweight champion
6 March 1991 – October 1992
Title next held by
Herbie Hide
Preceded by Commonwealth heavyweight champion
30 April 1992 – March 1993
Title next held by
Henry Akinwande
Minor world boxing titles
Preceded by IBC heavyweight champion
7 October 1995 – May 1996
Title next held by
Jerry Ballard
Title last held by
Brian Nielsen
IBO heavyweight champion
13 November 199922 April 2001
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Hasim Rahman
IBO heavyweight champion
17 November 2001 – 6 February 2004
Title next held by
Wladimir Klitschko
Major world boxing titles
Title last held by
Riddick Bowe
WBC heavyweight champion
14 December 1992 – 24 September 1994
Succeeded by
Title last held by
Mike Tyson
WBC heavyweight champion
7 February 1997 – 22 April 2001
Succeeded by
Hasim Rahman
Preceded by WBA heavyweight champion
13 November 1999 – 13 April 2000
Succeeded by
Evander Holyfield
IBF heavyweight champion
13 November 1999 – 22 April 2001
Succeeded by
Hasim Rahman
Title last held by
Riddick Bowe
Undisputed heavyweight champion
13 November 1999 – 13 April 2000
Titles fragmented
Preceded by
Hasim Rahman
WBC heavyweight champion
17 November 2001 – 6 February 2004
Title next held by
Vitali Klitschko
IBF heavyweight champion
17 November 2001 – 5 September 2002
Title next held by
Chris Byrd
Title last held by
Mike Tyson
The Ring heavyweight champion
June 2002 – 6 February 2004
Title next held by
Vitali Klitschko
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The Ring Fighter of the Year
Félix Trinidad
Michael Owen
BBC Sports Personality of the Year
Steve Redgrave
Ben Tackie
KO10 Robert Garcia
The Ring Knockout of the Year
KO5 Hasim Rahman

Rocky Juarez
KO10 Antonio Diaz
The Ring Knockout of the Year
KO8 Mike Tyson