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MacArthur "Mac" Foster (June 27, 1942 – July 19, 2010) was an American heavyweight professional boxer. Foster competed from 1966 to 1976, and won 30 of 36 professional bouts, with all his victories coming by way of knockout. He scored notable stoppages of heavyweight contenders such as Thad Spencer, Cleveland Williams, who he defeated twice and Zora Folley. Foster went the distance against a prime Muhammad Ali in April 1972, losing by fifteen round unanimous decision.

Mac Foster
Real nameMacArthur Foster
Nickname(s)Big Mac 'The Knife' from Fresno
Height6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Born(1942-06-27)June 27, 1942
Alexandria, VA, United States
DiedJuly 19, 2010(2010-07-19) (aged 68)
Fresno, CA, United States
Boxing record
Total fights36
Wins by KO30

He died on July 19, 2010, at the age of sixty-eight years.


Early lifeEdit

The son of Mississippi sharecroppers, Foster was a 6' 2" United States Marine Corps Vietnam War veteran.[1] Born in Alexandria, Virginia[2] he grew up in Fresno, California, the third of eleven children. His father was a nurse. Foster picked grapes and cotton as a youth. Fresno State University offered Foster a track and field scholarship out of Washington High School, Foster declined in order to volunteer for the United States Marines instead. In the service, Foster won fourteen amateur boxing titles. During the Vietnam War he served two tours.[citation needed] After a military discharge, Foster turned pro, becoming the third Fresno boxer of note (Young Corbett III was a world welterweight champion and Wayne Thornton rose through the rankings to become a number one heavyweight contender in 1970). Foster trained with Pat DiFuria at the Merced Street Gym.[dead link][1]

Boxing careerEdit

Known as Big Mac 'The Knife' from Fresno, Foster made his professional debut in 1966, winning his first 24 fights by knockout, and was named Ring Magazine progress of the year for 1969. As Britain's Boxing Illustrated magazine put it 'He could certainly whack!'.[citation needed]

Whilst serving as a sparring partner for Sonny Liston, Foster reportedly knocked out the former world champion.[3]

In 1969 Foster knocked out contender Thad Spencer in the first round and twice knocked out a past his prime Cleveland Williams.

By 1970, Foster was ranked as the world's number one heavyweight contender and seemed set for a title shot, but his 24-0 winning streak came to an end when as favourite he was stopped in six rounds by the more experienced Jerry Quarry in June 1970. After the Quarry fight, Foster knocked out ageing but well rated Zora Folley in one round.

In April 1972 Foster faced Muhammad Ali in Tokyo in a rare 15 round non-title bout. Although he beat Ali's prediction of a fifth round stoppage by lasting the distance, Foster lost a clear decision to the former champion.

Foster followed up his loss to Ali with knockouts of journeymen Sam McGill and Charles Williams. He was then outpointed by Bob Stallings, Joe Bugner and Henry Clark in consecutive bouts.

Foster served as George Foreman's sparring partner for Foreman's world title bout with Ken Norton in 1974. He retired from boxing in 1976 after losing his fourth consecutive decision, this time to prospect Stan Ward. Foster's final record was 30-6, with all 30 of his wins coming by knockout.

After retirementEdit

After retiring, Foster volunteered his time as boxing coach for youth.[1]


Foster died of MRSA on Monday, July 19, 2010. He was 68. Foster was survived by his wife Yolanda and their four children, Gregory, Joshua, Nathaniel and Nicole. He was buried at the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery in Santa Nella, California.[4]

Professional boxing recordEdit

30 Wins (30 knockouts), 6 Losses (1 knockout, 5 decisions) [5]
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Loss 30–6   Stan Ward UD 10 February 26, 1976   San Jose Civic Auditorium, San Jose, California
Loss 30–5   Henry Clark UD 10 May 30, 1974   Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California 1–7, 1–7, 3–7
Loss 30–4   Joe Bugner PTS 10 November 13, 1973   Empire Pool, Wembley, London 96.5–100
Loss 30–3   Bob Stallings SD 10 June 30, 1973   Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, Illinois
Win 30–2   Charles "Hercules" Williams KO 10 May 3, 1973   Chicago, Illinois
Win 29–2   Sam McGill TKO 9 April 11, 1973   Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, Illinois
Loss 28–2   Muhammad Ali UD 15 April 1, 1972   Nihon Budokan, Tokyo 65–73, 67–75, 66–74
Win 28–1   Giuseppe Ros KO 8 December 26, 1971   Hallenstadion, Zurich
Win 27–1   Billy Joiner KO 5 July 29, 1971   Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California
Win 26–1   Mike Boswell TKO 4 March 25, 1971   Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California
Win 25–1   Zora Folley KO 1 September 29, 1970   Selland Arena, Fresno, California Folley knocked out at 3:04 of the first round.
Loss 24–1   Jerry Quarry KO 6 June 17, 1970   Madison Square Garden, New York City Foster knocked out at 2:05 of the sixth round.
Win 24–0   Jack O'Halloran KO 1 April 9, 1970   Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California
Win 23–0   Jimmy Rossette KO 4 March 24, 1970   Selland Arena, Fresno, California
Win 22–0   Bob Felstein KO 2 December 16, 1969   Selland Arena, Fresno, California
Win 21–0   Cleveland Williams KO 3 November 18, 1969   Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas
Win 20–0   Cleveland Williams TKO 5 September 13, 1969   Selland Arena, Fresno, California Referee stopped the bout at 1:35 of the fifth round.
Win 19–0   Roger Russell TKO 3 August 19, 1969   Selland Arena, Fresno, California
Win 18–0   Thad Spencer KO 1 May 20, 1969   Selland Arena, Fresno, California
Win 17–0   Roger Rischer KO 4 January 21, 1969   Selland Arena, Fresno, California
Win 16–0   Joe Hemphill TKO 3 November 27, 1968   Silver Slipper, Las Vegas, Nevada
Win 15–0   Tommy Fields TKO 5 August 16, 1968   Centennial Coliseum, Reno, Nevada
Win 14–0   Tommy Burns KO 1 August 8, 1968   Seattle Center Arena, Seattle, Washington
Win 13–0   Curtis Bruce TKO 3 July 9, 1968   Selland Arena, Fresno, California
Win 12–0   Sonny Moore KO 2 April 2, 1968   Selland Arena, Fresno, California Moore knocked out at 2:50 of the second round.
Win 11–0   Steve Grant TKO 2 February 27, 1968   Selland Arena, Fresno, California
Win 10–0   Hubert Hilton TKO 5 January 23, 1968   Selland Arena, Fresno, California
Win 9–0   Roy Wallace KO 7 November 28, 1967   Selland Arena, Fresno, California
Win 8–0   Ray Junior Ellis KO 2 October 11, 1967   Selland Arena, Fresno, California
Win 7–0   Floyd Joyner TKO 7 August 29, 1967   Selland Arena, Fresno, California Joyner down in the sixth and seventh rounds. Foster caught Joyner in a barrage of punches and the referee stopped the bout at 1:45.
Win 6–0   Lino Armenteros KO 3 June 13, 1967   Selland Arena, Fresno, California Armentiros knocked out at 0:59 of the third round. Armenteros retired after this bout.
Win 5–0   Lou Phillips KO 3 May 9, 1967   Selland Arena, Fresno, California Phillips knocked out at 1:53 of the first round.
Win 4–0   L.J. Wheeler TKO 6 March 14, 1967   Selland Arena, Fresno, California Wheeler down in the third round and three times in the sixth.
Win 3–0   Sam Wyatt KO 1 February 6, 1967   Selland Arena, Fresno, California Wyatt knocked out at 0:13 of the first round. One of the quickest fights in Boxing history.
Win 2–0   Leroy Birmingham KO 1 January 5, 1967   Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California Birmingham knocked out at 2:12 of the first round.
Win 1–0   Jimmy Gilmore KO 3 November 28, 1966   Las Vegas, Nevada


  1. ^ a b c Jeff Davis (July 19, 2010). "Mac Foster, former boxer from Fresno, dies". The Fresno Bee. Archived from the original on July 22, 2010. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  2. ^ "Professional boxing record for Mac Foster". BoxRec. Retrieved April 7, 2008.
  3. ^,2105803&dq
  4. ^ Mac "The Knife" Foster at Find a Grave
  5. ^

External linksEdit